Is This David Crosby’s Earliest Solo Recording?

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David Crosby in the early '60s

David Crosby in the early ’60s

A live recording of David Crosby solo, titled “It’s Been Raining,” surfaced in 2016 and was posted to YouTube. The song, recorded live at a long-gone venue called The Attic, in Boulder, Colorado, dates from circa 1961-62, making it the earliest known recording by the singer-songwriter. (Scroll down to the bottom of the page to hear it.)

“It’s Been Raining,” according to a Crosby expert consulted by Best Classic Bands, was written by the budding singer-songwriter in the early ’60s and the rare recording, discovered in recent years, remained unreleased for decades. It was slated to be included on Voyage, a 2006 Crosby boxed set, but Crosby decided not to include it. It is unknown how it leaked out and found its way to the video site, where as of this date barely more than 1,000 have listened to it.

The Crosby expert noted, “What’s significant about the song is the fact that Crosby wrote it himself. At that point in the folk revival, very few artists were writing their own material.”

A listen to “It’s Been Raining” reveals how fully developed Crosby was as a composer and singer even at this early stage of his career. His vocal style and guitar chording bear all of the hallmarks that would surface later in his career with the Byrds, CSN and on his solo releases.

“It’s Been Raining,” which predates Crosby’s involvement in the Byrds starting in 1964, is only one of what may be a trove of early recordings of the soon-to-be-legend dating from before he was widely known. Text accompanying the video says, “Tape found by Judy Roderick’s sister Emily Roderick Oprea.” Roderick was a folk singer who also played at the Boulder club (she died in 1992).

A still color photo of Crosby, reportedly taken at the Attic around the time the live recording was made, and credited to Joe Loop, is used to illustrate the audio as it plays. There is no known live video of Crosby from his pre-Byrds years.

On a Facebook post, Crosby confirmed that the photo is him: “That’s me …and I was looking at that girl [referring to a girl in the audience seen in the photo]…and the Attic was in the basement in that triangular block across from the campus in Boulder.”

Crosby, who would have been about 20 years old at the time the recording was made, was born in Los Angeles on August 14, 1941, and spent his childhood and adolescence in and out of different schools. His father, Floyd Crosby, was an Academy Award-winning cinematographer. The young Crosby took part in high school musicals and briefly studied drama at Santa Barbara City College before leaving academia behind to perform his music.

On Croz’s 80th birthday in 2021, Stephen Stills posted a brief clip of him at a very young age in the 1948 film Going to Blazes.

It is unknown why Crosby was in Colorado at the time the Attic recording was made. Like many struggling musicians trying to make a buck, he was traveling around the country, playing folk clubs for whatever little money he could scrounge. At some point around this time, he landed, like so many other folkies, in Greenwich Village, where he joined a folk group called Les Baxter’s Balladeers. He recorded his first solo tracks in 1963, produced by Jim Dickson, most notably the producer of the bluegrass group the Dillards. Dickson also recorded the Hillmen, a bluegrass group including guitarist/singer Chris Hillman.

The following year Crosby returned to L.A., where he met a fellow guitarist/singer, then named Jim (later Roger) McGuinn. It was Dickson who managed and later convinced the Byrds—the group formed by McGuinn, Crosby and Hillman, with Gene Clark and Michael Clarke—to record “Mr. Tambourine Man” with electric instruments, virtually creating the folk-rock genre.

David Crosby died on Jan. 18, 2023.

Listen to “It’s Been Raining” by David Crosby

Related: Crosby’s great album at age 80

Best Classic Bands Staff

6 Comments so far

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  1. tupa©knows
    #1 tupa©knows 23 February, 2017, 10:02

    sounds like this evolved into “everybody’s been burned” released by the Byrds in 1967

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  2. Chuck
    #2 Chuck 23 January, 2019, 09:23

    The song, “It’s been raining”, has the tone and feeling of his first solo album, If I could only remember my name. I heard shades of his classic, “Guinevere”.

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  3. dred
    #3 dred 23 January, 2019, 15:43

    A few hints of Triad in there.

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  4. Quicksand Kid
    #4 Quicksand Kid 29 January, 2019, 00:47

    Same beautiful Crosby voice….

    Reply this comment
  5. Cisley
    #5 Cisley 15 August, 2021, 11:29

    That is just lovely. Happy Birthday David.

    Reply this comment

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