I hear it's clear sailin' up ahead..

Chris Hillman - Clear Sailin'
(Asylum, 1977)

After I read Barney Hoskyns fantastic book Hotel California: Singer/songwriters and Cocaine Cowboys in the L.A. Canyons a couple of years ago I've been buying almost all albums I find that were released by David Geffen's label Asylum in the seventies. Artists like Eagles, Jackson Browne, John David Souther and Joni Mitchell filled up the roster. The mellow-mafia of the west-coast were born. So that is one reason for me buying this album, the other is of course that it's Chris Hillman.

Not exactly a unknown. Clear Sailin' is Hillman's second soloalbum. Fresh out of collaborations with John David Souther and Richie Furay in the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Hillman never was one of the most prolific songwriters out there and his solo records are inhibited because of this. In all his years in bands like The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Stephen Stills' Manassas his recorded output as a songwriter comes to about one album.

That said, his first solo record Slippin' Away was great and this one also has it's moments. Songs like "Fallen Favourites", "Hot Dusty Roads" and the title track "Clear Sailin'" are all great songs in the southern-California-mellow-life in the sun on the beach are great-slick-kind of way. Great harmonies and good melodies.

If you like bands like Firefall and the first albums by Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers you should check out this album.