Making Music Together

James Raymond Plays Tunes With His Dad

James Raymond has always been a whiz at the keyboards.

But it wasn't until the age of 31 that he discovered that music was in fact in his blood.

When he went to research his birth records in Los Angeles County, what name did he see?

David Van Cortland Crosby.

"I thought this is probably a different David Crosby. Could be a musician, but he's probably not the guy in - in Crosby, Stills and Nash," James Raymond says.

To be absolutely sure, James Raymond phoned Celia Crawford Ferguson, his birth mother in Australia.

"I wasn't quite sure at that moment, you know, what to say to him, but I said, 'Listen your father is David Crosby,'" she recalls.

Recalls James Raymond: "I said, you know, is this the David Crosby I'm thinking it is? And she said, 'Oh yeah, it is.'"

"And when I told him that David was his father, he sounded pretty amazed," Ferguson says. "He said, 'I can't believe it,'" she recalls. "I can't believe that's really my father."

Offers father David Crosby: "He does look the way I looked when I was younger, a lot."

"But that was back when I had hair, you know," he adds.

James Raymond's adoptive parents, Madeline and John Raymond, had a different reaction: They didn't know who David Crosby was.

"As I told David later, I says, 'David, I'm so sorry but we're Bing Crosby people,'" John Raymond says.

What did they know about Woodstock? "Just a big, muddy field out someplace back East," John Raymond says.

It was at that big muddy field back East that David Crosby became a voice of his generation. His biggest successes came in the years that followed with the group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

What did James Raymond do with this information now that he had it? "Part of me was kind of reluctant to pursue anything with David just because I thought it might be kind of strange for me to just come out of the woodwork," he says.

"I was a musician, trying to make it on my own. I didn't want him to think I was initiating contact to, you know, for selfish reasons," he observes.

It wasn't James Raymond but his adoptive father who made the first contact, and it took an event that made world headlines for him to do so: David Crosby, after years of drug and alcohol abuse - the after effects of his life of rock 'n' roll - was in the hospital gravely ill, in need of a liver transplant.

"So I wrote a letter to David at UCLA Medical Center, where he was," John Raymond says. "I explained in the letter to David that we raised...the little boy that he gave up for adoption."

"I felt obligated as one father to another," he says, crying. "If David didn't survive, how would I then feel, knowing that I'd harbored this from him? I would have to go on the rest of my life knowing that James' biological father died without ever knowing this. I was proud of JamesI was as proud of him as I am now."

Crosby knew he had fathered a son.

And Crosby says he was curious about him: "I have wanted forever to know, you know, who this young man was and how he had turned out and if he was OK. I had always wanted to know."

As soon as David Crosby found a donor liver and recovered from surgery, he picked up the phone and called the son he had never known.

"I said, 'Listen, man, I really want to meet you,'" Crosby recalls.

The day the two men met "was a very emotional deal, 'cause I had great concern," Crosby says. "I was worried, didn't know, you know, what kind of guy he was going to be. And here he walks through the door, and he's this, you know, brilliant young guy, you know, and he's cool."

"He was nice, you know, he said, 'Yeah, Crosby, Stills, Nash, you know, that's good --. I mean it's not as good as Steely Dan but - but it's good," he adds.

And David Crosby thought James Raymond had talent, real talent.

"David was very excited and said, 'You know, we got to go write some more and do a record,'" James Raymond recalls.

Crosby and Raymond teamed up with guitarist Jeff Pevar.

What's the ensemble called? "CPR, Crosby, Pevar and Raymond," James Raymond says. "Appropriate name. I don't think he could resist." CPR is now on tour promoting the recent release of their second studio album, "Just Like Gravity."

The two would describe their relationship now as like brothers.

These days, Crosby has become known as a father; he donated sperm so singer Melissa Etheridge and her lesbian partner could have two kids. He is very different from the man he was when James Raymond was conceived.

Does Crosby ever wonder what James Raymond's life might have been like had he grown up around him? "I think it would have been very bad," Crosby says. "And I hate to say that about myself but at the time I, I couldn't have parented a Kleenex box."

"I feel really blessed and fortunate that things worked out for me the way they did," says James Raymond.

"It's just a beautiful situation," his adoptive father, John Raymond, says. "We've gained a family. We didn't lose a son."

"I'll be on stage and I'll look over and I'll say, 'I'm up here singing with David Crosby, and this is pretty cool,'" says James Raymond.

"He's better than me," boasts Crosby. "I watch his face when he's playing the solo. You've got to see him man to believe it. You have to see him."

"On the keyboards, James Raymond, my son," Crosby declares at one point. "I love him a lot; I'm very proud of him."

Review James Raymond's journey in Father of Note.

Return to the top of 48 Hours: The Legacy.

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