KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

NEIL YOUNG Part 2 – Between The Lines Of Age

Neil Young was only 23 when he released his eponymously titled debut album, Neil Young (1968). Although he had already written Neil Young - Neil Youngand recorded a number of great songs with Buffalo Springfield, he was still finding his voice (lyrically, musically and vocally) on this record. After the lovely instrumental country shuffle of “The Emperor Of Wyoming” opens the album, “The Loner” appears and takes things in another direction. With a heavy organ sound (think Vanilla Fudge or The Band) and a driving beat, it’s one of only two other highlights on an otherwise unremarkable record. The fuzzy guitar sound points to his upcoming work with Crazy Horse, and I love the uplifting chorus: “Know when you see him, nothing can free him. Step aside, open wide…it’s the loner.” I wonder if this is how he saw himself. The other standout track is “The Old Laughing Lady,” which features a sparse arrangement and hushed vocals. This song slowly builds throughout, adding nice jazzy organ, subtle strings and soulful female voices, as well as a funkier groove in the middle section. I’m not sure who this old lady is that he’s singing about, but the theme of aging is something he would return to in the future.

[Neil Young – “The Loner”]

The rest of the album is far from terrible, but like fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell (whose catalog I covered here), Neil’s recording career Neil Young Photo (with guitar, circa 1968)didn’t get off to an auspicious start, although they would both deliver much stronger sophomore records. “If I Could Have Her Tonight” has slightly hypnotic verses and instrumental sections that I really like, but the chorus is a little too wordy even though the “country” feel is a nice change of pace. I like the light jazzy touch of “I’ve Been Waiting For You” beneath the distorted guitars. It’s not super catchy but it includes an excellent wailing guitar solo. “What Did You Do To My Life?” is a mellow post-breakup song (“It isn’t fair that I should wake up at dawn and not find you there”); it’s a relatively minor tune but I enjoy the vibrato effect on his voice during the chorus. “I’ve Loved Her So Long” could’ve been a demo for a late-‘60s pop singer looking for a slightly jazzy song with soulful female vocals. “The Last Trip To Tulsa” clocks in at over 9 minutes and feels even longer. British folk singer Roy Harper often did this kind of rambling song to perfection, but Neil wasn’t in the same league yet. At least it was buried at the end of the album. Most artists have a couple of clunkers in their catalog and Neil’s no exception, but the two key songs mentioned in the first paragraph would stand proudly among his best work.

Neil Young - Everybody Knows This Is NowhereFor his next record, Neil recruited members of the Los Angeles-based band The Rockets (guitarist Danny Whitten, bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina) and re-christened them Crazy Horse. It was a brilliant decision that paid immediate (and long-lasting) dividends. Their first album together, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969), created a template that he would often return to, and it established him as a bonafide rock performer. This album may only include 7 songs, but three of them have stood the test of time as Neil Young classics. “Cinnamon Girl” is a great stomping rocker that features killer musicianship from everyone, and I’m pretty sure it’s an ode to groupies (“The drummer relaxes and waits between shows for his cinnamon girl”). Also, how great is that guitar outro? “Down By The River” is 9 minutes of musical bliss. I love the intro with chugging guitar offset by the subtle lead (not sure who’s playing what), as well as those “ooh la la la la” vocals at “Yeah, she could drag me over the rainbow” in the pre-chorus. It features a hypnotic groove and a simple, stabbing guitar solo. I could listen to the solo section for hours. “Cowgirl In The Sand” is the longest song, at 10:30, but it seems to go by in the blink of an eye. The groove is light & bouncy, with an awesome bass line and exquisite guitar playing. The lyrics are abstract (is it about one woman, or does each verse represent a different woman?), but they’re almost irrelevant once you’re listening to the one-of-a-kind guitar solos after each chorus. These three songs form the cornerstone of the album, but there’s still more to like.

“Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” is an insanely catchy country-ish song with a killer guitar figure & tight-but-loose harmonies, and lyrics that find him longing for the comfort (and Neil Young Photo (circa 1969)quiet) of home. “Round And Round (It Won’t Be Long)” put me in a state of slumber (in a good way) with two acoustic guitars swirling around one another and a nice (uncredited female?) harmony voice. Throughout the nearly 6 minute running time it moves along at a languid pace but is never boring. “The Losing End (When You’re On)” is decent but probably my least favorite song here. It’s a country shuffle that finds him playing the unlucky-in-love sad sack (“It’s so hard to make love pay when you’re on the losing end…and I feel that way again”). “Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)” feels like a British folk/murder ballad, with its slow pace and mournful, high-pitched violin that sounds like a Theremin at times. Even though there are a couple of slightly lesser songs here, the inclusion of 4 stone cold classics makes this the first essential Neil Young album.

He followed up a great record with an album that might be even better: After The Gold Rush (1970), this time featuring members Neil Young - After The Gold Rushof Crazy Horse along with several other musicians, including a young Nils Lofgren on piano. Of the 11 tracks offered here, at least 8 of them are noteworthy, including several of his best-known songs. “Tell Me Why” starts things off; a simple country/folk tune, with great acoustic guitar, that sets a different tone from the previous album. There are great vocal harmonies when they sing the title as well as “Is it hard to make arrangements with yourself?” “After The Gold Rush” is one of those radio standards that most people probably don’t know by name, since the main hook is the repeated “Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s” refrain. It’s a great piano ballad with his now trademark falsetto vocals. What sounds like a French horn solo after the second verse is a nice touch. “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” is a slow waltz shuffle with great harmony vocals in the chorus. I especially love the Todd Rundgren-esque swinging pop feel in the pre-chorus (“I was always thinking of games that I was playing”). He shifts gears for “Southern Man,” one of his most Neil Young Photo (circa 1970)oft-played songs. It’s a scathing attack on Confederate culture and a call for reparations years after slavery ended. This is one of the songs that caused Lynyrd Skynyrd to respond with “Sweet Home Alabama,” although apparently there was mutual respect between them.

“Don’t Let It Bring You Down” is a subtly catchy piano-based tune that immediately grabbed me at “Old man sitting by the side of the road…” I love the way it subtly shifts into the chorus (“Don’t let it bring you down…it’s only castles burning”) while maintaining the same feel throughout. “When You Dance I Can Really Love” is one of those sort-of well known Neil Young songs that should be even more highly regarded. It swings & stomps in equal measure, and is most likely performed by Crazy Horse. My only complaint…and it’s a minor one…is that perhaps it should’ve been shorter.

[Neil Young – “When You Dance I Can Really Love”]

“I Believe In You” is a pretty little song that finds him trying to keep a relationship going (“How can I place you above me? Am I lying to you when I say…that I believe in you?”). In just over a minute & a half, album closer “Cripple Creek Ferry” burrowed its way into my brain. It may be essentially a song fragment, but it’s super catchy and sounds like they had a blast recording it. The other three songs that I didn’t mention are good but don’t add much to my enjoyment of another essential album.

Next came his most popular album, Harvest (1972), which went to number 1 and made him a superstar during the era of sensitive singer-songwriters. Seven of the ten songs were recorded with a new group called The Stray Gators, whose most notable member is steel Neil Young - Harvestguitar player Ben Keith. Although Harvest has a reputation as a mellow country/folk/pop album, it has a few surprises up its sleeve as well as more all-time classics. “Harvest” is great in its simplicity, and I love the slowly descending melody in each line of the verse (i.e. “Did I see you walking with the boys, though it was not hand in hand?”). The song title is deceiving, as the chorus is “Dream up, dream up. Let me fill your cup, with the promise of a man.” “Heart Of Gold” was a massive hit and it’s not hard to imagine why. It’s perfectly recorded, sung & played, with emotive harmonica and simple, sing-along lyrics. That’s James Taylor & Linda Ronstadt on vocals at the end, and they appear again on “Old Man,” one of those ubiquitous Neil Young songs that people probably take for granted now, or consider it “overplayed” (the same assumption applies to “Heart Of Gold”). The way the banjo & steel guitar enter at around the same time makes for a formidable combination.

“There’s A World” has a big orchestral intro by the London Symphony Orchestra. The verses have a peaceful, pastoral vibe, Neil Young Photo (circa 1972)which offsets nicely against the more bombastic sections. I wouldn’t necessarily want to hear a whole album of Neil’s songs with this type of arrangement, but I found myself enjoying it more with each listen. The same orchestra appears on the controversial “A Man Needs A Maid.” Often accused of being sexist because of the title, it’s actually a tender love song (dedicated to actress Carrie Snodgress, with whom he fell in love at the time) that’s undone by the overbearing arrangement. The three songs that end the album form a powerful little cluster. “Alabama,” which features David Crosby & Stephen Stills on vocals, could be a Crazy Horse song with that crunchy, fuzzy guitar and heavy arrangement. This was another song that Lynyrd Skynyrd wasn’t happy about, as it doesn’t paint a positive picture of that state (“Alabama, you got the weight on your shoulders, that’s breaking your back. Your Cadillac has got a wheel in the ditch and a wheel on the track”).  “The Needle And The Damage Done” is a stark solo acoustic performance, recorded live at UCLA, that points a weary yet accusing finger at the drug culture that claimed the life of Crazy Horse member Danny Whitten. I love the way the crowd noise at the end cuts off abruptly as album closer “Words (Between The Lines Of Age)” begins. Over the course of its meandering 6-1/2 minutes they lay down a fantastic midtempo groove and Neil delivers some stinging guitar. The band displays a great sense of dynamics, Stephen Stills & Graham Nash add excellent harmonies, and Neil’s heartfelt, angular guitar solo near the end reminds me of Richard Thompson at his most aggressive. This may not be everyone’s idea of a great Neil Young song, but with each listen it continued to blow me away.

There are a couple of songs I haven’t mentioned, but neither made much of an impression. They’re solid country-rock but there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about them. Harvest is certainly worthy of being considered among his best work; any album with 6-7 classics among its 10 songs needs to be heard.

For the soundtrack album to the film Journey Through The Past (1972), Neil collected rare recordings from Buffalo Springfield and Crosby Stills Nash & Young as well as alternate versions of solo Neil Young - Journey Through The Pastmaterial and other goodies. As far as I know, it’s never been released on CD, so I’m glad I found a copy of the 2-LP set about 10 years ago. Although there’s nothing earth-shattering here, I enjoyed a lot of what he included. It starts off with a couple of Buffalo Springfield tracks: A medley of “For What It’s Worth” and “Mr. Soul” performed on a TV show and “Rock & Roll Woman” recorded on The Ed Sullivan show, all in 1967. The latter was an interesting choice as it was written by Stephen Stills. The medley was lip synched for their performance, but the version of “Mr. Soul” is an alternate recording that includes some cool guitar effects. Next are three CSNY songs from the Fillmore East in 1970: “Find The Cost Of Freedom” (another Stills song, featuring nice acoustic guitar interplay and strong harmonies, especially in the a capella section at the end), “Ohio” (a solid rocking version with searing guitars and typically great harmonies) and “Southern Man” (with Neil really belting out the vocals on this more raw and urgent take on an already killer song).

Neil Young Photo (with Crazy Horse, circa 1970)

Several other tracks are outtakes from the Harvest sessions. “Are You Ready For The Country?” is not a polished recording, reminding me more of a Paul McCartney demo, only with added twang. “Alabama” sounds like a live-in-the-studio take of this excellent song. It’s a bit of a work-in-progress as studio chatter is included, and occasionally the production shifts to sound like it’s recorded in a tunnel. One whole LP side is taken up by the 16-1/2 minute version of “Words (Between The Lines Of Age).” If you don’t like this song you would definitely skip this version, but since it’s one of my new favorites I was thrilled to hear them jamming on this great groove for so long, and Neil’s guitar playing is particularly stunning. Side 4 doesn’t offer much more than movie dialogue, two tracks by an orchestra & chorus and a Beach Boys instrumental, although it’s nice to have the full version of “Soldier” which appeared in edited form on Decade. I wouldn’t consider Journey Through The Past an essential purchase, but considering its relative rarity I’m really glad I found a copy when I did.

Not a bad way to start off an artist’s catalog, with 3 out of 5 albums being instant classics. It’s great to see that he was already offering up a diverse array of styles in such a short period of time. I already knew a number of songs from this batch of releases, and there were plenty of newly discovered gems as well. I’m looking forward to revisiting the next phase of his career, which includes some critically acclaimed albums that I’ll start listening to tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you come back soon.

36 comments on “NEIL YOUNG Part 2 – Between The Lines Of Age

  1. mikeladano
    January 24, 2013

    Alright! I was waiting for this.

    I love Neil’s album covers too. Especially that first album. It looks great and way ahead of its time. Now this Journey Through The Past album…I had never even heard of it let alone seen it. If it’s not on CD, that partially makes sense, since I only carried CD at my store. But still, I’m Canadian, and I feel like I’ve let my nation down.

    So, thanks Rich for schooling LeBrain once again!

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    • What a surprise that I stumped LeBrain. That certainly wasn’t my intention. Had I not found a used copy of that 2-LP set, I probably still would’ve been unaware of it. Great point about his album covers. Each one evokes a particular mood, and it allows us to visualize certain songs based on the artwork. Out of this batch of albums, I think After The Gold Rush is my favorite.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m glad I can get a Canadian’s opinion on Neil’s music.

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      • mikeladano
        January 25, 2013

        Well he is certainly considered a national treasure here, even if he doesn’t live here anymore, I will tell you that. When I was a kid I was really only aware of a handful of Canadian rock musicians — Neil Young, Geddy Lee, Burton Cummings!

        I always found the Harvest album cover lost something on CD. On CD it’s just a piece of paper. On vinyl it was more artful.

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      • Mike, I agree about the “Harvest” album cover. I remember seeing the LP when I was younger, especially when I worked in record stores in the ’80s, and there was a warmth to the artwork which is lost on the paper reproduction of the CD. Of course, that applies to so many albums, but some made a smoother transition to the smaller format than others.

        Not sure if you’ve ever watched the TV show How I Met Your Mother, but one of the characters, Robin, is Canadian, as is the actress who portrays her. In a particularly memorable sequence, Barney (played by Neil Patrick Harris) is making fun of Neil Young. When Robin tells him, “Neil Young is a Canadian treasure. DO NOT make fun of Neil Young,” Barney replies with, “Robin, I would never make fun of a defenseless old lady with vocal cord paralysis.” Funny stuff.

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      • mikeladano
        January 25, 2013

        Oh that is funny Rich. I have never seen that episode, BUT Geddy Lee is slated to make an appearance on HIMYM in 2013!

        I thought I would also share this funny SCTV skit related to Neil Young:

        They did another Neil Young sketch, “Singers with High Voices”.

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      • That’s pretty funny, Mike. Was that Joe Flaherty as Bing Crosby?

        On a related humorous note, when CSNY reunited in the late-80s, the New York Daily News printed a photo of them with the caption: Crosby, Stills, Nash and (No Longer) Young. Amazingly, they’re all still going strong almost 25 years later, so who had the last laugh?

        Oh, and thanks for letting me know about Geddy appearing on How I Met Your Mother this year. I will definitely look forward to that.

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      • mikeladano
        January 25, 2013

        That certainly was Joe Flaherty!

        They definitely have had the last laugh. I’m sure a few f them never even expected to reach this age.

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      • David Crosby was so close to death in the ’80s that it’s almost a miracle he’s still alive. And what’s more amazing is that he’s made some of his best music since then (I’m a big fan of his albums with CPR, which remind me of a cross between Steely Dan and CSN) and his voice is still strong. Neil seems like he’ll keep going until he’s 100 or more.

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      • mikeladano
        January 26, 2013

        I think you’re right. These guys plus Keith Richards lend credence to the theory that if you pickle yourself with enough drugs you’ll live longer!

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      • Great point. There was probably a point where they should have died, but once they got past that they essentially became immortal. Crosby & Keith might outlive us all.

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      • mikeladano
        January 26, 2013

        As long as they keep making great music, may they live 1000 years!

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      • Amen to that, LeBrain.

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      • Phillip Helbig
        January 29, 2013

        “David Crosby was so close to death in the ’80s that it’s almost a miracle he’s still alive. And what’s more amazing is that he’s made some of his best music since then”

        Don’t forget that Crosby was sperm donor for Melissa Etheridge.

        Also, Crosby (sort of like Joni Mitchell) met up with a long-lost son. They might even have recorded together.

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      • Phillip Helbig
        January 29, 2013

        James Raymond is the son.

        Not Melissa Etheridge, but her then girlfriend. Life is complicated! 🙂

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      • Phillip, I never made that Crosby-Joni connection (regarding meeting up with a long-lost child). Great point. CPR, the band that Crosby formed with James Raymond (and Jeff Pevar), was excellent. I have both of their studio albums and one live album, and they’re a cross between CSN (obviously) and Steely Dan. Raymond has continued playing with Crosby in Crosby-Nash and CSN, so father & son obviously have a strong bond (and not just their tight harmonies). It’s a nice story, considering how low Crosby’s life had sunk in the ’80s.

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  2. Lewis Johnston
    January 25, 2013

    This is a very good start on what is going to be a long journey through the past, bad pun I know but I could not resist. Certainly on his debut album he was finding his feet as a solo artist. However even then he was being quite out there. To start off with an instrumental and finish off with a long rambling acoustic track is nothing short of daring. While the debut is not amongst his best work, there are some great songs on there as you pointed out. I read that when the album came out he was not happy with how it sounded on LP. Young wanted Reprise to reissue it with a different mix and offer purchasers the chance to swap it for the new version. Needless to say this was declined by the record company. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere with Crazy Horse is the sound of an artist getting into their stride. The approach both musically and in the production is completely different from the eponymous debut. A tendency that has continued throughout Young’s career. A great album nonetheless and I often listen to it. I think his reputation was cemented with Goldrush though. This record perfectly shows off the duality that has been very characteristic of his career, the mix of acoustic folk type music and the rockers illustrate this well. An enduring classic and deservedly so. This of course led to his first career peak of Harvest, the hits “Heart Of Gold” and “Old Man” are of course great but there is a lot more to Harvest than meets the eye, another pun I know.

    Which then takes us to Journey Through The Past, it is an album worth having if you are more than a passing fan, lots of interesting tracks there. It has to be said the movie is something of a confused mess as was Human Highway which Young made much later. Of course after the peak of Harvest, Young was to go down a much darker road with the infamous “Ditch Trilogy”. As he said in the Decade liner notes “ Better travelling in the ditch than the middle of the road, you meet some interesting people there”. I have enjoyed this summary of his early career very much and I am looking forward to the next part of this journey very much.

    Thanks Again.

    Lewis.

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    • Thanks, Lewis. You summed up this portion of his catalog in a much more concise manner than I could. Well done. And I’m glad we seem to be on the same page as far as our favorites. I’ve already started listening to his next four albums, but I’ve avoided reading anything about them so I can absorb the music without any preconceived expectations. After listening to them a couple of times I’ll do a little reading on that era and then give them each another listen or two before sharing my thoughts.

      It’s really great to chat with someone who’s obviously such a big fan…and has been for a long time. No matter how many critical reviews I read, nothing beats a conversation with a fan who’s lived with the music most of their lives.

      Best…
      Rich

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  3. Brian
    January 29, 2013

    Neil is certainly one of the all-time greats. But with such an immense discography, he is spotty at times. “After the Goldrush” is my favorite album by him but he has so many great ones- and from several different eras. Two great off-beat covers of his songs are “Winterlong” by The Pixies and “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by Saint Etienne. Would be interested to find out what you think of them Rich. Are you a Pixies fan Rich? If not I predict you will be and you will hold them in the same esteem as you now hold PJ.

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    • Brian, I’m usually pretty picky when it comes to cover versions, since there are so many of them and most don’t add much to the original. They’re usually pleasant diversions, but not much more than that. Usually it needs to be an artist I love covering a song I enjoy (like Del Amitri doing a wonderful version of Neil’s “Don’t Cry No Tears,” a song I’ll discuss in my next post). The only Pixies I own is a CD compilation with about 20 songs that a friend made for me about 10 years ago. It’s very good and I’ve thought about checking out more of their music, but there are too many other artists and albums higher on my list of priorities. I have no doubt that I will like them a lot once I get to them, but having missed them during their heyday I doubt I’ll have the same kind of reaction as people who heard them during their formative music years.

      You’re obviously a Neil fan, and After The Gold Rush is an excellent choice for favorite album (be on the lookout for my thoughts on that album in a few days), but I’m curious if you’ve heard everything he’s done or if you’ve only heard the classics and skimmed through the rest of his catalog. If it’s the latter, hopefully this series will help you uncover some songs &/or albums you may have overlooked in the past. Looking forward to discussing more of his music soon. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts here.

      Rich

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      • Glenn S,
        January 31, 2013

        Regarding Saint Etienne’s cover of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” I’ve always been a bit lukewarm on it, despite being a huge Etienne fan. For starters it was recorded before Sarah Cracknell joined the group, but beyond that I’m just not crazy about what they did to the song melodically, which I think makes it a bit tedious. When I do play this track I usually go for the extended version, which emphasizes the bass line and reggae touches.

        Like

      • When I have a little free time I’ll check out some covers of Neil’s songs including St. Etienne, just to hear a different perspective. I recently listened to a Mojo Magazine compilation of various artists covering the “Harvest” album. I liked it but it was before I revisited the original, so I’ll have to give it another listen now that I’m much more familiar with the songs.

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  4. Every Record Tells A Story
    January 31, 2013

    I have Harvest and Gold Rush on vinyl – and they’re both great records. I need to boost my NY collection. Looking forward to your reviews of the classic ’70s albums. Have you picked up a copy of legendary “lost” album Chrome Dreams? (See Wikipedia article – the album can be found online and is perhaps my favourite).

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    • My Neil collection consists of nearly all of his officially-released albums…about 45 in total. After I’m done revisiting all of them in a couple of months, I might look into some of his unreleased and rare stuff, although I’ll probably be a little burned out on Neil at that time and will probably need some time away from his music. I’ve heard great things about the original “Chrome Dreams” so I look forward to eventually checking it out. Thanks for reminding me about it.

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  5. Heavy Metal Overload
    February 2, 2013

    Hi, I really can’t add anything to your excellent post other than letting you know I read and listened! It’s interesting to hear the deep album tracks so thanks for selecting those rather than the “hits” that I probably know already. Personally, he’s an artist I just can’t get into but it’s great to find out about his career and hear more of his stuff. I do like a lot of the scuzzy guitar playing.

    Like

    • Thanks, HMO. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. I tend to prefer featuring some lesser-played songs here, since I assume anyone who would visit my blog would at least already know the hits. I agree with you about the scuzzy guitar (great description, by the way), but one of the things that makes his music so listenable from album to album is how he can move from quiet acoustic to loud electric and still retain the same power. Not everyone can pull that off. I appreciate you stopping by.

      Best…
      Rich

      Like

  6. Brian
    March 15, 2013

    Rich- swamped at work so answering your question waaaayyyyy late- sorry. Yeah I’m a big Neil fan. I don’t have everything by him but I have the majority of his stuff. His two 60’s albums. All of his 70’s stuff minus live albums and rarities. For the 80’s I only have “Hawks & Doves”, “This Note’s For You” & “Freedom”. I think I have all but one or two of his releases post-80’s thanks to the WEA catalog. Unsurprisingly his earlier stuff- “Everyone Knows” thru “Rust Never Sleeps” is my favorite but there are some gems scattered throughout the rest of his catalog. I particularly like “Freedom”, “Ragged Glory” & “Harvest Moon” from his later years. Nothing to me has come close to those in quality since but there is definitely some worthwhile songs throughout his post ’92 stuff too.

    Like

    • Good to know, Brian. I had a feeling you would have the majority of his golden-era albums. Being a near-completist I’ve definitely delved further in, but you get a pretty complete picture of his music just from the albums you own. I’m at the point in his catalog now where there are very few surprises, so it comes down to whether the songs or individual performances stand out. There hasn’t been a “defining” album since Harvest Moon, as far as I’m concerned, but there are numerous songs that are as good as anything he’s ever done.

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  8. Ovidiu Boar
    December 24, 2013

    Great writing. I’m new to Neil Young and I recently just got into Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Goldrush and Harvest, which are the only albums of his I own. I like all 3, but Nowhere is my favourite, by far. I think that’s an amazing record, a perfect combination of hard and soft, where both sides could’ve failed had they been pushed harder. Running Dry has managed to get to me emotionally plenty of times, and the guitar “dialogue” ‘Cowgirl In The Sand’ right after the “it’s the woman in you that makes you wanna play these games” part is my favourite moment on the album.

    Both ‘After The Goldrush’ and ‘Harvest’ have their moments, but they came as dissapointments to me. Sometimes they’re just tedious and not interesting. Old Man and Don’t Let It Bring You Down, both highlights to my ears, have always worked better when played live.

    Anyway, I look forward to both exploring the rest of his discography and reading your essays along with it.

    Like

    • Thanks for the feedback. At least the three Neil Young albums you have are all classics. I agree with your assessment of “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” and you make some amazing points about the hard & soft elements as well as the guitar dialogue. I’m surprised you don’t feel as strongly about the other two albums, as they’re at least as strong as “Everybody Knows…” in my opinion. Neil has a lot of spotty albums in his vast discography, but many of them are still brilliant even with the filler material. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on some of his other releases whenever you get to them. Happy listening.

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      • Ovidiu Boar
        December 25, 2013

        Nice post and thanks. I know everybody loves ‘After The Goldrush’ and ‘Harvest’ to death and that’s what made it even more disappointing. But who knows, maybe they’ll eventually grow on me.

        On the other hand, I had one of the most incredible listening experiences with ‘After The Goldrush’ (the song) in a cold, almost-dawn, empty streets, going-home-after-a-night-of partying type of scenario. I tell you, the time just stopped when that track came on.

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      • I love that anecdote. You perfectly captured that feeling you got from your recent listening experience of “After The Gold Rush.” It’s one of those songs that can just hit you when you’re not expecting it. As for the other albums we’ve discussed, who knows if you’ll ever fall in love with them. Perhaps there are other elements of his music that speak to you more deeply. There are certain albums/songs that many fans consider essential that don’t really do it for me. That’s one of the things I love about discussing music with other passionate fans. You can love the same artist for completely different reasons, but always agree on his/her/their greatness.

        Like

  9. DanicaPiche
    July 15, 2015

    Rich,
    I’m really enjoying this Neil Young series! I’m listening to “The Loner” and didn’t realize he’d used this sound so early in his career. For some reason, I thought that the organ sound was a feature of his later work.
    Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is still a favorite. Crazy Horse! Fantastic stuff. Okay, I’ll be here a while…. 🙂

    Like

    • Glad you’re enjoying this early Neil Young material, Danica. I agree that Everybody Knows… is a highlight in his catalog & holds up extremely well all these years later. If you’re checking out his music chronologically via this series you’ll likely be amazed at the songwriting consistency in his first decade as a solo artist. Nearly everything is essential.

      Liked by 1 person

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