KamerTunesBlog

Revisiting my extensive music collection, one artist at a time

NEIL YOUNG Part 5 – Weight Of The World / The Geffen Years

After more than a dozen years with Reprise Records, Neil Young signed with Geffen Records and released five albums between 1982 and 1987. He covered a lot of musical ground during his short time at Geffen, but unfortunately his fans and critics seemed to agree that it wasn’t what they wanted to hear from him. In fact, Geffen sued him for making uncommercial music, but eventually they dropped the suit and allowed him to follow his muse. This era of his career may not have a great reputation, but after spending more than a week playing each of these albums multiple times, I discovered a lot of Neil Young - Transexcellent music that often hid beneath the unfortunate production trends of the time.

His first Geffen release, Trans (1982), is also my favorite of this batch of albums. A lot of fans were (and still are) turned off by the abundant use of synthesizers and the processed vocoder vocals on a number of these songs, yet for me they add to the singular charms this record has to offer. The only song I was familiar with in ‘82 was a re-recording of his ‘60s Buffalo Springfield song, “Mr. Soul,” where the robotic take on the guitar riff ties it to the original version while clearly being a product of its time. The guitar solo, which is the only organic sounding portion of the song, really cuts through, and his original youthful lyrics sound less “clever” in this setting. “Little Thing Called Love” is a great little catchy pop song with some bluesy guitar work (not far from Eric Clapton’s early-‘80s sound). I love the bridge (“Only love puts a tear in your eye…”) and the Latin percussion is a nice touch. “Computer Age” features a pre-programmed drum track and new wave synth sounds (showing the influence of artists like Gary Numan and The Cars). The vocoder removes all emotion from his vocals, creating an interesting effect at lines like, “I stand by you or else we just don’t see the other.” It was revealed years later that this vocal approach was Neil’s way of attempting to communicate with his disabled son, adding a poignancy to certain lyrics that otherwise might have come across as simplistic. “We R In Control” is a driving, pulsating rocker with digitized voices and a dystopian sci-fi vibe to the lyrics (references to C.C.T.B., or Chemical Computer Thinking Battery, bring to mind the concept of machines taking over in The Terminator movies).

[Neil Young – “Transformer Man”]

Neil Young Photo (circa 1982)“Transformer Man” somehow gives the robotic vocals & music a melancholy feel. It’s actually a tender love song set to futuristic music (“Every morning when I look in your eyes I feel electrified by you”; “Your eyes are shining on a beam through the galaxy of love”). You can hear real drums & guitars under the synthetic sheen of “Computer Cowboy,” which features a super cool, heavy guitar riff. This would probably sound amazing in concert with the band playing at full volume. “Sample And Hold” is a cool electronic song about a customer trying to purchase a robot (or sex doll?) over the phone. I still own Trans on vinyl, and that format features the shorter version of this song which I prefer since it’s much more concise than the expanded version. “Like An Inca” became an immediate highlight (whether it’s the 8-minute LP version of the nearly 10-minute expanded version). Featuring an infectious driving groove and a smooth guitar sound, it actually borders on soft rock as he relates tales of the ancient Inca culture from Peru. I traveled to that country a few years ago & spent time at places like Machu Picchu, and I believe his often mysterious lyrics capture the essence of that mystical place and the ancient Inca people who called it home.

The only song I haven’t already mentioned is “Hold On To Your Love,” a steady midtempo tune that’s pleasant & enjoyable, but not nearly as noteworthy as the rest of the album. Trans is certainly not for everyone, especially if you’re not a fan of synth-laden recordings of the early-‘80s, but now that we know his reason for choosing those sonic textures, I think it makes the music that much more enjoyable. If you’ve previously dismissed this album, I highly recommend giving it another shot. It’s as consistent as any of his best records.

Neil Young - Everybody's Rockin'He completely shifted gears for his next record, Everybody’s Rockin’ (1983), which found him paying homage to early rock ‘n roll, rockabilly and some jumpin’ blues/R&B with a group christened “Neil And The Shocking Pinks.” It’s an enjoyable listen but turns out to be the most minor entry in his catalog so far. Clocking in at under 25 minutes and including 4 covers among its 10 tracks, it’s hard to see this as anything other than a lighthearted excursion that he couldn’t have taken very seriously. The covers are all excellent choices. “Betty Lou’s Got A New Pair Of Shoes” is a Bobby Freeman song from 1958, and this straightforward version captures the essence of the original without adding anything to it. “Rainin’ In My Heart” was a Top 40 hit for Slim Harpo in 1961. I haven’t heard the original, but I would describe Neil’s take as a Fats Domino-style song with its New Orleans piano sound. “Bright Lights, Big City” is a Jimmy Reed classic from the early-‘60s that’s been covered by a number of artists. Neil gives it a midtempo funky & bluesy feel that makes it a highlight of the album. It’s hard to imagine a bad version of “Mystery Train,” a Sun Records song made popular by Elvis Presley, and Neil performs a reverent version of this classic.

[Neil Young – “Payola Blues”]

The only song from this album that got any significant radio play is “Payola Blues,” which I loved the first time I heard it in ’83. It’s a swinging original that pays homage to early rock Neil Young Photo (circa 1984)‘n’ roll DJ Alan Freed, who was undone by the record industry payola scandal but is still regarded as a legendary figure in rock history. The subject matter, where he complains that “I never hear my record on the radio,” is ironic since Neil never seems to care about having hit records. I love the “cash-oo-wadda-wadda”  backing vocals.” Of the remaining tracks, only “Wonderin’” made much of an impression on me. There’s a nice walking bass line and subtle driving beat, and it captures the essence of those ‘50s Ricky Nelson records. Chris Isaak would find a lot of success with this sound a decade later. There’s not much else to say about this album. If you’re new to Neil’s catalog, I would recommend listening to everything else he’s done (at least up to this point) before spending your money & time on this. Without a doubt it’s a fun album, but also inconsequential, which is probably just as he intended.

Once again confounding fans & critics, Old Ways (1985) is a collection of traditional-sounding country songs (all but one of them a Neil original) that features contributions Neil Young - Old Waysfrom Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. You really need to have an affinity for country music to appreciate this album, and fortunately I grew up listening to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash so this was a breath of fresh air for me. “The Wayward Wind” is the only cover song (it was a hit for several artists in the late-‘50s). It’s about a man with a traveling spirit, and the orchestral sweep makes it sound like the overture to a cowboy film’s soundtrack. It features nice Dolly Parton-esque vocals by Denise Draper. “Get Back To The Country” is hoedown country dance music with the “boingy” sound of the Jew’s harp. Featuring harmonies by Waylon and excellent fiddle work by Rufus Thibodeaux, it seems to be about returning to a simple life as well as Neil’s renewed love for country music. Willie adds his inimitable vocals to “Are There Any More Real Cowboys?,” a slow-paced, folk-based tune. He’s singing about the plight of “real” cowboys, “not the one that’s snortin’ cocaine…not the diamond sequins shining on TV.” My favorite song here is “Once An Angel,” a slow mournful shuffle with a tasteful arrangement that could’ve been a huge hit for country legend George Jones. It’s a gorgeous love song from a man who acknowledges his faults and truly appreciates his wife’s love.

“Old Ways” features nice guitar interplay between Neil (acoustic), Waylon (electric) and Ralph Mooney (steel). It’s a fun little song about trying to break bad habits, but “old ways got their way again.” “My Boy” is a lovely midtempo ballad with fantastic fiddle & banjo, Neil Young Photo (Live Aid - 1985)and a weeping steel guitar. Here he’s addressing the feelings that parents have watching their child grow up so quickly. “Bound For Glory” has a walking groove and reminds me of Waylon songs like “Good-Hearted Woman.” I love the piano work, and Neil & Waylon blend their voices together simply & effectively. Waylon once again guests on “Where Is The Highway Tonight?” I really enjoy the vocal melody and excellent piano accompaniment above the slow shuffle & killer steel guitar. The other two songs not mentioned here are easy to listen to and fit in nicely, but they’re the only ones that didn’t jump out at me. Any album where 8 of its 10 songs are noteworthy has got to be a winner, so I highly recommend it unless you dislike this style of music.

Landing On Water (1986) is a strange addition to his catalog. The only musicians are Neil (guitar & synth), Danny Kortchmar (also guitar & synth, as well as co-producer) and Neil Young - Landing On WaterSteve Jordan (drums & synth), as well as the San Francisco Boys Chorus on two songs. A Neil Young album with three synth players is not going to appeal to many listeners, and other than a couple of standout tracks, it didn’t do much for me either. “Weight Of The World” is a slightly offbeat synth-pop song that wouldn’t have been out of place on the radio back then. It features an engaging melody and, although the music is completely synthetic, it’s actually a very nice love song (“When I met you girl, I dropped the weight of the world”; “I was alone for all my life until you came my way”). “Hippie Dream” is the pinnacle of this album for me. It has a great repetitive synth-bass figure, big splashy percussion & stinging lead guitar, and surprisingly he seems to be dismissing his hippie past with Crosby Stills Nash & Young (“But the wooden ships were just a hippie dream”).

[Neil Young – “Hippie Dream”]

“I Got A Problem” has a less synthetic sound with a big 4-note riff and a heavy tom-tom groove. I really like the guitar sound and he shreds during his solo. “Pressure” features a Neil Young Photo (from Landing On Water CD)claustrophobic, paranoid feel to the stabbing rhythm & vocal melody. The chorus is the catchiest part, alternating between the high-pitched “Don’t feel, don’t feel” and the lower group vocals of “Feel pressure from me/No pressure from me.” “The Violent Side” reminded me of something Mike & The Mechanics might have recorded, with its overproduced percussive arrangement. The best hook occurs at “Control…the violent side,” where the S.F. Boys Chorus really shines. The other songs have moments or sections that are decent, but mostly they come across as half-baked ideas or generic filler. I would probably include a couple of the songs I mentioned on a career-spanning anthology of Neil’s work, but the rest is mostly forgettable. I’m curious if there’s anyone out there who loves Landing On Water, or maybe even considers it his/her favorite Neil album. After all, one man’s “mediocre” is another man’s treasure.

Although Neil worked with the members of Crazy Horse, along with other musicians, on Trans, Life (1987) was the first album credited to Neil Young & Crazy Horse since 1981’s Neil Young - LifeRe-ac-tor. Done in slightly by the continued production techniques of that era, there are a handful of very good songs as well as some that are less memorable. The piano & harmonica intro in “Long Walk Home” sounds like classic Neil, but then synths & programmed drums enter before the lovely piano-and-harmony chorus (“It’s such a long walk home”). This song sets a political tone that occurs throughout the album, questioning the state of America near the end of the Reagan administration (“America, America, where have we gone?”). “Inca Queen” is a stirring epic that got better with each subsequent listen. At just under 8 minutes it’s the longest song on the album, and during that time it takes the listener on a journey, both musically and lyrically (it covers similar ground to the earlier “Like An Inca” but has a much more spiritual feel). The excellent guitar sounds (12-string and nylon string, I believe) give the song an earthiness that’s in no way undone by the echo-y ‘80s drums. The lovely vocal melody and slow, somber tempo create a dreamlike atmosphere, and I even love the spoken word section (“Inca Queen has, Inca Queen has, Inca Queen has come”).

“When Your Lonely Heart Breaks” might succumb slightly to the booming drums & thin-sounding guitar, but this slow ballad with synth strings won me over anyway and I’d love to hear an acoustic version with real instruments. “We Never Danced” has a haunting Neil Young Photo (circa 1987)piano melody with synth vocals, and Neil adds some nice falsetto. Heartfelt lyrics like “Hope it’s not too late, we were more than friends. I can hardly wait ‘til we meet again” would probably benefit from a more sympathetic production, but the message certainly gets through. I also really like the line, “If you don’t really know where you want to go, it makes no difference which road you take.” Of the remaining songs, only a few bear mentioning. Album opener “Mideast Vacation” is apparently sung from the perspective of a soldier at war, or possibly a spy looking for an enemy to fight. Sadly, what sounds like a big statement is lost in the over-production. “Too Lonely” is a fun pounding rocker with hints of The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction,” and includes a catchy hook at “She’s too lonely, she’s too lonely, she’s too lonely to fall in love.” “Prisoners Of Rock ‘N’ Roll” is a dumb but fun radio-friendly hard rock song with a wild, raw guitar solo and a decent hook at “That’s why we don’t wanna be goooood.” I wouldn’t recommend this album to anyone other than hardcore Neil Young fans, and even though I really enjoyed a few songs, only “Inca Queen” has continued playing in my head. The rest is occasionally very good but far from essential. It wasn’t the most auspicious way to bid adieu to Geffen Records; the company couldn’t have been too pleased when he returned to his old label and scored some of the biggest hits of his career over the next couple of years (and beyond).

I will revisit the first few albums he recorded during his second stint at Reprise Records this week, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on those sometime next week. I have a feeling there are a lot more fans of that era than the one discussed in this post, but I look forward to reading your comments on Neil’s Geffen years, positive or negative.

39 comments on “NEIL YOUNG Part 5 – Weight Of The World / The Geffen Years

  1. waynelaw
    February 17, 2013

    I know you said the Shocking Pinks was minor but that is the tour I caught him on…He did this half and half show. First as a Rockabilly Pinks guy and then as himself. It was surreal and fun in an Andy Kaufman kind of way. Love Neil Young!

    Like

    • I don’t doubt that the show was a blast, but as an album (and barely that at 25 minutes) it’s more of a covers/homage EP that’s fun to listen to once in a long while. I still love “Payola Blues” a lot, though.

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      • waynelaw
        February 17, 2013

        No argument there…I would not seek out this relic for the Cave…the show was great…as I think every show he does probably is!

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      • Believe it or not, I’ve never seen Neil in concert. Considering I own 45 of his albums, you would think I’m enough of a fan to buy a ticket at some point. Guess I never had any friends who liked him enough to join me. Based on the various concerts of his I’ve seen on TV and video over the years, I have no doubt that every show he does is a memorable one.

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  2. Glenn S.
    February 17, 2013

    “Payola Blues” may have gotten the radio play but “Wonderin” was the Everybody’s Rockin track I knew best, thanks to MTV. Always liked that one.

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    • Thanks Glenn. I had no idea. MTV didn’t arrive where I grew up, on Staten Island, until several years later, so I had to rely on Friday Night videos for my once-a-week video fix. I doubt that Neil ever made the cut for that show. I’ll have to check YouTube later to find the clip for “Wonderin’.”

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  3. Glenn S.
    February 17, 2013

    That’s amusing, because growing up in Florida I always assumed we were culturally behind New York and just about everywhere else. Do check out that video when you have a chance. I think you’ll like it.

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    • Glenn, although Staten Island is officially part of New York City, we were still way behind the other boroughs in many ways. Not sure if that’s still the case…I left over 20 years ago…but cable TV was a foreign concept to me through most of high school, and I didn’t have cable until my senior year of college. Needless to say, I watched a lot of MTV that year. Thanks for pointing me in the direction of Neil’s “Wonderin'” video. It’s a fun clip and I’m glad it got some airplay back in the day. Here it is for your viewing pleasure, and anyone else who checks out these comments.

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  4. Phillip Helbig
    February 20, 2013

    Bought a ticket on Monday for Neil Young and Crazy Horse in Cologne in June. (At the same time, also tickets for Michael Schenker, Herman van Veen and Steve Hackett.) More to come; there is a huge number of interesting concerts in the next few months.

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    • Phillip, you have a nice string of concerts coming up. I haven’t heard of Herman van Veen, but between Neil, Schenker & Hackett you’ll be seeing/hearing some great music. The Hackett show should be especially good, and I imagine he’ll be playing a lot of old Genesis material in support of his latest Genesis Revisited album (which is fantastic).

      By the way, thanks for recommending that Philip Pickett “The Bones Of All Men” album with Richard Thompson and the Fairport rhythm section last year. I got it recently and I love it.

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      • Phillip Helbig
        February 21, 2013

        Herman van Veen is, for want of a better word, a Dutch singer-songwriter. He is well known both in the Netherlands (singing in Dutch, of course) and in Germany, where he sings in German. Most of the songs are written by him together with people in his band (many of them having been members for years or decades), but he also has some cover versions: a Dutch version of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” and a German version of Pink Floyd’s “Paranoid Eyes” (from The Final Cut) come to mind. I don’t have any of his albums (he has 175 CDs, 21 DVDs and some seventy-odd books) and have never seen him live, but have always been aware of him in the last 30 years, have seen him a few times on television etc. I don’t know what to expect at the concert, but last week my Dutch teacher had a DVD of one of his recent concerts playing when I arrived for the course (he always have some music, CD or DVD, on before the beginning of the course until everyone arrives) and it was quite good, so I figured it is time to go to a concert, which conveniently is at the end of April.

        Glad you enjoyed The Bones of All Men. This is a rather obscure release (except, of course, for people for whom it is not obscure) which would probably appeal to quite a large audience, but many people who would like it might never hear of it, much less hear it.

        I saw Hackett about 20 years ago with just an acoustic guitar and last year with full band, but neither was the “Genesis revisited” theme (though he did play a couple of Genesis songs at each concert), so this will be different. After a long pause, I’ve taken up practicing guitar every day again. I could play “Horizons” reasonably well at one time; we’ll see how long it takes until I can play it as well again.

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      • Hi Phillip. Sorry for the delay in replying, but I was out of town…and out of touch…for the last five days. Thanks for the info on Herman van Veen. That sounds like a nearly inpenetrable catalog, but as a huge fan of The Final Cut I love knowing that there’s a cover of “Paranoid Eyes” out there. I will definitely check out his music when I have some free time.

        As for Hackett, I’m not sure how I’ve missed seeing him in concert since I’ve been a huge fan for years. Even if he didn’t play a single Genesis song, his solo catalog is strong enough to make for a great night of music.

        I’m glad you’ve picked up the guitar again. I’ve gone through a couple of phases in my life when I wasn’t drumming and I tended to be miserable when that happened. I’m sure you’ll be playing “Horizons” with your eyes closed in no time.

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  5. Lewis Johnston
    February 20, 2013

    A very good review of a phase of Young’s career that has an undeserved bad reputation. Trans is actually one if my favourite albums by Young, the soundscapes and textures were such a great departure from his pervious work. It showed that he had new ideas to explore, for an artist that had quite a substantial body of work already behind him, that was for me a good thing. I also saw him live during that period and the concerts were very good too. With the following album Everybody’s Rockin’ he decided it was time to go back to the early days of Rock & Roll, while the album is rather short, it is a pretty enjoyable listen, good fun with some very catchy tunes. Old Ways is another standout album from this period, as a full blown country album it works really well. One can hear that he was really into it and the band he toured with at that point really did the music justice. That was one band I would have loved to see him live with, from the videos that I have seen it certainly looks very good. I enjoy Old Ways and find myself listening to that pretty often. The next album was Landing On Water, a bit of a strange beast indeed, there are some good tunes to be had on the album though “Hippie Dream” is a standout for me, it would have not been out of place on his album On The Beach, lyrically it would have fitted in very well with the theme of disillusionment with the failure of the dream of changing the world. I think with a slightly different production and arrangements one might have had a better album to listen to. Having said that it is not all bad.

    The final album for Geffen called Life suffers from the continuation of the eighties style production. Like your good self I feel “inca Queen” is the best track on that album. The rest of the album is ok but not on a par with Trans and Old Ways. From the Geffen years those are the two albums I would suggest as the best to get from that period. It certainly was an interesting part of his musical voyage and it was something he seemed to wanted to get out of his system. What must have been annoying for Geffen was the critical and commercial success that was to follow when he jumped back on board to Reprise, which I think reinvigorated his muse judging by what followed

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    • Hi Lewis. As usual, we seem to be on the same page here with our favorite albums and songs. You made a nice point about “Hippie Dream” being a thematic match for On The Beach. I hadn’t made that connection before, but I agree with you.

      I’ve already been listening to the first few albums from his second stint at Reprise and they’re definitely more cohesive and less of-their-time than anything he did with Geffen. I probably won’t be able to post my comments about them until late next week, but I think I’ll have a lot of good things to say about those records. Looking forward to finding out if we’re once again on the same wavelength.

      Thanks, as always, for your input.

      Cheers!
      Rich

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  6. Good job Rich – Finding some ’80s Neil Young to like might not be the easiest task – but you did it!

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    • Thanks. It ended up being easier than expected, and a few of the albums are pretty solid from start to finish…which is something I did not expect. Certainly not his best era, but not as unlistenable as its reputation.

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  7. jbacardi
    November 16, 2013

    It’s certainly not my favorite Neil album, but I love Landing on Water. The songs are strong, and I flat out love the guitar sound he gets as well as Steve Jordan’s whipcrack drum sound.

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    • Thanks for your feedback. Glad to find someone who admits to loving “Landing On Water.” I liked it a whole lot more than I ever expected to. Once you get past the synthetic sounds on most of the album, the songs are actually pretty good. “Hippie Dream” is probably still my favorite. As for Steve Jordan, I’m always amazed when I hear him play. You’re spot-on regarding that “whipcrack” drum sound.

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      • jbacardi
        December 23, 2013

        I finally got around to writing about Landing, and it goes like this: http://jbacardi.tumblr.com/post/70913816973/neil-young-landing-on-water-1986-monday

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      • I really enjoyed that thorough review of Landing On Water. Most people, even some big Neil Young fans, might never give that album so much time, but you’ve obviously gotten to know it really well. For years before revisiting his catalog, I got the impression that it was one of his least popular albums, and based on a lot of factors (most notably the tinny production and Steve Jordan’s snare sound) I can understand why. You really have to get past those sonic limitations & spend time with the songs. It’s far from a great album, and certainly not an undiscovered classic, but there are several strong songs (“Hippie Dream” and “Weight Of The World” being two particular favorites). You obviously have more of a connection to Landing On Water than I do, but at least we both didn’t dismiss it as worthless like many fans have done. The one part of your review that I don’t agree with is about Old Ways, which I really liked a lot. I guess it depends on your tolerance for classic country music. I didn’t hear it in any way as “half-assed” or “mock serious.” In fact, I found it to be very genuine, and one of his strongest releases of the ’80s. Thanks for coming by again & sharing this review. I hope some of my readers will click through your link & check out your site. You do good work.
        Cheers.
        Rich

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  9. DanicaPiche
    August 7, 2015

    Hi Rich, I hadn’t heard Trans before. I’m enjoying the smooth sound of “Like an Inca”. He does sound a little less like himself with this level of production. I can see how this album was less well-received as a result. Geffen suing made me laugh. His personal reasons aside, an artist should be given some room to experiment. I find no fault in trying popular sounds and techniques for the time. Interestingly, these sounds create a type of time-stamp on the album. Overall, I believe that it’s a great compliment to Neil Young that people were less receptive to this album/era since it means that they prefer him to sound more like himself. It doesn’t get any better than that!

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    • Hi Danica. I’m glad you’re enjoying “Like An Inca,” and hopefully other songs from Trans. I really like your points about the reaction to that album. Probably the only person who wasn’t concerned about it was Neil. I was very pleased by how much I liked it when I revisited it for this series, and I’ll enjoy it even more the next time I give it a spin.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        August 7, 2015

        You know, that’s one of my favorite things about him (aside from his music). He seems to stay true to himself without strategizing over sales, marketing, promo, image, etc.

        The album cover art is interesting too. Not something I’d guess would be his but it fits with the music here. I can see how this album would grow on you the more you listen.

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      • The cover art for Trans didn’t seem strange when it hit record store shelves in ’82 but it does seem like an anomaly in his discography now. Of course, knowing the nature of the music, the artwork makes perfect sense.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        August 9, 2015

        Yes, the cover art compliments the music very well. Do you happen to know whether Neil selected the same artist(s) ti create all his covers?

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      • DanicaPiche
        August 9, 2015

        That’s “to create” not “ti create” — I’m replying on my phone and while it’s quicker, it’s definitely more prone to typos!

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  10. DanicaPiche
    August 7, 2015

    “Once an Angel”! I love this! I’ll be looking for Old Ways. From your review and this one song, I know I’ll love the whole album. Thank you :).

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    • I had always read that Old Ways was disliked by many of his fans but hadn’t considered that it was just the portion of his fanbase that doesn’t like country music. As a lifelong country fan (my father introduced me to Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Webb Pierce and others when I was a kid) I was thrilled that Neil not only “went country” but also delivered an excellent set of songs. I hope you love it whenever you hear the whole album.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        August 7, 2015

        Yes, there seem to be a lot of people who dislike country music. Then again, it’s one of the largest (or the largest?) revenue-generating genre today. I adore country music — the older and twangier the better. My favorites include Waylon Jennings and Hank Williams. You know, it would make sense to me if country music informed Neil’s musical development and sensibilities.

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      • A lot of people who claim to dislike country music usually point to current artists in that genre but will admit to liking some/many classic artists. However, if one of their favorite artists “goes country” those fans will immediately turn on them even though the influence comes from those same classic country artists. With a slightly more open mind they might discover a lot of great music that they’ve been missing.

        Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        August 9, 2015

        So much of today’s music has its origins in blues and country. Before that, the spoons and washboards in the hills 🙂

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  11. DanicaPiche
    August 7, 2015

    I see what you mean, Rich. Here’s a live performance of “When Your Lonely Heart Breaks”: http://youtu.be/z4p0LfSG0Wo
    It’s not professional footage but the beauty of the song is evident.

    Like

    • Ooh, that version of “When Your Lonely Heart Breaks” was a real treat. Thanks, Danica. It may not be the full acoustic version that the song deserves but it’s still an improvement over the slickly-produced version on the album.

      Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        August 7, 2015

        It’s so beautiful, isn’t it? Full acoustic would be perfect. This performance is a little closer and the tempo is wonderful. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

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  12. DanicaPiche
    August 7, 2015

    “The Wayward Wind”! Nice cover. If you hadn’t said it was Denise Draper I’d have guessed it featured Dolly Parton. You’re right, it would fit well on a cowboy film soundtrack.
    “Get Back To The Country”! Love the fiddle and you can’t go wrong with Waylon.
    “Are There Any More Real Cowboys”…”…the one that prays for more rain…” Wonderful :).
    “California Sunset”…gorgeous.

    Wonderful album, Rich! I’m going to have to get this one. Thanks again.

    Like

    • Hi Danica. I’m pleased that you’re enjoying Old Ways so much. It’s definitely an overlooked gem in his catalog. Thanks for confirming my assessment of Draper’s Parton-esque vocals.

      Hope you’re having a great weekend.
      Rich

      Liked by 1 person

      • DanicaPiche
        August 9, 2015

        Thanks you so much for bringing this album to my attention, Rich. I didn’t realize that Neil had a country album in his repertoire and I’m delighted!

        I have a coffee so my weekend is going well :). I hope that you’re also enjoying your weekend and that your moving project is manageable!

        Danica

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