Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

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Bill in CT
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Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Bill in CT »

MEMORY
Brings back the time when I was eight or nine
I was watchin’ my mama’s T.V.,
It was that great Grand Canyon rescue episode.

I remember the first time I heard Neil Young’s music. I was eight or nine (actually I know I was nine), riding the bus to school in Dunwoody, GA. I heard a song on the radio that stuck with me for a long time. It was not until years later that I knew it was Neil. The song was “Lotta Love” from the Comes A Time record. It seems apropos that I remembered a Neil song before I knew it was him. It feels like his music has been part of my life nearly as long as I can remember. It also makes sense because memory is a theme that Neil revisits time and again throughout his career.
“Journey Through The Past”

“Don’t Be Denied”

“Helpless”

“It’s A Dream”

Neil Young was born in Toronto on November 12, 1945, the son of Scott and Rassy Young. Scott was a sportswriter and novelist who is enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. The couple split in the 1950s, whereupon Neil and his mother moved to Winnipeg. Neil became involved in the local music scene and became friendly with Randy Bachman, later of The Guess Who and BTO. Neil and Randy would work together decades later. Neil’s first released music came via the surf 45 “Sultan”/”Aurora” by The Squires. He later was in a band called The Mynah Birds with Rick James that was signed by Motown. The group broke up when James was found to have been AWOL from the military.
Neil decided that he would go to the USA to try to make it big in the music business. He drove a hearse from Ontario to Los Angeles. He then caught up with Stephen Stills, with whom he was familiar from the coffeehouse circuit. They formed a band called Buffalo Springfield with Dewey Martin, Richie Furay, and Bruce Palmer.
“Mr. Soul”

“On The Way Home”

Buffalo Springfield was a hugely talented group and the egos involved led to numerous conflicts. Neil left and returned a number of times before the group broke up for good in 1968.
LOVE
Love is a major theme for musicians so it’s no surprise that it can be found in Neil’s songs. He is clearly fascinated by the topic as the word is mentioned in 158 of his songs. He approaches it from many different perspectives: tender to cynical, hopeful to despairing, in-the-moment to nostalgic.
“Silver And Gold”

“Look Out For My Love”

“Love And Only Love”

“Will To Love”

“Drive Back”

“Hold Back The Tears”

“Give Me Strength”

After Buffalo Springfield, Neil would develop a few different outlets for his music. The two primary ones were acoustic and with Crazy Horse. The other one was as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. This is exemplary of a central aspect of Neil’s art. It’s restless (a word he would use to name one of his backing bands in the late 80s). When Neil thinks it’s time to move on from one phase of his career to the next, he will not hesitate (this was especially evident in the 80s, when he frequently hopped from style to style). That said, solo and Crazy Horse (the latter until March 2004…perhaps never to return) would be recurring modes of expression for decades to come. Neil was voted Artist of the Decade for the 1970s by the Village Voice, a major honor considering how much great music that decade produced. He was highly productive in the 70s, releasing such noted albums as After the Gold Rush, Déjà Vu (with CSNY), Harvest, Time Fades Away, On the Beach, Tonight’s the Night, Zuma, American Stars ‘n’ Bars, Comes a Time, and Rust Never Sleeps.

“Last Dance”

“Revolution Blues”

“Albuquerque”

A LITTLE BIT HERE, A LITTLE BIT THERE: Neil Young in the Eighties
The Eighties found Neil hopping from style to style, whether it was synth rock on Trans, rockabilly on Everybody’s Rockin’, country on Old Ways, or r&b on This Note’s For You.
“Computer Age”

“Cry, Cry, Cry”

“Grey Riders”

“Ordinary People”

Neil stopped this genre-hopping with his last album of the 80s, entitled Freedom. It featured both acoustic and electric Neil to great effect.
“Rockin’ In The Free World”

“No More”

Neil started the 90s by reuniting with Crazy Horse for the Ragged Glory album, one of his best (and loudest) albums. It was on the “Smell The Horse” tour in February 1991 when I first saw Neil live. My ears were never the same.
“Over And Over”

“Country Home”

“Mansion On The Hill”

NEIL YOUNG: INFLUENCE AND INSPIRATION
Among Neil’s legions of fans are counted many fellow musicians. Some of the artists I’ve seen cover Neil include DBT, Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Thom Yorke, Bettye LaVette, Yo La Tengo, Bob Mould, Widespread Panic, The Duke & the King, Los Lobos, Slobberbone, and Patti Smith. There are too many covers of his songs to mention even a fraction of them here. I highly recommend the studio version of “On The Beach” by The Walkabouts and the live version of the same song by Radiohead (linked below).

In 1992, Neil released Harvest Moon, a mellow album which included many of the same musicians who had worked with him on Harvest two decades before.
“Harvest Moon”

“From Hank To Hendrix”

The next year, Neil released Unplugged and toured with Booker T & the MGs as his backing band.
“Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay”

“Separate Ways”

In 1994, Neil made Sleeps With Angels with Crazy Horse. This is considered by many to be one of his classic albums.
“Sleeps With Angels”

“Change Your Mind”

Neil then went on to make Mirrorball with Pearl Jam as his backing band. The album was released in 1995 and he toured Europe with Pearl Jam as his band that year.
“I’m The Ocean”

“Scenery”

“Act Of Love”


In the last 15 plus years, Neil has continued to work with various musicians and has also worked on film and environmental projects.
There have been many books written about Neil and his work. The following are a few of my favorites.
Jimmy McDonough – Shakey
Scott Young – Neil And Me
Pete Long – Ghosts On The Road
There is also the long-running fanzine Broken Arrow which is published quarterly in Scotland and is of very high quality.
At the age of 65, Neil Young continues to be a vital and relevant creative force. The story of his life and career will likely remain unfinished for years to come.
Last edited by Bill in CT on Mon Apr 18, 2011 6:53 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by bovine knievel »

Holy shit, Bill... you just raised the bar. Thanks for the great post.

Can't wait to dig into your picks and enjoy the videos.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by StevieRay »

Neil is the soundtrack of countless life moments. Steeped in nostalgia. I'm lucky enough to have seen him with Crazy Horse at Bonnaroo, and solo acoustic (twice) at Red Rocks... each of these were top concert experiences. Has he ever released a bad album?

Thanks Bill for this OUTSTANDING choice this week. No doubt this will be a tremendous thread for all.

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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by beantownbubba »

StevieRay wrote: Has he ever released a bad album?



Yes.

I don't know which is more impressive, Bill, that you had the guts to take on Mr. Young or that you pulled it off. :) Great job!
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by scotto »

Too bad there aren't many Neil fans on this board and this thread will go unnoticed.
Just kidding. Great job, Bill.
I discovered Neil way back in middle school in the early '70s via my best friend's older brother's cassette of 4-Way Street. I didn't much care for the wimpy/hippie stuff on most of the album, but who was that guy doing "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Ohio"?
Then I went out and bought After the Goldrush and my musical life pretty much changed. Neil made junior high and high school a lot more tolerable and I still play his records more than just about any other artist.

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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by cortez the killer »

Six decades of artistic genius boiled down to one thread. Nice work Bill. I like how you worked two of his recurring inspirations (nostalgia & love) into your write-up. I don't remember the 1st time I heard Neil, but I do remember the first time it smacked me upside the head. I was driving home late one night the spring of my senior year in high school and "After the Gold Rush" came on the radio. I just thought it was so fucking spooky and cool. I went out and got Decade the next weekend and was hooked for life. It's one thing to weave in and out of folkish, country-tinged acoustic songs and ear-splitting, blistering electric blow-outs, but to master both sides of the musical spectrum takes a true genius. Neil doesn't dabble. He goes where the muse directs him and we're all richer for it. Nice work again, Bill. I'm now a bit more excited to see him Wednesday evening.
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cortez the killer
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by cortez the killer »

StevieRay wrote:Has he ever released a bad album?

:lol:
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Clams »

Tremendous job Bill.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by BigTom »

Awesome Bill. Been a fan since the 70's when my aunt and uncle used to babysit me. Back before there was cable tv or internet so all they did was sit around and listen to records. My uncle's band used to play some neil and he would give me records all the time.

Saw Neil last night in Richmond. Great show but short. It's not all acoustic, mostly older stuff but he did throw in several from the new album. Love and War was great.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by pearlysnaps »

Wow, great work Bill!

I love the taping that the first clip, "Journey Through the Past" comes from. His banter between tunes is more than half-baked and the performances are amazing.

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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by lotusamerica »

Nothing much to add. Good summary.

I went to the Richmond show too - I think there were 6 off Le Noise and 2 other newer ones - You Never Call was scarily haunting of those. He's a master in this format. 3 more songs to get it up to 20 would have pushed it over the top and given the greatest hits fans a bit more to chew on for the money.

Night before was DBT. Jason up in a few nights. A friend wants me to go to Bob Seger next weekend 3 hours away. Not too sure about that, but a good week in music no matter what.

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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by BigTom »

lotusamerica wrote:Nothing much to add. Good summary.

I went to the Richmond show too - I think there were 6 off Le Noise and 2 other newer ones - You Never Call was scarily haunting of those. He's a master in this format. 3 more songs to get it up to 20 would have pushed it over the top and given the greatest hits fans a bit more to chew on for the money.

Night before was DBT. Jason up in a few nights. A friend wants me to go to Bob Seger next weekend 3 hours away. Not too sure about that, but a good week in music no matter what.

Go see Seger....Like Neil, he's still got it. Saw him on the last tour.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Swamp »

Great write up Bill. I've been lucky enough to have seen him many times with Crazy Horse, once with
the International Harvesters, solo last summer for the Le Noise tour (where I got to shake his hand) and
twice with CS&N. Booker T and the MGs was the backing band at the first CSN&Y show I saw. I got to
see Booker T again with the DBT's. When I saw CSN&Y in 06, Spooner was on keys. I got to see him
again with DBT. I would really like to catch the BS show this summer.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

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E quindi uscimmo a riveder le stelle.

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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

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Tumble down shack in Bigfoot County

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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by dime in the gutter »

great job with an impossible task.

1st exposed to ny thru my older brother. after the gold rush lp.......southern man, specifically. transcendent power cutting thru to a 10 year old dipshit.

the heaviest of the heavyweights. he wins in any rock fight.

Bill in CT
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Bill in CT »

Smitty wrote:http://thrasherswheat.org/

great site


Agreed, Smitty. Thrasher is a friend of mine. A mutual friend and I stayed at his house in Virginia in 2008 when we went to see DBT in DC with Thrasher and his wife. Thrasher has a very cool collection of Neil memorabilia. He is a fellow DBT fan who I got to see at Duffy's on night 2 of this February's DC weekend.

StevieRay - As I've never been to Red Rocks or Bonnaroo, I'm doubly envious that you saw Neil at both places. I've heard that Neil & CH set from Bonnaroo '03 and it is superb.

Thanks to all for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed my post.

I failed to include quite a few things (Neil has a huge career), but I should mention here the two charities that he cofounded and has consistently supported over many years.

Farm Aid is designed to help family farmers around the country stay on their land and make a living. Neil cofounded it with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp and plays it every year.
http://www.farmaid.org

The Bridge School is designed to educate children with severe speech and physical impairments. Neil and his wife Pegi cofounded the school. Beginning in 1986, there has a Bridge School Benefit every year except one (1987) to raise money for the school. Neil plays every year along with a variety of invited musicians.
http://www.bridgeschool.org
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by RevMatt »

Great job, Bill.

I think Neil Young is the only person in the whole world who is both a punk and a hippie.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by dogstar »

Fantastic job. I wouldn't have even known where to start.

First song I can remember hearing by Neil was Helpless on a radio show about him. Then a little further into the show they played Ohio and I was hooked. I love the fact with Neil that you can always find something new or rediscover something you'd forgotton about - last weekend I listened to American Stars and Bars for the first time in a long time and realised I'd forgotton how good it was, especially Will to Love

I've only managed to catch him a few times, once with Booker T and the MG's, once with Crazy Horse and once with the electric band (featuring the sadly missed Ben Keith). The last one is the best concert I've ever been too. Just a shame he doesn't come over to Europe more often.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by StevieRay »

beantownbubba wrote:
StevieRay wrote: Has he ever released a bad album?



Yes.


Well... ok btb... after further reflection, 1981's Re-ac-tor might have marked the onset of some stylistic disorder for Shakey; but, in fairness, he wasn't the only artist with that going on at the time:
Image

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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by cortez the killer »

re*ac*tor isn't a bad album. The only two albums I find completely unlistenable are Landing on Water and Everybody's Rockin'. Old Ways had potential but really falls flat. Hopefully Treasure can shed some new light on that period. Life is bogged down by cheesy 80's nonsense. In latter years, Fork in the Road is pretty lame. No one can claim the muse is 100%.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by mhc »

I have had the honor of seeing Neil 3 times. Saw him at Farm aid 95 in Louisville and at the HORDE Fest in cincy in 97 with Crazy Horse. Best part of that day was the impromptu acoustic set he did at the workshop stage at the start of the day. I heard Buffalo Springfield Again and he took request. This Notes For You and closed with Everybody knows this is nowhere with the crowd of 100 people singing the chorus. Great moment.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Iowan »

I doubt there's an artist I enjoy as much as Neil Young, yet have such a shamefully small percentage of his catalog in my musical collection.

Great thread, and great job at what's seemingly an impossible task.

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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Duke Silver »

Iowan wrote:I doubt there's an artist I enjoy as much as Neil Young, yet have such a shamefully small percentage of his catalog in my musical collection.


Yeah, me too. I have probably half of his studio albums, but I find myself listening to Weld and the first two live, archive discs more than anything.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Smitty »

My most listened (recently, anyway) to Neil albums are probably Tonight's the Night, American Stars & Bars, Prairie Wind, Chrome Dreams & On the Beach
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Swamp »

StevieRay wrote:
beantownbubba wrote:
StevieRay wrote: Has he ever released a bad album?



Yes.


Well... ok btb... after further reflection, 1981's Re-ac-tor might have marked the onset of some stylistic disorder for Shakey; but, in fairness, he wasn't the only artist with that going on at the time:
Image

Like DBT, I don't think any of Neil albums are bad. It all depends on what you like and don't like.
I like Re-ac-tor, it's not my fav but I like it. I don't care for Harvest Moon or Prairie Wind, but judging
by the people that do I wouldn't call them bad albums. I've been listening to American Stars and Bars
a lot lately also.
On a completely different media outlet, Neils been in a few movies.
1982's Human Highway; With Devo, a Y2K party must and make sure you've taken plenty of drugs. ;)
1987's Made in heaven; watched it once, couldn't tell you anything about it :roll:
1990's Love at Large; watched it once. I think Neil plays a sleazy private detective.
1991's '68; Neil owns a motorcycle shop that one of the main characters works at. He doesn't like any
political shit played on the shop radio, only rock and roll :lol:
There could be more.
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Smitty »

Harvest Moon & Prairie Wind are both in my top five Neil albums 8-)
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Smitty »

Umm, shouldn't this deserve a sticky?
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Tequila Cowboy »

Smitty wrote:Harvest Moon & Prairie Wind are both in my top five Neil albums 8-)


Yeah love em both. Prairie Wind is my fave 21st century Neil.

Sorry about the late sticky. I was slacking. Great job Bill!
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Re: Artist of the Week 04/18/11 - Neil Young

Post by Zip City »

love Prairie Wind.

"No Wonder" is one of the most underrated Neil songs of all time

And I knew when I woke up Rock N Roll would be here forever

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