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 Neil Young

Canadian singer-songwriter

Neil Young

Everybody Knows This is Nowhere

After the Goldrush

Harvest

Time Fades Away

On the Beach

Tonight's the Night

Zuma

American Stars and Bars

Comes A Time

Rust Never Sleeps

Hawks and Doves

Re-ac-tor

Trans

Everybody's Rockin

Old Ways

Landing on Water

Life

This Notes for You

Eldorado

Freedom

Ragged Glory

Harvest Moon

Sleeps with Angels

Mirror Ball

Broken Arrow

Silver and Gold

Are You Passionate

Greendale

Prairie Wind

Living With War

Chrome Dreams II

Fork In the Road

 

 

 

 

Neil Young

 

Neil Young - Neil Young - Released 1968 - 4.5

Young kicked off his solo career with a very low key affair. The whole pace of the album is dictated to by the opening jaunty instrumental The Emperor of Wyoming which has a definite country feel to it. The key to the success of a first album is a positive answer to the question "will this artist improve?" With Young it was definitely a yes as you could hear the beginnings of the golden career that was to follow. So this is a decent stab at things, but there was much better to follow. It includes some pseudo classical twiddly bits and, like on so many Young albums, the sum of the whole is slightly fractured, varying from the prettiness of "Here We Are in the Years," which for me is the outstanding track, to the rambling "The Last Trip to Tulsa" which at nine minutes is hugely too long. Over indulgence was something Young would be accused of many times in his career, but that shouldn't detract from the fact that he was and still is a major major talent.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere - Released 1969 - 3.5

Shortly after his first album Young released a rather patchy album that's real claim to fame was the first appearance of Crazy Horse. The voice is more assured than on the opener but that takes away some of the quirkiness that made the opener sound fresher than a rather stodgy offering in which Young seems to be desperately trying to make a niche for himself. There's definitely a cowboy feel to this one but many of the songs fail to work despite this albums popularity. It was for me an artist in search of a style and ...

After the Goldrush - Released 1970 - 9

Boy did he find the style with one of the greatest albums of all time. Gone is the waffle. Everything on Goldrush is stripped down to its bare essentials This album regularly appears in top 100 lists and it is easy to see why. I defy anybody to listen to Goldrush and not end up singing along. Every single song is a gem in its own right. Here Young had created a style and feeling all of his own. This was near genius at work as the list of songs shows: Tell Me Why, After the Gold Rush, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Southern Man, Till the Morning Comes, Oh Lonesome Me, Don't Let It Bring You Down, Birds, When You Dance I Can Really Love, I Believe in You and Cripple Creek Ferry - virtually unsurpassed songs. The brilliance is that so many people have heard these songs but probably don't realise that every one of them was penned by young apart from Don Gibson's Oh Lonesome Me which Young still manages to twist into his own. Young's voice was never better, his songwriting superlative and arguably the height of his career.

Harvest - Released 1972 - 8

I'm sure many people waited eagerly for this release and I was certainly one of them. The fear was that it would be a huge disappointment after Goldrush - well it wasn't. Harvest has taken on almost a mythical feel over the years. Many consider it his best work and certainly it met with critical acclaim and is still talked of today. When Young releases a low key, tuneful album it is always described as "The New Harvest" and the composer also references the album many times in his subsequent offerings. It was more progressive than Goldrush. To me the songs aren't quite so effective but there is no denying the power and beauty of an album that once again contained some outstanding music with the likes of "Harvest", "A Man Needs a Maid" "Heart of Gold" (I can hear you singing it now and two songs with much stronger messages "Old Man" and a foray into drug culture "The Needle and the Damage Done." The only question on the lips of Young fans were "where does he go from here and can he produce a trio of essential albums?"

Chrome Dreams II - Released 2007 - 6

This is a strange one. In essence a sequel to an album that never saw the light of day. The original Chrome Dreams was scheduled for release in 1977 but shelved in favour of what became American Stars n Bars. Now Young releases a follow up to an album that never was. The man never ceases to amaze. I wonder at times whether he has a butterfly brain - flitting from one project to another. Or perhaps he is a deep thinker. Whatever has prompted this album, I have to say it's not at all bad with numerous high spots, although I find the length of tracks like Ordinary People (18 min 13 sec) and No Hidden Path (14 min 30 sec) rather too daunting. Young is still capable of putting together some gems and on this album it comes in the shape of three of the quieter numbers that have a definite Harvest or After the Goldrush feel to them. Beautiful Bluebird comes from the 1980s and is a definite return to the original Harvest territory. It's a beautifully wistful song with trademark harmonica. Similarly Shining Light suggests that Young is finally a man at peace with his art. Strangely the stand out track is one of those infuriatingly catchy Young offerings. I should hate The Way with its children's choir, but it is a superb track with chord changes to kill for. Overall it's not top notch Young, but neither is it just an old timer going through the motions.

 

Fork In The Road - Neil Young - 5.5

When Worlds Collide/ Fuel Line/ Just Singing a Song/ Johnny Magic/ Cough Up The Bucks/ Get Behind the Wheel/ Off the Road/ Hit the Road/ Light a Candle/ Fork in the Road

First let's get the negatives out of the way - well to start with there's a terrible CD cover. Just look at it opposite. That really doesn't inspire you to want to listen to Neil Young's new album. Then there's the fact that the entire album is about the singer's Lincoln Continental car that has been modified to run entirely on alternative energy as part of a project to develop a viable energy power system, Young is recording a documentary which will culminate in him driving his electric car to Washington. Now that may be a laudable idea but is it really worth 10 songs which might have the effect of putting back the much awaited archive project again. So what of the music. Well it's certainly not all bad. There's a grungy feel to most of the material which rocks along. The only problem is the subject matter does become dull and lacking in variety. It's certainly not a bad effort but after a few plays it begins to grate somewhat. I guess, as with many Neil Young albums, it's all a matter of personal taste. At least he has the guts to use his music to promote the issues he believes in.