Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)

“That whole album is so pure. I love that music. I love that old feeling of just the music. Nothing else mattered to us then… There was no success, nothing to live up to, just love and music and life and youth. That was a happy time. That is Crazy Horse.” – Neil Young in 2012

While his first solo album was a bit of a muddle with Young working with two producers and musicians such as Ry Cooder who were not wholly sympathetic to the music being recorded, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere succeeds in all places where Neil Young stumbled or failed. For the first time, Young’s music erupts from the speakers with all the power that they required. The album was a perfect alignment of inspired songwriting, simple but effective production care of David Briggs and the introduction of one of the best bands ever committed to tape: Crazy Horse.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Neil Young (1968)

Plagued by technical problems and performance issues, it is a wonder that this self-titled debut sounds as good as it does. However, in the grand scheme of things, this marks the end of Neil Young’s early, more derivative work before his more distinctive and unique sound erupts on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere which would be released some months later. Neil Young follows the same style of writing and performance that Young had been employing both as a solo artist in local clubs and coffee houses and with the band Buffalo Springfield (more on them in later posts). There is a debt to the production standards set by The Beatles but, underneath it all, there is something awkward about many of these particular songs which suggests that despite Young’s love of the Fab Four, this was not a method of working that he was overly comfortable with. Considering The Beatles released the epic and exhilarating “white” album at the same time as Young released this album, it was obvious that they were still upping the ante when it came to studio albums and everyone was still playing catch up.