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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Revisiting "Americana" by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse + Comment of the Moment


Americana by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
"AMERICANA is collection of classic, American folk songs. 
In their day, some of these may have been referred to as "protest songs", "murder ballads", or campfire-type songs passed down with universal, relatable tales for everyman.


An interesting reaction to our recent post on the music video for "God Save The Queen" by Neil Young w/  Crazy Horse from album Americana (2012) which featured the late Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth. 

First, our Comment of the Moment on "God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse | Americana by Abner:

Before this post or thread goes away, I wanted to clarify and explain my points. 

By not approaching the songs with reverence, Neil Young and Crazy Horse do at least two things (and this depends on their electric sludge and mayhem). First of all, "coming Round the Mountain" or whatever that song is called, basically gets what it deserves: a sound thrashing. In short they beat the crap out of the song (imagine a nice studio reverent version- which would be the opposite). 

The song, with its portals and red roosters, is utterly revolting and moronic. No doubt, Neil senses this in his bones and so the video with all the dancing racists. The song got exactly what it deserved (thank God). 

Clementine, on the other hand, is revealed rather than thrashed. What comes forth in the grimly, slithering noise is the nihilism of the narrator and the overall horror of the song. This song is more grotesque than moronic. Basically, no respect leads to the revelation of the song in all its wretched darkness. 

The other songs are, in their essence, quite dumb and lead nowhere. I see nothing of real value in "God Save the Queen" except perhaps historical significance. Perhaps an analogy might be a bad novel that gathered some nationalistic, jingoistic, appeal over time. 

No mercy is an interesting and novel approach to a "cover" and so instead of wanting to really find some place for himself in the canon or in the songbook, Neil seems to be going in the opposite direction. This is why I love the guy and the band. 

One has to admire the recognition of the songs as wretched. I don't think he brought them back to life, we can only hope that he put a few nails in a few coffins.

(Please, no one take this as an attack on their country or culture- I find many US anthems as repulsive and bad. Although, we might all be better off without any kings and queens, as Locke argued a long time ago.) 

Abner, thank you very much for sharing this retrospective on "Americana" -- nearly 10 years after.  Guess that didn't age too well for you ... or many others for that matter.

Actually, Prince Philip's demise and your comment do to provide us with an opportunity to revisit 2012's "Americana" by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse.  And we're kinda glad we did.

God Save the Queen, 2012
Mixed media (stencil, silkscreen, and collage) on canvas
43 1/2 x 30 inches
Image courtesy of the artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles.
© Shepard Fairey/OBEY GIANT ART
(See Shepard Fairey and Neil Young: The 'Americana' Collaboration )


When we heard of Prince Philip's death at age 99 on April 9, we immediately went to this video "God Save The Queen". (Watch @ "God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse | American) 

And what struck us most was the near virulent hatred for the 1st Crazy Horse studio album since 1996's "Broken Arrow". Regardless of whatever one's opinion may be --  if nothing else -- "Americana" opened the barn door for Neil  with The Horse to the subsequent album "Psychedelic Pill".

But possibly even more significant was how the massive blowback reaction to  "Americana" merely foreshadowed the full blown culture wars of today's cancel culture /woke mob mentality which is hellbent on on eradication of any and everything that they find to be of the slightest offense.


"Oh Susannah" by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse

For example, the legacy and history of "Oh Susannah" from a comment on The Judgement Not To Pre-Judge "Americana" by Matt & Jes Wedding:

Song meanings change over time.

The original intent and malice that the song ["Oh Susannah"] was written with and for is no longer present in the current incarnation of the song in our collective "Americana." Is it interesting to see where the song originally came from and how it has changed over time? Yes.

But if this song has become "illegal" to reproduce in your mind because an old version of the song (which is not what Neil is playing) was racist, then there are a whole lot of other things that should be "illegal" as well.

"Oh Susannah" was written by Stephen Foster in 1847 and was a product of its times.  As a folk song, "Oh Susannah" transcended its minstrel history with Neil Young's version excising the original racist lyrics with demeaning caricatures of black people. So Neil has reinvented "Oh Susannah", removing the egregious racist lyrics and setting forth a version to help move forward beyond a painful era. 

Oh Susannah, by Shepard Fairey - 2012
Mixed media (stencil, silkscreen, and collage) on canvas
(Click photo to enlarge)


In reaction at the time of release, Neil Young  issued the following statement:

"What ties these songs together is the fact that while they may represent an America that may no longer exist.

The emotions and scenarios behind these songs still resonate with what’s going on in the country today with equal, if not greater impact nearly 200 years later. The lyrics reflect the same concerns and are still remarkably meaningful to a society going through economic and cultural upheaval, especially during an election year.

They are just as poignant and powerful today as the day they were written."

Poster by Shepard Fairey

After what seems to have been a long couple of days here at TW, it would seem that we more fully appreciate the "Americana-ness" of Neil Young & Crazy Horse's Americana album.

So what the heck does that mean you might ask?

Well, if you've been following our comment threads lately, you might understand. If not, well, you may have saved yourself some time -- or depending on your point of view -- missed quite a bit of entertainment. Maybe it's just the summer heat that's getting to folks?

Music Video for "Oh Susannah" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
(See Some Thoughts on New Video "Oh Susannah" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse)

To summarize if just tuning in, last week we decontructed a rather harsh review of Americana on The Herald-Review by Tim Cain. The reviewer found Americana to be a "self parody because it is too rich, too perfect, too comical to be anything but a parody."

Some agreed with our take on the review and others did not. Fine. This was followed by our posting of an equal opportunity dissenting opinion (which we do indeed welcome), of a thoughtful, well considered rebuttal by Babbo.

So we included a poll asking if folks really thought that Americana "Drifts into Self Parody" of a Neil Young & Crazy Horse album?

And what did we find?

Interestingly, it seems that the majority think that no, Americana is not a "Self Parody" because it captures Neil Young & Crazy Horse in all of their raw, ragged glory. Between those who say Americana is not a "Self Parody" and those indifferent, it seems about 95% of folks are OK or neutral with Americana. Only 5% of voters thought Americana is a "Self Parody" because it is "too rich, too perfect, too comical to be anything but a parody." (Could this contingent be the dreaded "4% Club" that emerged after Fork in the Road? Let's hope not since they seem to be growing.)
Songs like 'High Flying Bird' are about a man that works so hard in a mine that when he comes out into the light of day he can't enjoy the world because he's blinded by the light—in essence, the fruits of his labor.

Many parallels between the aspirations and failings of the American Dream, whether it was 1880 or today.

Art by Gary Burden and Jenice Heo

In other words, the poll results and positive comments seem to be fairly representative of the mythical "Americana" itself, i.e., passions on the extreme fringes of the Neil-love and Neil-hate camps are unrepresentative while it is the great middle ground of Neil-moderates who are the true silent majority. In other words, the Neil Young fan base is reflective of "Americana" itself where the discourse is dominated by the hype/wind/noise machines on the fringes which is unrepresentative of the true mainstream "Americana". And those mainstream or "ordinary Neil fans" have stood and been counted and they think Neil & The Horse's Americana is perfectly OK.

So where do we go from here? Between a very analytical comment by Greg "A Friend Of Yours" and several other supportive comments like Sandy H's giving us a sanity check along with the poll results, we think we're good for another 15 years of "Separating the wheat from the chaff".

Shepard Fairey and Neil Young
(See Shepard Fairey and Neil Young: The 'Americana' Collaboration )
Neil Young: "All I can say is, everyone has a different idea, but this truly represents a lot of those things and touches on a lot of the core beliefs in the American Dream and questions them and makes you think about them.

And questions whether it's that different from what everybody else's dreams are everywhere else.

It turns out we may not be so perfect."
Shepard Fairey: "Latitude for interpretation is something that Neil utilizes and seems to value as an important way for the listener/viewer to personalize their interaction with art and music. "

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - "Americana"
(Zoom Album Cover)

From Americana review in TONEAudio MAGAZINE by Bob Gendron:

Never shy about making bold political or civil statements, Young brilliantly borrows songs from the U.S.’ historical fabric and tosses them as live grenades that explode on impact, broaching the staple concepts—freedom, liberty, justice, equality, rights, conflicts, privacy, the common good—on which America prides itself. He and Crazy Horse invoke these broad subjects without advocating one party or another; Americana owes some of its political and cultural potency to its impartiality.


A Comment of the Moment back in 2012 concerns preconceptions on Americana by Neil Young & Crazy Horse by Matt L.:

"Is it really Neil's, or any artist's "responsibility" to either the song, history or the music fan, to adhere to or at least reference or explain the original purpose of a piece of music, and the political, social or spiritual climate of its time, in some way, so that the authenticity and history of something isn't lost or disrespected?

Does he owe it to the song, the song's author or the music fan to prostrate himself before the energy that created that piece of music and deliver it into the 21st century in a way that retains, and even helps to convey or preserve a clear idea of the song and its history? Or, more importantly, to not undermine reality or contribute to confusing, or even rewriting, history?

This is definitely a very important topic, and I feel strongly about retaining the purity of historical accounting, but I would argue "no" to the question of Neil's responsibility as an artist toward either some kind of historical or social accuracy, or toward supporting a certain political identification, or simply toward NOT doing something that could be perceived as insulting to those of us with touchy emotional triggers about American Indians, the dark history of Colonial America, or the authenticity of music history.


Neil Young & Crazy Horse - "Americana"
(Zoom Album Cover)

 For more reaction to "Americana" by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse, also, see:

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

ALBUM COVERS: Neil Young's Official Bootleg Series

Neil Young's Official Bootleg Series
image via Rusted Moon


Last year,  Neil Young announced details on the 1st 6 ‘Official Bootleg’ releases.

Now, the first six covers of the "Official Bootleg Series" (OBS) and release dates have been announced on the NYA Timeline.    
The six official bootlegs are:
  1. "Carnegie Hall" (OBS 01) - Solo concert at Carnegie Hall, New York on December 4th, 1970
  2. "Royce Hall" (OBS 04) - Solo concert at UCLA, Westwood, CA on 1/30/1971
  3. "I'm happy that ya'all came down" (OBS 03) - Solo concert at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, LA on 02/01/1971
  4. "Somewhere Under The Rainbow" (OBS 06) - Neil Young & The Santa Monica Flyers at the Rainbow Theater, London on November 5th, 1973
  5. "Citizen Kane Jr. Blues" (OBS 06) - Neil Young solo in the club "The Bottom Line" on May 16, 1974
  6. "High Flyin '" (OBS 02) - Neil Young & The Ducks in the summer of 1977


The first official bootleg album in the series will be released on August 27th, with remaining five to follow on October 9th  September 10th. (Thanks Phil!) In addition to being streamed on the NYA website, the six albums will also be offered on vinyl. 

For more details, see Surf Shack | Volume Dealers | OFFICIAL BOOTLEG SERIES |NYA.

"I’m So Happy That Y’all Came Down"
Neil Young: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles - February 1st, 1971

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Farm Aid’s Board of Directors Add Margo Price and Annie Nelson

Margo Price
Farm Aid 2018 - Hartford, CT
photo by thrasher

Margo Price and Annie Nelson have joined the board of directors of Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid.

The two longtime advocates will contribute to the organization's mission of supporting family farmers, along with Neil Young and John Mellencamp, and Dave Matthews.

Margo Price said in a statement from Farm Aid:

“It is always a thrill to perform alongside my heroes on the Farm Aid stage, and it is one of the greatest honors of my life to become a member of the Farm Aid board.

It’s been a dream of mine to help family farmers and communities across America ever since my family lost their farm in the fall of 1984 — a year before the first Farm Aid concert. I hope to use my voice to shine light on the issues of climate change, our health and the health of our soil and water, and most importantly, food justice.” 

Annie Nelson said in a statement from Farm Aid:

“I am honored to join Willie and the other members on Farm Aid’s board of directors.

I’ve witnessed the incredible strength and resilience of America’s family farmers through my involvement in Farm Aid, and I am eager to continue to help our family farm system thrive through this new role."


photo by thrashette

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Monday, April 12, 2021

Neil Young Release Schedule For 2021 & 2022: TENTATIVE* DATES**

Neil Young On The Beach: Reflecting on Reflections 

Neil Young recently wrote of how the events of 2020 have had a positive aspect: "The focus was the gift". 

The focus was the gift, which has brought us an "avalanche of an embarrassment of riches" -- or as we characterized previously -- Expecting to Calculate Neil Young 2021: Numbers Add Up To Nothin' ... or "A Rusties Holy Grail".

From Subscriber News | Neil Young Archives, here are TENTATIVE* RELEASE DATES** (*read at your own risk , **side effects may include disappointment):

Upcoming Releases w/ target dates:
  • May 14, 2021 - Déjà Vu 50th Anniversary Edition
  • June 17, 2021 - (Record Store Day) - Déjà Vu 50th Alternates
  • August 27, 2021 - Carnegie Hall (from the Bootleg series)
  • September 10, 2021 - Royce Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Somewhere Under The Rainbow, Citizen Kane Jr. Blues, The Ducks (Bootleg Series)

Fall / Winter 2021:

  • ORS Box Set # 5: Freedom, Weld, Arc, Ragged Glory
  • Toast
  • Noise & Flowers

Early in 2022:

  • Freedom (vinyl LP)
  • Ragged Glory / Smell The Horse (Vinyl LP)
  • Weld (Vinyl LP)
  • Arc (vinyl LP)
  • ORS Box Set # 4: Hawks and Doves, Re-Ac-Tor, This Note's For You, Eldorado

Later in 2022:

  • Harvest 50th Anniversary Deluxe
  • Eldorado
  • ORS Box Set # 6: Harvest Moon, Unplugged, Sleeps With Angels, Mirror Ball

Without a specific date:

  • Dume (vinyl LP)
  • Odeon Budokon (Vinyl LP)
  • Road of Plenty
  • Timeless Orpheum
  • Early Daze
  • Chrome Dreams
  • Alchemy
  • NYA Vol. III

More on upcoming releases -- or an "avalanche of an embarrassment of riches" --  on Expecting to Calculate Neil Young 2021: Numbers Add Up To Nothin' ... or "A Rusties Holy Grail".

More on A Message From Neil Young: A PANDEMIC AND A RARE GIFT  | NYA.


Bucket Envy @ TW HQ - March 2021


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Saturday, April 10, 2021

Neil Young Archives: Complete Listing of "Timeline Concerts of the Week" + UPDATE: NYA Subscriber News


UPDATE: NYA Subscriber News: A message from NYA re Schedules-

We at NYA are all disappointed in the slipping of our schedule. We have been working hard to get everything ready on time. It is ready. Covid and the over burdening of the Vinyl Manufacturing plants world-wide have combined to slow us down. We will be updating this schedule regularly to reflect our progress in getting you the music you love. We are all in this together. To the users of our UK store, I apologize for the delays you experience. If we cannot get better service to you soon, we will have to shut down that store. Be great or be gone.
Love! Be well,

With the recent announcement of Neil Young Archives Membership Tiers: Rust & Patron, more details have been forthcoming on  the "Timeline Concert of the Week" feature.

The "Timeline Concert of the Week" feature is now available to members at the Rust tier level with streams of live concerts from Neil Young's entire career. "Rust" subscribers can also exchange memories and stories with other subscribers. Some concerts are already accessible via the timeline, more will be added over time. Subscribers can send inquiries and express requests.

"Timeline Concert of the Week" | NYA


As covered here last week, the most recent "Timeline Concert of the Week" | NYA is courtesy of Patron Andrea: Saddle Rack, San Jose, California 6/6/1984 (Early Show) — writes Andrea: First show* of The International Harvesters. I just love them.

Previously, the excellent Crazy Horse concert in Boulder, Colorado 1976: "Timeline Concert of the Week" | Neil Young Archives requested by Patron Michael/E2F.

Here is a listing of all of the Neil Young concerts on the NYA Timeline:

    • San Jose, 1984-06-06,  w/ The International Harvesters  
    • Boulder, Colorado, Nov 6, 1976 w/ CH
    • Antwerp, July 9, 2019 w/ POTR
    • Paris, 11 dec 1989
    • Stockholm, 3 jul 2001
    • Kelowna, 22 apr 2009
    • Hunter Valley, 9 mar 2013
    • Belfast, 7 jun 2016 (3h !)   

More on "Timeline Concert of the Week" on the recent announcement on Neil Young Archives. 

 Neil Young w/ The International Harvesters
1984-06-06, Early Show, Saddle Rack, San Jose, California, USA
Ticket stub image via Sugar Mountain

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Friday, April 09, 2021

"God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse | Americana

"God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse (2012)
Art by Gary Burden and Jenice Heo
"The king is gone but he's not forgotten
Is this the story of Johnny Rotten?"

--Neil Young

Today, Prince Philip died at age 99.

So here's the video of "God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse from album Americana (2012) featuring Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth.




From the Liner Notes for Americana by Neil Young & Crazy Horse:

God Save The Queen

Written in the 18th century with possible melodic roots in the 17th century, this anthem has been sung throughout the British Commonwealth and may have been sung in North America before the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence in 1776, which rejected British sovereignty. The Americana arrangement draws from the original melody and changes some melody and lyrics in the folk process, also adding lyrics of the same melody taken from “My Country ’Tis Of Thee”, in recognition of the war of Independence and America’s transition to freedom.

Now that is interesting that the melody of "God Save The Queen" and
“My Country ’Tis Of Thee” are the same?!  How could that be? (See comments below)

"God Save the Queen" by: Thomas Augustine Arne
Long May She Reign 
 God Save the Queen 
 God save our gracious Queen 
 Long live our noble Queen 
God save the Queen 
 Send her victorious 
Happy and glorious 
Long to reign over us 
God Save the Queen
 Long May She Reign
 O Lord and God arise
 Scatter her enemies 
 And make them fall 
Confound their politics 
Frustrate their empty tricks 
On Thee our hopes we fix 
God Save the Queen 
Long May She Reign 
God Save the Queen 
My country ’tis of thee 
Sweet home of Liberty 
Of thee I sing. 
Land where my fathers died; 
Land of the pilgrim’s pride; 
 From every mountainside, 
 Let freedom ring! 
Let freedom ring! 
Let freedom ring!

God Save the Queen, 2012
Mixed media (stencil, silkscreen, and collage) on canvas
43 1/2 x 30 inches
Image courtesy of the artist and Perry Rubenstein Gallery, Los Angeles.
© Shepard Fairey/OBEY GIANT ART
(See Shepard Fairey and Neil Young: The 'Americana' Collaboration )

UPDATE: See more reaction and discussion @ VIDEO DEBUT: "God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse.  Also, see God Save The Neil Young Fans (& Thrasher's Wheat).

Be sure to check the astounding comments on this video back in 2012.  or God save the rusties.  Well, things certainly were livelier around here back in 2012, for sure. wow.

(You can now Order "Americana" on (Thanks! You'll be helping to support us here at Thrasher's Wheat.)

ps - This note's for Fort Mac!

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Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

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"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

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So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

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dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

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What does the song mean?

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I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


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They Started It and We'll Finish It...

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I was hoping it was a lie"

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"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

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Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
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... and symbolism will be their downfall...

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This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

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war is not the answer
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"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

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Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
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Show Me A Sign


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
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