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Thursday, October 21, 2021

1st IMPRESSIONS: "Song Of The Seasons" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

by Neil Young & Crazy Horse 


We interrupt  our  "unplanned/forced sabbatical" here at Thrasher's Wheat, with  an update on the new song from BARN --  the upcoming album by Neil Young & Crazy Horse -- "Song Of The Seasons" which is previewing now on Neil Young Archives.

(WBR PR) Redwood, California: October 21, 2021


WBR artist Neil Young, caving in to fan pressure for the first time in history, is set to release a new song written after agonizing over fan response to his new song "Song Of The Seasons"  from his upcoming album BARN album with Crazy Horse. (Release Date: Dec 10)

Says Young:

"You know the pressure of everyday stardom has begun to really bother me, so, in an effort the placate the 250 or so PATRON-ZOOM-RUST fans that I have left, I decided to really concentrate on their opinions of my new stuff. I can't believe I haven't been sensitive to their wants and desires over the past 40 years. I cried to my wife Daryl for hours over this. Finally after the tears dried, I was able to really commit to something so powerful that I couldn't deny it anymore. I really hope they like this new one."

Young has allowed release of these new lyrics in advance of the song. Finally, we can all agree that Neil Young has written a true masterpiece.

"I've been alive forever, and I wrote the very first song
I put the words and the melodies together
I am music and I write the songs

I write the songs that make the whole world sing
I write the songs of love and special things
I write the songs that make the young girls cry
I write the songs, I write the songs

My home lies deep within you
And I've got my own place in your soul
Now, when I look out through your eyes
I'm young again, even though I'm very old

Oh my music makes you dance
And gives you spirit to take a chance
And I wrote some rock 'n' roll so you can move
Music fills your heart
Well, that's a real fine place to start
It's from me it's for you
It's from you, it's for me
It's a worldwide symphony"

Well, obviously, this was modified from an earlier April Fool's joke back in 2009 in response to Neil's  Fork In The Road album. (Thanks for the vintage rust memories SONY!)

As a first impression, some rusty readers here have been  underwhelmed by the gentle, mellow calming gorgeousness of "Song Of The Seasons".  (More on our thoughts on SotS on Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast - Episode #11)  Or maybe they were expecting a full blown, raw, crunchy barn burner Crazy Horse rocker jam out!?  Reportedly, the album BARN will contain extended epic sonic jams.

 by Neil Young & Crazy Horse
"10 new songs that capture the raw, idiosyncratic rock and roll spirit and lyrical beauty that epitomizes a classic NYCH collaboration. Recorded this summer under a full moon, in a restored off-grid 19th century barn high up in the Rockies, the Horse was right at home and the album’s stunning love songs, reflective ballads and powerhouse rockers naturally burst into life."

Here's what the inestimably humble Dan commented as first impressions of "Song Of The Seasons":

This new song has all the familiar elements Neil has used before (with the exception of the accordion which is the driving force here) and like a lot of his songs, this one required a few listens (for me anyway) before it started to really sink in. 

This has been the case for me with a lot of Neil’s songs over the years.

Sometimes I feel that instant connection with a song but with others it takes a while before it hits me. I’m not even sure if that makes any sense really, but I wasn’t sure what to think about this one on the first listen. It wasn’t like I disliked it, but perhaps it just felt almost too familiar at first. After about the third time through things started to fall into place, and I made a connection with what his intention was.

The song is definitely observational, although I don’t quite understand the verse about the queen and how it relates to the other elements of the lyrics. Perhaps it has to do with Canada I suppose. I’m certainly open to any other interpretations anyone else might have on the subject. [Maybe see "God Save The Queen" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse | Americana]

He’s looking through a different window on each verse except the last one, and it’s clear that his love for Daryl is key to how he sees the world around him. My favorite line is “I see nature makes no mistakes”. That one line says it all really. 

A song written by someone who has lived a long life and learned much along the way, and knows what is truly important. Love.

Peace 🙏

To which we often say to Dan's comments, thank you so much for your thoughts, contributions and steadfastness in these seas of madness. 


"The film of the same title - BARN captures this legendary band in their element - in the wild, their easy humor, their brotherhood, their humanity, and of course, the music, live, recorded in their unique spontaneous way. A Blu-ray of the film directed by Daryl Hannah, will be available as a stand-alone release."

Which really brings us to the whole point of this post: What exactly does an artist owe to their audience?

To which another of our ever enlightening TW contributors Dionys commented in response to the initial lukewarm reactions:

Nobody ever said to Van Gogh: 'Paint the Starry Nights again'" (Joni Mitchell on Miles of Aisles). 

Van Gogh later painted farmhouses with a few barns thrown in, windmills and a lot of fields and cottages. But he completely lost his ability to paint starry nights. How a good guy who had 30 years of painting ending in 1889 can fall to such mediocre to bad depths... You get it. 

By the time Beethoven composed The Ninth Symphony, he had completely lost his hearing, but today nobody said that he should have written something like the Fifth Symphony again instead. 

Not that I would rank Neil Young in these spheres of artistry, but I do believe that he is well beyond "these hook and ladder dreams". 

My idea of an artist's existence is that he or she permanently has to re-invent him- or herself, doing what they want. That's not only a right of the artist, it's his or her raison d'être. "It's easy to get buried in the past". 

So if you lose your curiosity listening to Neil Young, it's not decided who lost what.

Dionys, it is these deeply profound & thoughtful responses here @ TW that help inspire us to pick the torch back up again someday.

Dionys' excellent analogies of Van Gogh and Beethoven were later followed up by Abner who commented:

Faulkner's biographer titled his book "Ten Matchless Years"- the years that included "The Sound and the Fury," "As I Lay Dying," "Absalom! Absalom!" "Light in August" and "Go Down Moses." 

What followed was a gradual decline. 

The works were still vital and worthy but they were not at the same level of achievement. I don't think we should think of this as failure, this is just human. Remember that Neil Young is now an old man, there is no avoiding this fact, even though I sometimes would like to. 

He manages in various ways to keep elements of youth, but ultimately that fades as well.

This subject of "what an artist owes to their audiences" (& see Artists who challenge their audiences) has been a long running passion here @TW over the decades. and it will become even more pertinent as time marches ahead relentlessly and predictably. 

So will BARN be another FITR?  Who knows, of course. Looking back at FITR back in 2009, we here @ TW were so stunned and ecstatic to hear lines so close to our hearts ("keep on bloggin' til the power goes out/batteries dead") that little else mattered.  And we still crank FITR on our road trips.

Thank you Dionys, Dan and so many others for being here and keeping the neil-rust conversations burning during our  "unplanned/forced sabbatical"!

Read more on an artist who challenges his audience,  commentary and Greendale reviews. It'll be like deja vu all over again.  Also, see more on obligations to audiences on Artistic Freedom and Commerce.

You either "get Neil" or you don't.  it's really that simple. and yes everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on all things always ...  

"Just Singing A Song Won't Change The World" -
Neil Young
Deja Vu Press Conference - Berlin, February, 2008

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Sunday, October 17, 2021

Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast - Episode #11 | BARN - New Neil Young Album + Farm Aid 2021 Highlights | Hosted by

Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast/Podcast
Hosted by
 Logo design by Geoff Moore - Silver Moon Graphics

Our soft launch continues as we bring you episode #11 of Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast/Podcast, hosted by our good friend Tony @  in Burlington, Vermont.


Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast/Podcast - Episode #11
 | Hosted by


This week's episode previews a song from BARN, an upcoming Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse Album + Farm Aid 2021 Highlights.

Earlier this year, we premiered Episode #1 of a revamped Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast/Podcast --  after a longer than expected hiatus -- in honor and celebrating Thrasher's Wheat 25th Anniversary: 1996 - 2021

(See all episode links @ Podcast Archive: Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0  | Hosted by


 Thrasher's Wheat Celebrates 25th Anniversary: 1996 - 2021
Consider these first episodes to be a soft launch of pilot tests as we shake down various technical issues. As we get the kinks worked out, we'll be bringing in additional features and special guests. 

Please provide feedback below.  peace

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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

NEW TRACK: "Song Of The Seasons" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse + PATRON Zoom w/ Neil

 by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

We interrupt  our  "unplanned/forced sabbatical" here at Thrasher's Wheat, with breaking news of a new song from BARN, the upcoming album by Neil Young & Crazy Horse.

 "Song Of The Seasons" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse is previeing now on Neil Young Archives.


Neil shares the following:

"Written in Canada about a year ago, it’s the oldest song on Barn. There was a recording of the song done in my hometown that is the earliest. This is the first one with Crazy Horse! It starts the album."


 From WBR label PR:

"10 new songs that capture the raw, idiosyncratic rock and roll spirit and lyrical beauty that epitomizes a classic NYCH collaboration. Recorded this summer under a full moon, in a restored off-grid 19th century barn high up in the Rockies, the Horse was right at home and the album’s stunning love songs, reflective ballads and powerhouse rockers naturally burst into life."
"The Volume Dealers" — Neil Young & Niko Bolas — Engineers: Guy Charbonneau, Anthony Catalano

Neil Young: guitar, harmonica, vocal Nils Lofgren: accordion, vocal Billy Talbot: base, vocal Ralph Molina: drums, vocal
UPDATE:  PATRON Zoom call w/ Neil just completed where he discusses BARN recording.  See report summary by GreyRider below in comments.  Thanks much GreyRider!

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Sunday, October 10, 2021

First Impressions: Carnegie Hall by Neil Young | The Old Grey Cat

Neil Young
The Neil Young Official Bootleg Series -- Carnegie Hall 1970 (back cover)

During our  "unplanned/forced sabbatical" here at Thrasher's Wheat, we're posting occasionally to keep discussion flowin' in the Neil Young Fan/RUST communities.

From the always insightful The Old Grey Cat, First Impressions: Carnegie Hall by Neil Young.

The main difference between the December [Carnegie Hall] and January [Massey Hall 1971 and  Young Shakespeare] shows can be found in the set lists; the December concerts contained only a smattering of unreleased songs, while the January gigs reversed the ratio.

The change in emphasis is hinted at here, actually, when Neil says after a few (very faint) requests following “Birds” that, “I, you know, could do all those songs, you know, but I have new songs I’m more interested in. I’ve outgrown some of those other songs.” Yet, as the below track list demonstrates, this show relied primarily on the tried-and-true; only five of the 23 songs were unknown to the audience at the time, though – if they didn’t buy 45s – “Sugar Mountain” may have been new to them, as well, as that was only released as a b-side. (For comparison’s sake, the Massey Hall concerts featured 10 new songs out of an 18-song set.)

I’m getting far afield, I know, so back on point: The midnight show at Carnegie Hall was recorded and released by bootleggers; I’d hazard a guess that it’s in the collections of most hardcore fans, be it on tape, vinyl or compact disc, though not necessarily under the Carnegie Hall title. In the old fogey days of the original Old Grey Cat website, in fact, it was one of my favorites of the many unofficial releases that passed across my desk—as evidenced by its inclusion on this “best of the unofficial canon” piece I wrote for the short-lived Da Boot ‘zine in late 1999. The two shows are similar, obviously, with the main difference being the placement of “Sugar Mountain,” which closed the first set during the early show, and the exclusion of “Dance, Dance, Dance.” Beyond that, he’s in the zone for both.

The performance and songs of the official Carnegie Hall bootleg are great and that the sound is topnotch; if you listen via headphones and close your eyes, you’ll swear you’re in the room. 

If you’re a fan, in other words, you’ll love it. In a way, it’s essentially a greatest hits-type review of Neil’s career up until that point in time, though both artist and audience weren’t aware of that fact. I know some folks decry his vocal abilities, but to my ears that high lonesome voice echoes aspects of my soul. As way of an example, I played Carnegie Hall during my eight hour-drive home after a few days of visiting family up north last week. 

Listening to these bittersweet odes about love, life and more while on the road was akin to hearing my childhood, young adulthood and early middle-age fade into the horizon behind me. “Don’t let it bring you down/it’s only castles burning,” indeed.



Thanks so much Jeff @ OGC! Exactly on the audio quality and headphones -- we feel like we're inside Carnegie Hall and its magnificent acoustics. So clean and pristine.

And thanks again to all for your continuing support of this blog with your comments and love while we try to keep the candle burning here @ TW during our  "unplanned/forced sabbatical".

peace & love,


Neil Young's Official Bootleg Series
image via Rusted Moon 

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Saturday, October 02, 2021

Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast - Episode #10 | Farm Aid 2021 Memories | Hosted by

Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast/Podcast
Hosted by
 Logo design by Geoff Moore - Silver Moon Graphics

Our soft launch continues as we bring you episode #10 of Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast/Podcast, hosted by our good friend Tony @  in Burlington, Vermont.



Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast/Podcast - Episode #10
 | Hosted by


This week's episode recaps highlights of the Farm Aid 2021 concert in Hartford, CT last weekend.

Earlier this year, we premiered Episode #1 of a revamped Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0 Vodcast/Podcast --  after a longer than expected hiatus -- in honor and celebrating Thrasher's Wheat 25th Anniversary: 1996 - 2021

(See all episode links @ Podcast Archive: Thrasher's Wheat Radio 2.0  | Hosted by


 Thrasher's Wheat Celebrates 25th Anniversary: 1996 - 2021
Consider these first episodes to be a soft launch of pilot tests as we shake down various technical issues. As we get the kinks worked out, we'll be bringing in additional features and special guests. 

Please provide feedback below.  peace

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REVIEW: The Neil Young Official Bootleg Series -- Carnegie Hall 1970 by Harvey Kubernik

Neil Young

The Neil Young Official Bootleg Series -- Carnegie Hall 1970

By Harvey Kubernik - Copyright 2021

Over Neil Young’s career, a few special shows have earned an almost mythic reputation, thanks to the dubious but nevertheless appreciated (in retrospect) practice of bootlegging.

Shakey Pictures Records and Reprise Records are now happy to announce the first of a new series - The Neil Young Official Bootleg Series -- Carnegie Hall 1970, available on double vinyl, double CD and High Res Digital on Friday, October 1.

This recording was made from the show on December 4th, 1970 and it was the first time Neil ever walked onstage at Carnegie Hall. There were two shows at Carnegie Hall, one on the 4th and one followed at Midnight the next morning. No bootleggers ever captured this first show, and it was, by far, a much superior show according to Young.

On his Neil Young Archives website during August 18th, Young wrote, “This first performance has never been heard. We recorded this great concert in high res analog as it was going down. Bootlegs of the second show have been floating around for years, but never this – the very first show! It’s raw and real!”

The concert’s generous set list covers one of the most revered eras of Young’s career, with stripped-down versions of the tunes “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” “Down By the River,” “Helpless” and “Sugar Mountain’” plus “After the Goldrush,” from the album of the same name, released only nine weeks prior to the Carnegie Hall show. Neil even plays the poignant songs “Bad Fog of Loneliness,” “Old Man” and “See the Sky About to Rain” before they were recorded and released. 


1. Down By the River
2. Cinnamon Girl
3. I Am a Child
4. Expecting to Fly
5. The Loner
6. Wonderin’
7. Helpless
8. Southern Man
9. Nowadays Clancy Can’t Even Sing
10. Sugar Mountain
11. On the Way Home
12. Tell Me Why
13. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
14. Old Man
15. After the Gold Rush
16. Flying on the Ground is Wrong
17. Cowgirl in the Sand
18. Don’t Let it Bring You Down
19. Birds

In December 1970, Neil was in Los Angeles resting with a bad back at the Chateau Marmont on Sunset Boulevard when the next major love of his life arrived.

Actress Carrie Snodgress had ridden the pop-cultural zeitgeist to “It Girl” status with her memorable performance in the Frank Perry movie Diary of a Mad Housewife.

Neil had read a magazine feature about her and been immediately captivated. When he found out Carrie was in town, performing in a theatrical production in downtown Los Angeles at the Mark Taper Forum, Neil tracked down her number, called her up, or had an associate or road manager invite her to visit an ailing rock star in his time of need.

Neil, with Carrie in the house, delivered a solo recital at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in the Los Angeles Music Center on February 1, 1971.

I worked a double-shift at the West Los Angeles College library to earn the money for my ticket. I sat near actor Dean Stockwell and dancer/actress and singer Toni Basil.

The roots of this stellar live Carnegie album go back to Young’s tunes in Buffalo Springfield.

The album, Buffalo Springfield Again began in 1967. Shortly afterwards, Young’s friend and drummer/record producer Denny Bruce visited Neil’s cabin in Laurel Canyon. Denny had introduced Neil to arranger/producer/songwriter Jack Nitzsche in ’67 at the Charlie Greene and Brian Stone management office in Hollywood.

“Neil had his jumbo acoustic twelve-string guitar and he’s halfway through a song that turned out to be ‘Expecting to Fly,’” Bruce explained to me in a 2014 interview.

“There was always a different tuning and Neil was also really good t using various time changes. Then Neil starts talking about ‘Expecting to Fly’ and said, ‘I hear it as a song for the Everly Brothers.’ I agreed and mentioned the song to Jack Nitzsche, who was about to work with the Everly Brothers. Jack and I went over to Neil’s place and he played ‘Expecting to Fly.’ Then Jack said, “Never mind the Everlys. This is for Neil Young. We can make a great record.’

“Neil now had confidence building from Jack and Gracia Nitzsche, and myself. Jack really believed in Neil’s music. Jack knew Neil would eventually become a solo star. He knew he wasn’t meant to be in a band.”

Jack subsequently brought Neil Young to the attention of Mo Ostin at Reprise Records. Nitzsche’s keyboard work informed and enhanced Young’s debut solo LP.

“Neil was the beginning of art-rock to me,” Jack stressed in a 2000 interview we did. “You know, when I was part of the band Crazy Horse. I sort of took over and became the producer and made Crazy Horse sound much better than they actually were. I was on tour them years ago, Neil Young and Crazy Horse. Miles Davis opened for us at the Filmore East. I thought it was an insult to Miles…”

“Jack Nitzsche called me to play keyboard on some dates in 1967 at Sunset Sound studio” recalled keyboardist/arranger Don Randi in a 2015 interview we conducted.

“Bruce Botnick was the engineer. When I walked into the studio I didn’t realize it was for Buffalo Springfield. I thought it was for a Neil Young album, because he was supposed to be breaking away and going on his own. Hal Blaine and Jim Horn are on the track. I played piano and organ.

“I’m on “Expecting to Fly” with Russ Titelman, Carol Kaye, and Jim Gordon. I had some little head chart arrangement to work from and another of the tunes might have been sketched. It was pretty wide open with the chord changes. And all you had to do was hear Neil sing it down with an acoustic guitar and you sat there, ‘Oh my goodness…’

“Jack and I never judged artists by their voices. To me it didn’t matter ‘cause I loved the music so much and Neil was able to sell it. There are some people you can’t stand them on record until you see them live. And once you see them live you can understand their records. That doesn’t happen a lot. But it does happen.

“And I would love to have said how big Neil was gonna get. I don’t think he realized it. But I loved Neil’s music. Goodness gracious. This guy’s writing…I thought everybody and their mother was gonna try and start doing his songs. I knew he was a songwriter. Some of the tunes were movies. They were scripts. To me, Neil was like another (Bob) Dylan. That’s what he reminded me of. He could do Dylan but I think he did Dylan his way. It was Neil Young. It wasn’t Bob Dylan,” Randi reinforced.

“Look, I’ve been on dates with Elvis (Presley) and (Frank) Sinatra, guys who would arrive with an entourage. Neil would show up by himself. You have to realize that as great as a musician and as great as a songwriter he is, Neil would also realize talent himself. He realized a sound that he liked from a guitar. Neil knew that the only way to get it was to have that guitar. You’re not gonna get that off a Tele (Telecaster). You’re not gonna get it off something else. Neil was smart enough, and most of the good writers and players, if they didn’t have the acoustic guitar they went to that kind of guitar. Neil liked to experiment. And he would say, ‘Oh my goodness. Why don’t I do that?’ And he had the wherewithal and had the time. He had the time to take his time. ‘Wow. That’s a real nice sound. I like this. I don’t like that.’

“Neil was smart enough to know what he wanted and knew how to get it. And, Neil had Ahmet Ertegun and Atlantic [Atco] in his corner. Ahmet had some of the music publishing [Cotillion Music] on Neil’s debut LP. Ahmet encouraged the guys in Buffalo Springfield to write and do demos at Gold Star. I lived at Gold Star throughout the entire sixties. Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun were two of the smartest people in the record business. They almost signed me to Atlantic.

“You have to realize that as great a musician and as great a songwriter as he is Neil would also realize talent himself. Neil liked to experiment. He was smart enough to know what he wanted and knew how to get it. Neil wrote cinematically and Jack arranged cinematically. I loved Neil’s music. Some of the tunes were movies. They were scripts.”

“Sometime in 1969, maybe I was in L.A. living at my grandmother’s,” singer/songwriter and Moby Grape co-founder Peter Lewis reminisced to me in a 2015 interview.

“I was at Wallichs Music City in Hollywood inside a listening booth and spinning Neil’s first solo LP and Skip Spence’s Oar album. I was driving around in my Volkswagen bus and this chick Lorraine pulls up next to me in a big Lincoln who eventually married Dave Mason. And I became a friend of his. I earlier met her in Hawaii when I went to see Rick Nelson play. She had gone to Westlake School for Girls and a band I had would play there.

“She (now) had a house in Topanga Canyon. So Lorraine says, ’Let’s go visit Neil Young.’ Moby Grape knew Neil and Buffalo Springfield from shows together and studios. We go to his house. I don’t know where the fuck it is. She rings the buzzer and says ‘it’s Peter Lewis.’ Neil answers. He opens the door and kind of peaks out. ‘Hey man! Come on up!’ Neil is with his wife Susan. He had just got married and was happy to see me. He played us the acetate of Everybody Knows This is No Where. I flipped out and told him, ‘You‘re gonna be a huge rock star.’

“What I saw what was goin’ on with Neil at that moment, honest to God’s truth, is like a rivalry with Stephen Stills where he could never do what he really wanted to as long as he was that band Buffalo Springfield. OK. When he played it for me he had a big wooden chair he was sitting in. And he spun the acetate. It hadn’t been released yet’ ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘Down By the River.’ I’m comparing it to his first record. And I told him what I thought about it. ‘But this is just gonna make you a huge rock star, man. Because you finally got that sound that you were lookin’ for. It’s not Brian Hyland and it’s not ‘Jack Nitzsche’s take on you.’ You did this.’ And he got guys that did what he told them to fuckin’ do. That’s what he wanted and Buffalo Springfield would not do that. I think we went into the kitchen and he wanted to jam but I wasn’t in a jamming space.”

“Cinnamon Girl” is heard on Young’s Carnegie Hall 1970. SiriusXM deejay, Rodney Bingenheimer, in his 1969 music column for GO “the world’s largest circulation of any pop weekly,” was the first to tout “Cinnamon Girl” in print, after receiving a promotional test pressing from Pete Johnson at Reprise/Warner Bros. Records. Bingenheimer had attended one of Young’s “Expecting to Fly” recording sessions at Columbia studios.

In 2015 I wrote Neil Young Heart of Gold, currently published in 6 foreign language editions. I did a series of interviews with Dr. James Cushing, a deejay on KEBF-FM in Morro Bay, Ca.

We discussed Young’s 1967-1970 recorded catalog.

“Neil, early on his in career, could take his Gold Star, Sunset Sound or Columbia studios recorded material, with Buffalo Springfield and his first solo LP, selections like ‘Broken Arrow, ‘Expecting to Fly,’ ‘Last Trip to Tulsa,’ and could transfer them quite effectively to solo platform from the initial context of a band. It shows essentially that they are folk songs, which is the strength and is rooted in something. And that music is rooted in Scottish or Celtic. This is something he has in common with Bob Dylan. The chord changes, the structure of them. They’re very skillfully put together in the same way folk songs are put together.”

We examined Buffalo Springfield’s Last Time Around album. Some of the tracks are done acoustically in this Carnegie Hall endeavor.

“I’ve heard Neil is a bit distant from it or sees the album as a contractual collection of individual recordings by group members. But it has his ‘I Am a Child’ and ‘On the Way Home!’ I think those two might be Neil Young’s first two masterpieces.

“‘I Am a Child’ and ‘on The Way Home’ first shows those strengths that stand out during the rest of his career. Evidence, a willingness to be as open, naked and vulnerable in ‘I Am a Child’ as possible to bravely go against the macho rock stereotype and come off as someone who was willing to lead with his vulnerability.

“One of the virtues that Neil Young’s music represents was the willingness to expose one’s emotional vulnerability. As a survivor of polio and an epileptic, Neil Young had already been through the pain the traditional and new underground media were covering.

“He and Joni Mitchell experienced physical disease, immobility, and confinement, all things that tend to make you stand out from other groups of kids and make you more sensitive and aware,” Cushing suggested.

“Mitchell contracted polio in 1953 and suffered more severely, including some paralysis. It’s important not to be reductive and say, ‘Oh, they suffered from polio, Neil had a slew of epileptic seizures. Therefore they understand the plight.’ Their art is a lot more interesting than that. The times required artists able to give convincing musical form to the new inwardness that resulted from the collapse of the 1960s ideals. Mitchell’s and Young’s music dramatized how people as individuals could pull through dark times. Their Hollywood-birthed albums of 1968 illustrate this.

“‘Sugar Mountain’ isn’t my favorite Neil Young song but it’s the one I think about most often,” admits Cushing.

“Neil Young’s voice. That high kind of alto tenor with just enough of that Canadian accent, especially with words that end in ‘R.’ ‘Sugar Mountain,’ for example When we hear Neil for the first time, particularly when he embarked on a solo career, his voice was rather high and plaintive. And so a lot of people didn’t like his voice because it sounded to them whiny and irritating. But his voice stood out at the time because so many alpha males were trying to rock and be macho. And Neil gets extra points for never trying to sound like anybody except his Ontario Prairie self. And we might faintly hear the impact of childhood polio he had in Canada coupled with a family divorce in the early sixties that possibly informs his vulnerable outsider stance.

“He did write a song called ‘The Loner.’ So as a product of a divorced family that circumstance, polio, and bouts with epilepsy, including incidents on stage with Buffalo Springfield, have influence on And the fact that Neil’s father was a successful writer, Scott Young, also had to make an impression, particularly on a son who winds up using words to communicate to a large audience the songs he’s written. It’s got to.

“‘The Loner’ has a great riff and the song and record illuminates the main problems with the first album, which is a general failure to rock. ‘The Loner’ is really good. Neil Young’s voice does take some getting used to but once you’ve gotten used to it, it will always be a part of the way you hear some certain range of human emotions.”

On Carnegie Hall 1970, “Down By the River” kicks off the action.

“Down By the River” is Neil’s answer to ‘Hey Joe,” underlines James. “It’s from Joe’s point of view. It’s John Ford and Howard Hawks directing a pop song. I feel it in connection with a western re-telling of a classic murder ballad kind of thing that goes all the way back to the 16th century. ‘Tom Dooley.’ ‘Man of Constant Sorrow.’ ‘Hey Joe,’ which is a murder ballad. All of these murder ballads are confessions by a stunned and emotionally over-whelmed man who realizes he has murdered the one that he loves and emotionally destroyed by it. In ‘Hey Joe’ it’s a third person thing. But in ‘Down By the River’ on the original Crazy Horse recording there is the sense that the emotional issues in the song are in some way being worked out by the guitar jams. Danny Whitten and Neil Young playing together.

“There is something about the way that feels that is being worked out. You could make an argument that this record, and ‘Cowgirl In the Sand,’ remains the essential Neil Young sound. Although one could make an argument for the Stray Gators. ‘Cowgirl in the Sand’ is not a murder ballad. It’s a kind of prayer to a goddess and the terms of the prayer are being discovered as its being offered. But I might be the wrong gender to fully answer the question.

“Neil Young’s career does have highs and lows. But the highs and lows are there because he has consistently shown a pattern of wanting to experiment and wanting to try new things and wanting to remain in a state of becoming. Rather than a state of being.

“I marvel at Neil Young’s career,” concluded Cushing. “His songs are so powerfully and simply constructed. They seem to have been discovered rather than written. His guitar playing has that marvelously rough-hewn rock out quality that nothing else quite has. His voice is unique. Even though he’s not a blues guy, the interiority and the momentum of his best music is everything what rock was designed to deliver. And his calm and beautiful folk songs are emotionally effecting on an almost pre-verbally deep level. He’s just like Bob Dylan and nothing like Bob Dylan.”

(Harvey Kubernik is the author of 20 books, including Canyon Of Dreams: The Magic And The Music Of Laurel Canyon and Turn Up The Radio! Rock, Pop, and Roll In Los Angeles 1956-1972. Sterling/Barnes and Noble in 2018 published Harvey and Kenneth Kubernik’s The Story Of The Band: From Big Pink To The Last Waltz. For November 2021 the duo has written Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child for the publisher.

In 2015 Palazzo Editions published Harvey’s Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows, and Neil Young, Heart of Gold published in 2016. Otherworld Cottage Industries in 2020 published Harvey’s book, Docs That Rock, Music That Matters.

Kubernik’s writings are housed in book anthologies, most notably The Rolling Stone Book Of The Beats and Drinking With Bukowski.

Harvey has written liner note booklets to the CD re-releases of Carole King’s Tapestry, Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish, Elvis Presley The ’68 Comeback Special and the Ramones’ End of the Century.

During 2020 Harvey Kubernik served as a Consultant on the 2-part documentary television series Laurel Canyon: A Place in Time directed by Alison Ellwood).

Also, see  other reviews by Harvey Kubernik :

Deja Vu Photo Composites
via Susan Miller 
by Buffalo Springfield 
Courtesy of Rhino/WMG 

Elliot Mazer: 1941 - 2021

See Elliot Mazer: 1941 - 2021 + A Tribute by Harvey Kubernik + UPDATE

Neil Young's Official Bootleg Series
image via Rusted Moon 

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The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
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Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

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Bands Covering Neil Young songs


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In the fields of wheat

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Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
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Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

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2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

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"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

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Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

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

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

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

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

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

The Achilles Heel
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
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(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
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat