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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Being Astrid Young

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Between tours and Archives madness, we finally had a chance to read Being Young by Astrid Young. Astrid, Neil Young's half-sister, has written an insightful portrait of Neil that gets behind the persona and in many ways is more revealing than their father, Scott Young’s Neil and Me or Jimmy McDonough's biography Shakey.

Astrid explores the events which shaped their family, drove it apart, and eventually brought all the Youngs back together. One comes away with a much different impression of Neil than the one left by Shakey . In Being Young, we intimately see Neil as a loving husband and father, along with his many other interests such as an environmentalist and anti-war activist.

An excerpt:
The fire crackled. Neil sat down with the Martin across his knee and pulled some strings into chords that became the song "War of Man."

He asked me:
"What would you sing on this part? As a harmony, I mean," and then he went on to sing the chorus, and I'll be damned if I can remember what I did. I know I sang something, but I also know that at that time I was still very shy at the axis of music between us. We were so different, I thought. I didn't think he'd ever relate to me as a musician at all.

"Can you stay a few extra days and do some singing with Nicolette?"

"Sure," I said. "I don't think I have anything going on." At that moment, there was nothing else. Not even the moment itself had sunk in far enough for me to understand the invitation I had just accepted.

So the next day, it happened. And you know, it didn't end up being the scariest moment of my life.

And we should add that Astrid has had a pretty interesting life moving about as a musician, writer and wine expert.

Being Young is available on Amazon.com (you'll be supporting Thrasher's Wheat. Thanks!)

More on Neil's family and friends.


17 Comments:

At 5/21/2008 07:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i actually thought this book sucked haha...

80% of this book is about Astrid's struggle for stardom, and finaly settling at being a backup singer for neil,beginning in the nineties

i was expecting alot more insight on what it was like hanging at neil's ranch,recording albums with him...have more of an insight as to what neil young is like as a person, not the moody rockstar persona he's shaped up to being in Shakey,althout i'm sure he's actually alot like that.

the book didn't do much for me. Astrid seems to focus alot more energy on her, rather than her brother...using his image on the cover to get people to read her book.

that little exerpt on the back of the book explaining Neil asking Astrid to sing harmony on War Of Man is the closest we get to a first-hand point of view at what it's like working on a song with neil,and it's about the only part like that in the book.

both "Neil And Me" and "Shakey", in my opinion, stand as the best pieces of work about Neil Young, and are both necessary reads.

and that's my two cents,hehe...

-Marc C

 
At 5/21/2008 09:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FWIW, Shakey was a disaster. One of the worst books ever written about a musician, IMO.

 
At 5/22/2008 12:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shakey is my bible

 
At 5/22/2008 09:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who writes a book about a famous sibling/spouse/child--unless they are a professional writer, is really only in it to fan the flame of fame onto themselves. True for Astrid Young as Roger Clinton and Cynthia Lennon.

As for Scott Young--the entire book was written to rationalize and justify his abandonment of his famous son. Frankly wished I never read it; it made me angry. JMHO.

Shakey, with all it's failures--and there are plenty, is still the best book written about Neil.

 
At 5/23/2008 08:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher, didn't know where else to post this...but over on Bad News Beat I found an article about the CSNY film being distributed to Lionsgate and Roadside Entertainment...

http://theplaylist.blogspot.com/2008/05/crobsy-stills-nash-young-documentary.html

And I also found that Martin Scorsese backed out of the Bob Marley documentary and is being replaced by Jonathan Demme, WHO IS CURRENTLY EDITING "NEIL YOUNG TRUCK SHOW!" I cannot wait to here more on this one!

 
At 5/24/2008 05:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to be off topic here but i don't know where else to ask for this:Is it safe to buy the ELDORADO EP on the net?I mean is it gonna be an original or a fake?
Thanx ruswties!
Chris from Québec City.
P.S.:Come visit us for the 400Th aniversary of the city this summer.Nice girls and cool outdoor shows.

 
At 5/25/2008 03:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yall missing the point of the book ... it was about a person growing up in the shadows of a famous family ... no matter what she does in this life ... she will always be Neil Young's half-sister ... even as she slips into obscurity, she is still Neil Young's half sister.

I love her music, I love her voice; next to Nicci, her voice melts into Neil's tenor.

I hope she lives happily ever ...

(((hugs)))

 
At 5/26/2008 04:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HELLO TRASHERS.....DON'T KNOW WHERE TO POST THIS: NILS LOFGREN'S CD "THE LONER: NILS SINGS NEIL" IS OUT.
ON NILS WEBSITE THE LIST OF THE SONGS HE COVERED.
HOPE TO READ REWIEVS OF IT.
I THINK NILS IS A GREAT MUSICIAN AND A VERY GOOD SONGWRITER.....CURIOUS TO KNOW ALSO NEIL?S OPINION ON THAT...
ROBY FROM ITALY

 
At 5/26/2008 12:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

did you guys see this?

http://www.albumvote.co.uk/news/article.aspx?headline=322

"Neil Young To Release Harvest Moon Live:

Neil Young is set to release two live albums on July 7 as the Canadian rocker continues to plough through he's back catalogue of live recordings and bootlegs.

First up is live recording of the acclaimed 1992 album called 'Harvest Moon' called 'Harvest Moon Live' which was a follow up to he's 1972 classic 'Harvest'. Secondly is an album of San Francisco studio recordings from 2000 called 'Toast'. Track listings for both albums are to be confirmed."

thought a heads-up would be nice!

-Marc C

 
At 5/26/2008 07:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE LONER.NILS SINGS NEIL
here's the track list:
Birds
Long may you run
Flying on the ground
I'm a child
Only love can breack your heart
Harvest moon
Like a hurricane
The loner
Don't be denied (WOW)
World on a string
Mr soul
Winterlong
On the way home
Wonderin'
Don't cry, no tears

Sound pretty good to me

Roby

 
At 5/26/2008 07:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Neil releases Toast and Harvest Moon live on July the 7th then that would be great. Hope the news isn't just a hoax.

 
At 5/26/2008 10:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toast and Harvest Moon live are both listed on Amazon as coming out on the same day.

 
At 5/27/2008 02:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I actually consider Shakey to be a sort of bible myself. When I want info on some unreleased gem, or a frame of reference (chronology) to tour events, I turn to Shakey. For instance, the description of the '74 CSNY tour, the excesses, the competitiveness, the sheer grandeur of it - as described by McDonough brings everything into focus when I watch the Wembley concert... I only wish Shakey were a little more complete, and not so caught up in McDonough himself and his overimpopsed self-importance...
Great news on Harvest Moon Live and Toast - can't wait to hear Standing in the Light of Love and Gateway of Love (check out "Hurricane Over the Mountain" if you can get your hands on a copy)
-Jim

 
At 5/27/2008 02:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Roby,

It will be a bit strange for Washington, DC native Nils to cover Don't Be Denied, DC is a long way from Winnepeg...

Still a great list, and can't wait to hear them -- I expect quite a few will get plenty airplay on XMSR's "the Loft"

-jim

 
At 5/28/2008 09:24:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To avoid confusion, Neil should have simply created a double album and called it "Harvest Toast" - that would have been more in the spirit of things, I would think.

 
At 6/04/2008 12:26:00 AM, Blogger wardo said...

back on topic here -- I skimmed through the book at a store today, and was ultimately disappointed that they put a picture of Neil on the cover. This book is about Astrid, not Neil, and her story is fascinating enough.

But the big scoop? Oscar Butterworth was Kenny Buttrey all along! I didn't know that.

 
At 8/14/2008 09:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a bit of self-indulgence to me. Not sure if Neil would of been too keen on this, at least by the sounds of it.

 

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