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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Preview Reviews of Neil Young And The International Harvesters' Upcoming Album "A Treasure"

A Treasure
Neil Young & The International Harvesters

Here are a few preview reviews of Neil Young And The International Harvesters' upcoming new album "A Treasure".

From Premier Guitar Joe Coffey:
A Treasure is a 12-song time capsule of that tour and includes five unreleased tracks that Young fans have been wondering about for 25 years. It’s being offered in the standard mp3 and CD formats, as well as a CD/Blu-ray package that aims to give fans an offering in the audio connoisseur-preferred Blu-ray format, even though no known video exists to give viewers moving visuals of some of the performances. Blu-ray viewers see the album cover on the screen during much of the album. Since something is better than nothing, existing video of Neil performing some of the songs is synced up with the audio on the Blu-ray, even though a few different musicians rotated in and out of the International Harvesters and this video may not accurately show who can be heard playing, if that makes sense.

This is a welcome concession for Young fans that relish a Blu-ray listening experience. But it’s a bit ironic since the mix, which isn’t bad at all, is still limited by the quality of the source recordings. In a video on his website, Young admits, “we didn’t use good sound in the first place,” while emphasizing that the recordings are “… the best versions of these songs.”

With that in mind, listeners can approach the album with a new-old-stock kind of expectation, which is appropriate considering the contents. Standout Ben Keith, the late steel player who can be heard on Patsy Cline’s “I Fall to Pieces,” as well as Young’s original version of “Old Man,” adds rich textures of lap and pedal steel throughout the album. His country-western (as they used to call it) authenticity is matched by Rufus Thibodeaux’s fiddle. Right out of the gate, the two set the mood for the album on the opening track, “Amber Jean”— a Texas two-step number recorded when Young and the band appeared on the Nashville Now TV show with Ralph Emery. Other standouts include the honky tonk-infused “Let Your Fingers Do the Walking,” a bluegrass-meets-rock version of “Get Back to the Country,” and a locomotive-strong performance of “Southern Pacific.”

From LAist By Bobzilla:
The eighties were a big decade for midlife crises (and lawsuits) among sixties rockers, but Young took the desire to mutate with the times and head into unpredictable territory much further than any of his peers.

In response to the pressure, Young split town, fired his Hollywood booking agent, and headed to Nashville. There he found himself a hell of a support crew, built around pedal steel player Ben Keith and fiddler Rufus Thibodeaux, and hooked up with Waylon Jennings’ agent, who put the band on the state fair circuit. By all accounts, the change of venue suited Young just fine. One of the tracks on A Treasure was recorded at Gilley’s Rodeo Arena in Pasadena, TX, a show at which Young was reported to have surveyed the rickety wooden stage, suspended ten feet in the air over a massive pile of horse shit, and marvelled, “Sure beats playin’ to a bunch of fuckin’ hippies at the Fillmore!” Young stuck with it and toured the group for a solid year, longer than any of his other genre diversions, though a followup to the 1984 album Old Ways never materialized.

At the center of this release are live versions of five previously unreleased songs that surfaced on his 1984 and 1985 tours. “Grey Riders” is the instant classic of the bunch, a frantic gallop with a killer guitar breakdown that would have fit perfectly on Time Fades Away. Placed at the end of the album, it’s shocking the first time you hear Young’s guitar explode and become the loudest thing in the room, obliterating his band, like he’s been holding that back for an hour and it’s time to let it out.

The lead track off of Neil Young & The International Harvesters' upcoming release A Treasure "Amber Jean" is now being previewed on Rolling Stone Music.

More on A Treasure: New Neil Young Album Coming and Release Details on A Treasure: New Neil Young Album Coming June 14.

International Harvesters Tour, Costa Mesa, CA - 10/24/84
Photo by Robert Matheu

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At 5/26/2011 06:11:00 AM, Blogger Thos said...

Getting excited now!

At 5/26/2011 08:10:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

I tell you - 'Southern Pacific' is so fantastic I just can't describe it. What a great song and the banjo just makes it even better...can't wait!

At 5/26/2011 09:22:00 AM, Anonymous Falko said...

Cant wait for it... Southern Pacific and Grey Riders are my favorites!
Its country time!

At 5/26/2011 10:25:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

This may qualify for a new musical genre -

AltCountryHippieElectricRock -

ACHER music. Straight off the farm.

At 5/26/2011 06:55:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/26/2011 07:09:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Bigchief ,??? What gives? You usually have so much to say?

At 5/26/2011 10:58:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Whatever Old state of mind Neil was in during the 'International Harvesters/ Ways' period, it was obvious that he was deliberately attempting to distance himself from the Rock-N-Roll lifestyle as well as with his fellow musicians who chose to continue down that path. Although his era of experimentation through the eighties was well on the way, It only seemed to be a logical natural progression for Neil to seek refuge with the Country Music Community. After all, country music was rapidly gaining popularity amongst aging rockers, especially on account of the 'Outlaw' movement, led by the likes of Waylon Jennings, Hank Jr, and Willie Nelson, just to mention a few, amongst many of whom represented a fresh type of rebellious spirit which seemed more suited to a generation of rock fans who grew up with the music of the 60's and 70's, but who were now growing increasingly more weary and disillusioned over the fact that they could no longer relate to what rock-n-roll represented now that they found themselves members of the so-called establishment that the message behind the music of the 60's encouraged them to rebel against. FM rock stations were beginning to sound more and more like top-40 pop. The punk movement and disco only served to further alienate those in search of music that they could relate to where they were now. That described me during that time. While I was faithfully and enthusiastically waiting to see where Neil would go next during this period, while also keeping tabs on Dylan's 'Born Again' phase, somehow I got caught up in the 'Urban Cowboy' craze. We actually had a bar in my town called 'The Urban Cowboy Saloon'! Country music's popularity was at an all time high and I was right there in the thick of it. It was new and fresh. It was nothing more than rock-n-roll at its roots except finally it seemed that the lyrics in most of the songs were believable. They hit us where we were living now, for the most part. In the midst of the Reagan era, we had God, Country, Family, and good times, as well as the 'cornier stuff' for sure. It seemed like the only thing we were rebelling against was the things that we used to rebel against!

At 5/26/2011 11:05:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

....The only thing that was missing was Neil Young! I remember when the band would take a break and they would fire up the juke box how much I thought how good Neil would sound coming through those big speakers. If they only heard anything off of side A of 'American Stars'n Bars' or 'Hawks N Doves', it would have blown everybody away. So many times I wanted to bring my own copy's in but the fear that they just wouldn't get it over ruled my desire to be the one to introduce Neil to the 'Country Crowd'. The fact that Neil is so deeply rooted in country is no big secret. From the Buffalo Springfield days and his first solo effort (The Emperor of Wyoming, String Quartet from Whiskey Boot Hill)almost every album throughout his entire career had country elements. Even 'Trans' had Computer Cowboy. It wasn't until Harvest that he composed and recorded a country record with every intention by going to Nashville and hiring professional 'country' studio musicians resulting in what was probably one of the most influential 'country rock' albums, paving the way for such artists as the Eagles. When Neil released Old Ways in 85, critics and fans alike were convinced that Neil had finally found the direction that would set the course for the remainder of his career.That was the impression that I got from the interviews during that era. He was beginning to have issues with his hearing so it made sense that he might get away from the feedback drenched volume associated with the Crazy Horse shows.Almost overnight his politics started leaning a little to the right. He spoke fondly of Ronald Reagan and his policies.He spoke in less than flattering terms of ex- band mates as he did of C.S.&N. on the Ralph Emery Show.(Nashville Now). He found new friends in Waylon and Willie and others in the country community. Billy Talbot watched in horror and utter unbelief as Neil Performed at Live Aid with "that country band" instead of the "perfect opportunity" to show off Crazy Horse to the whole world. Yeah, I was sure convinced, as were many others, that Neil was going to ride this country thing into the sunset of his career. All of the pieces were in place and it all made perfect sense. After all, as water seeks it's own level, he had gone full circle, covered all of the bases musically and decided that country is where its at for him. The only thing we didn't count on? ... 'Landing On Water'

At 5/26/2011 11:24:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Hey Thrasher, It wasn't that I didn't have nothing to say, I was just getting a 'running start'! LOL!

At 5/27/2011 07:48:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature After the Flood said...

Neil has firm country roots, that's for sure.

Personally, I think Neil was just doing what came naturally for him. He was looking for change. He had a brand new baby. He needed to physically emerge himself into this "change." Make a break so to speak.

Going on Ralph Emery's show was a new beginning for him. It was his "swan song." But from an industry standpoint he was going from the frying pan into a boiling pot of water because no one is ever ready for the country.

The only thing more disfunctional than the rock'n'roll industry is the country music industry. Talk about hypocracy! Lord have mercy! They eat their children for supper!

At 5/27/2011 08:48:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

@BIGCHIEF - "now that they found themselves members of the so-called establishment that the message behind the music of the 60's encouraged them to rebel against"

That is spot-on and very well said. I think that statement is applicable on a number of different levels throughout our culture back then as it is today. After all, the left of the 60's have become the "leaders" of modern times. Did they get a true revolution? Please. Neil sensed the hypocrisy of it all and it came out on 'Revolution Blues' - and that was the early seventies.

By the early/mid-eighties, conservatism(Reagan) was the sweeping force moving across the land. Traditional values and genuine country music (as opposed to the pop rock garbage considered "country" today)fit right in with those times.

But then again, genuine country music always fits right in with American values - no matter what political winds happen to be popular at the moment.

Lord knows these days in modern America, the most rebellious political act one can take is to be a conservative. To turn one's back on the progressive movement of today is to stand firm in tradition and things like God, family, and country.

There's no doubt that Neil understands this. And much like Johnny Cash, he sees both sides of any and all issues, including politics and music. He can't be pigeon holed into a box or a label. That's why his support of Reagan was not surprising to me at all.

Genuine country music ('A Treasure'/'Old Ways') stands the test of does conservatism. It doesn't bend to the whimsical winds of any particular movement that happens to come along (Obama).

At 5/27/2011 08:52:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature Stuck inside a Mobile said...

Neil has firm country roots, that's for sure.

Personally, I think Neil was just doing what came naturally for him. He was looking for change. He had a brand new baby. He needed to physically immerse himself into "change." Walking on Ralph Emery's show was a new beginning. It was his current "swan song" to somebody. Final only for the person to whom it was directed.

But from an industry standpoint he was going from a frying pan into a pot of boiling water because no one is ever "ready for the country." It's like being ready for the Spanish Inquisition.

The only thing more disfunctional than rock'n'roll is country music. Talk about hypocracy! Lord have mercy! They eat their children for supper!

At 5/27/2011 09:03:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...


Genuine country music fits right in with the bullcrap American "values" - driven by the equally bullcrap political winds of the moment.

The political wind drives the bullshit and hypocracy of American values.

Where do you think rock'n'roll came from? Rock'n'roll rebels against the morality everyone preaches but nobody practices.

At 5/27/2011 11:24:00 AM, Blogger BecauseSoundMatters said...

Neil Young and the International Harvesters hit single Grey Riders is available on iTunes and Amazon!

MP3 never sounded better!!!


At 5/27/2011 11:42:00 AM, Blogger rrolandr1952 said...

I was there at Gilleys the night Neil performed.Like some of the other posters was right in the middle of the urban cowboy days.I had long hair in the seventies and I looked around at all the cowboys & cowgirls there in the rodeo arena and shook my head.God looked down & saw me in my Stetson,Wranglers & Tony Lamas and shook his head...DBTR was awesome...

At 5/27/2011 12:36:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Bigchief _ now we're talking! We'll have more later ...

At 5/27/2011 02:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

God looked down and asked, "Why would anyone want to dress up to look like a wife beating-deadbeat daddy drunken asshole."

At 5/27/2011 02:12:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Anon-you looking the mirror again?

At 5/27/2011 03:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most (not all) cowboys are deadbeat daddy drunks. The wives & kids live off of government help. I know. I married one and he turned out to be a no good SOB drunk just like his Daddy was. BTW yall look damn silly to the locals.

At 5/28/2011 01:55:00 PM, Blogger BecauseSoundMatters said...

We are all locals.

At 7/18/2011 11:16:00 AM, Blogger DOGMAN said...

I reviewed this album and gave comments about the history around the tracks. I love Grey Riders and Southern Pacific.


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