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Friday, July 08, 2011

Review of the Moment: Neil Young's A Treasure "A genre unto itself"

The Review of the Moment of Neil Young's A Treasure is from by Robert Clark Young:
I've been left with two things from that Neil Young show of twenty-seven years ago: hot lava-like musical memories; and a scratchy bootleg a fellow fan sent me in 2003.

But this month I have a new experience to add to that old experience:

Neil has released his own reminiscence of that tour, A Treasure, the latest album in the Performance Series from his Archives project. It would be a mistake to call this album country music, although it is country music; it would be a mistake to call it country rock, although it is country rock; it would be a mistake to call it folk rock, although it is folk rock; and it would be a mistake to call it hard rock, although it is hard rock.

The man who made this record is famous for defying all labels, so let's just call it the music of Neil Young, a genre unto himself.

Read the full wonderfully evocative and in depth 9 page review at

Thanks RCY!

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At 7/09/2011 03:59:00 AM, Blogger peter said...

Great review, great storytelling, thanks for that. My favourite line:
"The man who made this record is famous for defying all labels, so let's just call it the music of Neil Young, a genre unto himself."

That's one big thing that's been amazing to me: Neil effortlessly hopping from one genre to another, album by album, band by band, tour by tour, or song by song. Music, that's his genre. He lives it.
Last week I watched an excerpt from Rock in Rio Madrid: No Hidden Path. Twenty eight minutes of… well, I would definitely call it jazz.: there's a theme played at the start of the song, the band plays it a couple of times with Neil singing the verses and then Neil starts to shred the theme apart, turn it inside out, beats it to pieces, does everything the muse leads him to do. Amazing and unparalleled.
I saw this tour in Amsterdam and had the same experience during NHP. You just stand there and become one with the sounds.
When it was over I couldn't help but think: as a guitarist, Neil has walked down Jimi Hendrix's path and has arrived into the jazz world.

At 7/10/2011 12:36:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Great article that brings back a lot of great memories for me. It's also strangely comforting to know that as much of a NY fanatic as I have been for 42 years, I never sang out loud at any of the 35+ concerts I attended, and am glad that I never had to sit next to a guy like this. I could never understand anyone not sitting there in rapt attention, but I guess there's all degrees of fanaticism.

I saw the Harvesters twice, once at Meadowbrook outside Detroit, and the Austin City performance on TV when I lived in NYC. I'll never forget how much of a pleasant surprise it was to turn the TV on and happen upon such a comforting moment. I just can't remember which I saw first, but I'm thinking it must have been Austin City because I was surprised by his get up, although who knows, at Meadowbrook he might have been dressed sans the country persona.

Anyways, I have some great song memories, including Down By The River from Austin City, but my favorites were Nothing Is Perfect, and Gray Riders which he did as an encore (neither of which I had heard before), and left us with a cryptic comment about how the song might end up on an album. As has already been noted it did, just many years after I stopped looking for it to.

I agree with Peter that the "genre unto himself" quote is very telling- and probably a great way of stopping in its tracks the annoyingly obligatory first several paragraphs that every NY review or retrospective seemingly must start out with, explaining in painfully simplistic terms Neils "genre hopping". Neil is Neil, just stop, o.k.? I would just add that the companion annoyingly obligatory commentary as regards the non "polished" nature of the music could also be stopped in its tracks with this quote that ends the article. Good stuff:

"Over the years, instead of going for the polish, Neil Young has harvested hurricanes and tempests of every circular and straightforward meteorological description, and he has unleashed them upon himself and unleashed them upon the seas and the landscapes of music, which they have perpetually changed. A Treasure is one such storm."

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