Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Monday, October 10, 2011

Southern Soul for Southern Man: Merry Clayton

Merry Clayton covers Neil Young's "Southern Man" on YouTube.

And you say who is Merry Clayton???

Clayton sang back up vocals on Neil Young's "Old Laughing Lady".

Also, Clayton was the intensely female vocal on the Rolling Stones original version of "Gimme Shelter". And, she was one of the original Rayettes (Ray Charles female backup singers).

Merry Clayton's was brilliant on The Who's "Tommy" soundtrack on "The Acid Queen" with symphony orchestra backing.

And, she sang backup on Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama", that song that some think"put Ol' Neil down".

Southern soul for a southern man from a southern woman.

Timeline from Anon comment:

1969 - Merry Clayton recorded The Old Laughing Lady and I Loved Her So Long with Neil Young

1971 - Merry Clayton recorded Southern Man as a solo artist

1974 - Merry Clayton recorded Sweet Home Alabama with Lynyrd Skynyrd

And, so why exactly might a southern black woman cover a white Canadian man's ode to racism in the Confederate south again, now anyhow?


At 10/11/2011 01:52:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post T.
Love her voice on Neil's first solo album and I am glad to hear that she even sounds better on the remastered version. The duet with MJ on Gimme Shelter is timeless.

Here's another great song she sings on:

At 10/11/2011 04:06:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you search youtube you'll find early U2 overing "Souther man" not miss it.

At 10/11/2011 07:16:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

What a giant let down on that "here's another great song she sings on."

Here's a little cold water of reality to wash off that snark.

Didn't you hear about it?

At 10/11/2011 07:25:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Sweet Home Alabama Goes Hollywood:

At 10/11/2011 08:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks to Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd was inspired to write the song "Sweet Home Alabama".

At 10/11/2011 08:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Clayton recorded Southern Man in 1971

Sweet Home Alabama is from 1974

So Ronnie probably knew she recorded the song...

Since she has both worked with the Rolling Stones and Neil Young could it be possible that she was a friend of Jack Nitzsche? He might have introduced her to Neil for the Neil Young album. Or was it Ry Cooder? She also sings backing vocals on "I've loved her so long".

At 10/11/2011 09:56:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

Well, her brother rolled in on that second wave as the percussionist for Little Feat. It's possible Ben knew the family, too, back in the "studio days."

At 10/11/2011 10:15:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But Neil didn't know Ben back in 1969...

At 10/11/2011 10:32:00 AM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...


"Southern Man" put Neil out there like Dylan when he wrote "Hattie Carroll."

It's likely Ms. Clayton came across it and said, "This song really tells it like it is!" and added it to her collection of songs.

All you mofo fools talking about "Sweet Home Alabama" are talking about something different entirely.

At 10/11/2011 10:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Somebody has to post on TW this:neil young like a hurricane's a pearl on youtube

At 10/11/2011 10:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1969 - Merry Clayton recorded The Old Laughing Lady and I Loved Her So Long with Neil Young

1971 - Merry Clayton recorded Southern Man as a solo artist

1974 - Merry Clayton recorded Sweet Home Alabama with Lynyrd Skynyrd

At 10/11/2011 01:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pearl Jam
Acoustic 'Better Man' at Bridge School

All the proceeds will go the Bridge School charity.

At 10/11/2011 02:22:00 PM, Anonymous Your Mother Should Know ... said...

There is nothing glorious or redeeming even today about this history of racism in "Sweet Home Alabama" beginning with the flaunting of a Confederate Flag today which is like waving a Nazi Flag at a Jewish Harvest Festival.

To me, "Sweet Home Alabama" is a anthem glorifying the atrocities committed against slaves and their ancestors. It's something that I always felt deep down inside when I heard that song. It's something I can't shake.

A comeback line like "Southern Man don't need him around anyhow" may have been done in good fun, but at whose expense?

I think Lynard Skynard were pretty damn arrogent to put that in their song. I don't care if Sammmy Davis sang it.

Why would anyone want to poke fun at a reference made about Jewish suffering?

At 10/11/2011 04:40:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

I never believed that Neil and Ronnie were ever 'friends'. I think that Neil was just being modest at best when he complimented the song and said he thought it was cool when he heard his name dropped in it. What was he supposed to say? Surviving members of Skynyrd have said that they were fans of Neil, but inciting your audience to a near frenzy like Ronnie would do when he would sing those lyrics "southern man don't need you around anyhow" is a rather strange way of expressing your admiration for a fellow artist!

At 10/11/2011 04:58:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

I agree with you, MNOTR. Neil never tried to spin the meaning behind the lyrics of Southern Man or Alabama. He just put it out there and dealt with the consequences as they came along. There was a period where he even had to avoid touring in the 'deep south' because of death threats and hatred in general mostly fueled by Skynyrds song. As you said, Sweet Home Alabama' was Ronnie Van Zants answer to both of Neils songs and his defense of the old 'Deep Souths' twisted ways. It's nothing more than a racial anthem disquised as a catchy southern rock song. And I know, as they always do, that someone will respond in Skynyrds defense with 'The Ballad Of Curtis Lowe'. That doesn't change the intent behind the song Sweet Home Alabama.

At 8/16/2013 03:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen the new documentary on back up singers called 20 Feet From Stardom? In it, Merry Clayton speaks about recording "Sweet Home Alabama". From what I could gather, she was talking about the irony of recording a song that praised Alabama during a time of such civil unrest. Personally, I've never understood the song to be racist. If anything, it's pretty clear that Van Zant was against George Wallace. Thus, the lines, "in Alabama they love the Governor, boo hoo hoo". At least that's the way I've always understood it.


Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

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

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

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

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

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
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"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

europe 1987.jpg

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