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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Comment of the Moment: Harvest & 40 Years Gone

The Comment of the Moment is from Neil Young Interview with Redbeard at In The Studio and the album Harvest after 40 years.

BIGCHIEF said...
Man, 40 yrs.

It's almost hard to fathom where time slips away to.

Neil sounds so modest as far as his influence on the shape of things to come with popular music in general after the release of this monumental recording. It opened the doors for many artists to add a little country flavor to their Rock-N-Roll while at the same time making country music more accessible to the mainstream listening audience. I had already been a fan of Neil''s since the day in 69 when my sister brought home Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.

However, it wasn't until the spring of 72 when I was laid up with a crushed foot that my friend at the time brought me his brothers Harvest LP to listen to that truly blew me away. I was just mesmerized by what I was listening to. I don't know what drew me to this new sound, but it was unlike anything I had ever heard yet familiar at the same time. One advantage was that I was able to crank it up a little louder in my room then was previously acceptable with my Black Sabbath and Alice Cooper records.

Even though my dad didn't know what to think of Neil's voice, there was something about the music that transcended musical boundaries. Well, the same thing that was happening in my home was happening around the globe.

Obviously it wasn't just a fluke for the record to go to number one that year, but after the success of Harvest, it became commonplace to hear a little peddle steel here or a fiddle there on R-N-R records everywhere. I wouldn't credit Neil for inventing country rock, but the magic of the sound that Neil captured on that record sure signified that it had arrived, crashing down the barriers between country and rock for ever more along with ensuring the sales of blue jeans and flannel shirts for at least another generation or two.

Thanks BIGCHIEF! Yes, 40 years later and where has it gone? Does time really fade away ever?


At 2/24/2012 10:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Friends

I clearly remember the day, for the first time in my life, I heard that beautiful sound. I was 15 and I was playing basketball at school. At one point, from not too far, I heard a wonderful sound with very sweet chords. There was a friend of mine with an old Philips (one button) tape recorder playing, very close to the basketball court (what I discover then be)'out on the week-end'.From that very moment onward I could not even play well because I was really distracted by that incredible music!
It was like discovering a total new world. It was the very first time I listened to Neil Young.The very next day I bought that record and from that day all the others.
cheers from Italy

At 2/24/2012 04:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not forget that this is also the 20th anniversary of 'Harvest Moon', Neil's best-selling album of the last 25 years.


At 2/25/2012 01:47:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

The more I listen to Harvest, the more I'm given over to the production and total sonic absorption, courtesy of Elliott Mazer. Every note and every moment has the unique Harvest feel.

Over the past couple of months, I've been listening a lot to Ghost Stories, another album that Elliott produced. It's the last album by The Dream Syndicate and it's monumental in scope and vision.

The last half--the second side of the LP--starts with the best version I've ever heard of See That My Grave Is Kept Clean, and then just gets better from there with I Have Faith, Someplace Better Than This, Black and then the ultimate last song for a band to end their last album with...When The Curtain Falls. Amazing, unbelievable music folks and a perfect bookend to Harvest.

At 2/28/2012 11:49:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I don't know enough about the technical aspects of music, and which came first, and how this influenced that in terms of musical trends, and which people in the studio were most instrumental in putting it all together. I think that Neil was just open to it all, and motivated by his early "country" influences, and maybe a little determined, too. It was his decision to record in Nashville, after all, and let anyone into the sessions that might steer things toward "country"- and what a decision, we got Ben Keith in the bargain.

I just remember an unseasonably sunny day, holed up in the den listening to the newly purchased album “over and over” on my Dad's stereo system, letting the whole thing just soak into me. Late in the day even my sister was drawn in when she heard A Man Needs A Maid outside the door, asking in an amazed tone "what is this?" A couple days later I signed up for guitar lessons because I wanted to be able to play Needle And The Damage Done. I lasted three or four weeks before I realized I wasn't going to be able to just start playing it right away, it was gonna take practice. Oh well, a few months later I dragged my friends to Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit to see my first concert- Neil and the Stray Gators. An incredible first half of one acoustic number after another, with Neil sitting on a stool wearing a bright red Skull cap, and a desultory drug tinged electric second half- or maybe it had something to do with bad vibes in the band, whatever, I don’t know, but a bad vibe hung over the whole thing like a cloud, that’s for sure. But as long as I live I will never forget the opening line to the opening number- "When the dream came...", or the stand out Don’t Be Denied. Funny too, even at that early stage I remember the peanut gallery bitching about Neil not playing the songs from Harvest enough- too much “new” stuff.

I could go on and on down memory lane, but like Big Chief I'm a little more focused on how forty years just seems to have come and gone so fast, and how pleased I am that Neil hasn’t gone the way of Greatest Hits territory, and nostalgia concerts. It’s still more about what’s happening right now (need we look beyond this simple factor to embrace the fact that we might not get another Buffalo Springfield get together?), even for all the need to look back now and then and ruminate over the perspective of vast experience, paeans to kindred spirits, and an unwieldy song catalogue. Still, as a wise man once wrote, memory is prismatic, and I can still feel like I was just at that concert, still feel the music wafting over me in my Dad's den, still see the exasperated expressions on my friends and family's faces when I couldn't shut up about Neil.

I sometimes fall for the old “Wish I could do it all again, knowing what I know now” bit, and just as quickly catch myself before going too far down that dead end street. But when it comes to Neil? I'd do it all over again, just the way I remember it- well, maybe I’d have stuck with the guitar lessons...

A Friend Of Yours

At 3/01/2012 01:07:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

...and maybe then the six o'clock alarm would never ring

rip david


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