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Sunday, April 01, 2012

Behind The Scenes at the "Americana" Album Playback Session

Americana by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

The upcoming album "Americana" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse is already
highly anticipated and early first listen reports sound promising.

In another Thrasher's Wheat exclusive, an unpublished transcript of the "Americana" album playback session offers us a rare, behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the music industry.

The following transcript is from the "Americana" album playback session which took place at Warner Music Group (WMG) headquarters in Los Angeles, CA in late January. In attendance were Neil Young and his band Crazy Horse with Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina and Poncho Sampedro, Elliot Roberts (Young's Manager), and much of Warner Music Group's executive management team including Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer), Todd Moscowitz (Co-President and CEO), Livia Tortella (Co-President and COO), Paul M. Robinson (General Counsel) and Will Tanous (Executive Vice President, Communications & Marketing).



Album music fades out.

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): OK. Well. Thanks guys. That all sounded rather ... uh ... spirited.

So let me get this straight. These are all old folk songs that you've re-arranged?

Neil Young: That's right. They're all classic Americana -- or folk -- songs that I brought my band in to record on. It seemed that if I was gonna get back with Crazy Horse, going back to our roots seemed like a good place to start re-grouping.

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): It's been awhile since you guys were in the studio together, right?

Neil Young: Yeah, a few years but it didn't take long to catch stride with the boys. Heh.

Elliot Roberts (Young's Manager): The last studio track Neil and Crazy Horse recorded together was back in 2003 on the "Are You Passionate" album. On, on, uhh... which track was that guys?

unintelligible cross-talk
(either Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina and Poncho Sampedro - Band Crazy Horse?): "Goin' Home"

Todd Moscowitz (Co-President and CEO): Right. OK, fine. I guess I was expecting to hear more ... more... more of that grungey-style Crazy Horse sound?

I mean was that a children's choir on one of the tracks? That was a children's choir I heard wasn't it? Towards the end?

Neil Young: Yeah, on “This Land Is Your Land” we thought we needed to add something special for Woody.

Livia Tortella (Co-President and COO): Woody?

Neil Young: Yeah, Woody. Woody, right. Woody Guthrie.


Livia Tortella (Co-President and COO): Woody Guthrie. Right. Of course. Some sort of tribute to his 100th birthday, maybe?

Neil Young: Not really. I just liked the song. That's all.

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): Let's get back to these tracks for a minute. So all of these songs were written by others? Did you write any of these Neil?

Neil Young: Nope.

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): So Paul. What kind of copyright and licensing issues do we have here? Are these all public domain?

Paul M. Robinson (General Counsel): All of the songs are in the public domain.

Todd Moscowitz (Co-President and CEO): So the label will not be obligated to pay royalties, publishing fees, etc?

Paul M. Robinson (General Counsel): That's right.

Livia Tortella (Co-President and COO): Now this is starting to make sense.

Todd Moscowitz (Co-President and CEO): Nice job Neil. Thanks.


Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): Alright. So what else? Let's take a look at the album cover.

What are we looking at here? This looks like you've taken some old photo and slapped the bands faces on top?

What's that all about?

Elliot Roberts (Young's Manager): You want me to answer, Neil?

Neil Young: You can try.

Elliot Roberts (Young's Manager): What you're looking at is actually the cover to an album that Neil planned to hand in during the 1970's but never got around to finishing.

Todd Moscowitz (Co-President and CEO): What album was that?

Neil Young: Shit. Got me. Homegrown? Chrome Dreams? Ride My Llama? Just found it when we were cleaning the warehouse after the fire. Seemed pretty cool.

Tom Wilkes designed it.

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): Oh, the guy who did your Harvest cover, right?

Neil Young: Yeah. Tom passed away a year or so ago. Seemed like a nice way to honor his memory.

Livia Tortella (Co-President and COO):
This seems to have been an old photo of some Native American Indians?

Neil Young: That's Geronimo driving a car back in around 1905. The car is called a Locomobile.

Get it? Loco? Crazy. As in .... nevermind.

Livia Tortella (Co-President and COO)
: Oh, those are your faces! Ok, that's you Neil Young. And which one is you?

Billy Talbot (Crazy Horse, bass): I'm Geronimo.

unintelligible cross-talk

Ralph Molina (Crazy Horse, drums): That's me in the head dress.

Poncho Sampedro (Crazy Horse, guitar): I just got the feather.

unintelligible cross-talk

Livia Tortella (Co-President and COO): But seriously for a moment guys.

Have you considered the implications here?

It seems you're taking some artistic liberties with a Native American icon.

What are the ramifications of this Paul?

Paul M. Robinson (General Counsel) We looked into this. As everyone well knows, Native American icons have been exploited in all forms and fashions for sometime. Look at all the sports teams using Native American imagery. Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians. My lord, look at the travesty of the football team Washington Redskins' franchise name.

If this country can tolerate a sports team with a name like Redskins, it can certainly tolerate a Neil Young album taking some artistic license with Native American imagery.

WMG Legal sees no issues with this cover.

Livia Tortella (Co-President and COO): Good. We certainly don't need some faux uproar over an album cover with some outraged minority group right now.

Neil Young: Geez.

unintelligible cross-talk

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): And these lyrics here? American folk songs. What could go wrong? This seems like a safe play. Wouldn't you agree Paul?

Paul M. Robinson (General Counsel) We looked into this. Legal has cleared all of the lyrics as being public domain. These songs have been performed many, many thousands of times over the decades and in some cases, centuries.

Now that said, we did research each song and legal did come back with some findings that everyone needs to be aware of.

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): Such as?

Paul M. Robinson (General Counsel) Let's take "Oh, Susannah". This song written by Stephen Foster was originally performed on September 11, 1847. The Americana version was arranged with a new melody by Tim Rose and was originally performed by The Big Three in 1963, and updated by Tim Rose and the Thorns in 1964.

That said, "Oh Susanna" was initially a hateful white supremacist song sometimes performed in blackface and mocking African-American slave history. The version that we just heard - fortunately -- omits lyrics from the stanza which would be considered highly offensive.

Neil Young: Are you guys serious?! We played this at the Bridge School last year with Dave Matthews. The crowd loved it. No one said a single word about this song being controversial until just now.

Paul M. Robinson (General Counsel) OK. OK. I'm just trying to protect the company here. We need to consider these things.

We would definitely recommend that the song "Oh, Susannah" be dropped from the album because of the racial undertones.

Neil Young: Drop it?!

Now hold on here.

Is it really my, or any artist's "responsibility" to either the song, history or the music fan, to adhere to or at least reference or explain the original purpose of a piece of music, and the political, social or spiritual climate of its time, in some way, so that the authenticity and history of something isn't lost or disrespected?

Do we owe it to the song, the song's author or the music fan to prostrate ourselves before the energy that created that piece of music and deliver it into the 21st century in a way that retains, and even helps to convey or preserve a clear idea of the song and its history? Or, more importantly, to not undermine reality or contribute to confusing, or even rewriting, history?

Elliot Roberts (Young's Manager): Neil. Easy, now.

Neil Young: Shut up Elliot. Let me finish.

My responsibility as an artist isn't for some kind of historical or social accuracy, or toward supporting a certain political identification. My responsibility as an artist isn't simply to do something that could be perceived as insulting to those of us with touchy emotional triggers about American Indians, the dark history of Colonial America, or the authenticity of music history.

That's the job of historians. It is the job of artists to paint the sky with beauty, not to write history books.

Livia Tortella (Co-President and COO): Neil, we understand where you're coming from on this.

Truly. We do.

But you can't be politically correct by whitewashing an important aspect of an Americana folk song that became popular because it dehumanized blacks. It's who we use to be as a country like it or not. It's part of our collective experience as Americans. Do we take responsibility for this history by acknowledging it? Sharing it? Singing it? Or do we wash it away by ignoring the folk history?

By ignoring the folk history behind the song, we're denying Americans their own history of struggle and triumph overcoming racial stereotypes and bigotry.

Neil Young: Look, I've explored American history many times in my songs.

Take "Pocahontas". Politically correct?! Historically accurate??

Do you think we had this conversation with Mo and Joe?

Hell no.

Or "Peaceful Valley Boulevard". Did we have this conversation?

Maybe you realize that "Peaceful Valley Boulevard" explored the relationships between scenes of early American settlers, this time being attacked and massacred by Indians, and how the brutality of ignorance, selfishness and fear have translated from one time period to another?

From the peaceful valley to Peaceful Valley Boulevard, again crass American materialism sucking the life out of something beautiful and natural and turning it into something lifeless, meaningless and culturally or spiritually dead.

Were either of those songs really "accurate" in some important historical sense? Politically correct?

Certainly they make references to terrible things that happened, in a general way, in the history of early America, and convey very poignantly the sense of hopelessness as industry and materialism annihilate the beauty of the world, which is all very important and meaningful...

Altering things is as much a part of art as anything else, and in fact, throughout history, art has served as a vehicle for re-imagining things. And while the artist has every right to be as accurate as he or she wants, the very nature of artistic license makes it unnecessary to do so.

Billy Talbot (Crazy Horse, bass): It's just not the purpose or responsibility of art to define history.

Ralph Molina (Crazy Horse, drums): If we perceived art to have that kind of responsibility, it would serve only to undermine the very free-flowing expressions and nature of art itself.

Poncho Sampedro (Crazy Horse, guitar): Is it really necessary for an artist like Neil to cater to everyone’s sensitivities?

Altering a historical photograph is an artistic statement, not a historical statement. Is it necessary for an artist to say, “This is Americana and that is not Americana” in some sort of agreed-upon way because of some kind of universal social agreement that we have?

Neil is not a historian.

If he says God Save the Queen and Gallows Pole are going to appear on his “Americana” album, then well, dammit, that’s what he’s gonna do. It doesn’t invalidate the record, the music, or anything he’s doing. At all.

Neil Young: And as far as bigotry goes, I think we can all pretty much see the reality that Oh Susanna is always going to exist. It is a part of the lexicon of music from which America was born.

Elliot Roberts (Young's Manager): Neil does not have to answer to anyone else’s sensitivities, and that’s not only his right as an artist, but it’s absolutely necessary. If Neil gave in to everyone’s sensitivities throughout his career, would half of his music even exist, and would the other half be nearly as good?

Neil Young: Shut up Elliot.

Guys, there's a reason we sometimes call you guys record company clowns and suits. It's this type of lyrical analysis bullshit. You're almost as bad as some of my fans who chatter, twitter and blog over everything in microscopic detail. You guys way over-analyze everything.

It's all one song, for god's sake.

Unidentified Voice: Well, these are multi layered questions that require multi layered answers, but I think that like anything in life it’s a double edge sword.

A “one size fits all racial stereotype” cuts both ways.

Like all peoples, Native Americans were widely diverse and unique from each other, both geographically and culturally. Too often we “worship and respect” a wisdom and way of life that we attribute to Native American culture as a rule, without also acknowledging that conflict and subjugation existed there as well. I don’t know that indigenous cultures were obliterated for purposes of entertainment tho, so much as the white culture just wanted its own way to their detriment, to say the least. I think that many of us feel a “sense of hopelessness as industry and materialism annihilate the beauty of the world”,

The only thing that we can be guilty about as a people is to ignore or excuse away the lessons of the past, and fail to utilize them in avoiding the same thing in the future. Art “needn’t reflect” the past, but it is one of many ways that we can, but even the attempt is dependent on the audience. Somehow we have to create the awareness in ourselves, and a discussion like this is a good start.

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): Well, that was deep.

So are we finished here?

Will Tanous (Executive Vice President, Communications & Marketing): Rob, we haven't discussed promotion, marketing, tours, etc yet.

Todd Moscowitz (Co-President and CEO): OK, how are we going to market a bunch of old folk songs? Who is the target market for this album?

Neil Young: C'mon Elliot, guys. Let's go.

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): Wait Neil. Elliot. Guys. Hold on.

Look we know you're pissed off.

We just want to make sure we give your album a fair shot.

Let us get back with you.

We think there's something here we can work with.

Will, take this back to marketing. Let's come up with some new cover art. Maybe drop that "Susannah" song. And how about we add in one of those grungy Crazy Horse songs. Don't you have some unreleased stuff somewhere?

Maybe that album... what was it? Toasted or something?

Wait, wait Neil.

Before you go. We wanted to ask about the Archives.

Neil Young: What about it? You'll get it when it's ready.

Rob Cavallo (WMG’s Chief Creative Officer): How about that old unreleased live album "Times That Do Fade Away"? Can we get that going?

Seriously. You know, fans have been petitioning for its release for years now. Tens of thousands of signatures for its release.

Why not?

Neil Young: As far as I'm concerned, I'll never, ever re-release "Time Fades Away". I put it out on vinyl. It's out there. And if I ever do re-release "Time Fades Away" it'll only be on vinyl.


Good day.


Unidentified Voice: Damn. Now what?

Will Tanous (Executive Vice President, Communications & Marketing): I guess it's a good thing we didn't bring up the focus group results on the album title feedback.

I still think this title is going to hurt us on international sales, especially Europe.

Any chance we can ask Neil for a title change? Something more catchy?

Unidentified Voice: Hey, turn that off...



Thanks to the hands on Ranch Crew for sharing this transcript. Definitely insightful.

"Americana" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse is set for release June 5th (#231 in music pre-orders).

More on the controverseries surrounding the upcoming album Americana by Neil Young & Crazy Horse.

ps - Happy ARC Day!


At 4/01/2012 12:38:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Almost as good as the interview with Elliot from last year, but perhaps too ambitious :)

Given the momentum that le noise generated, I sure hope this thing doesn't suck.... I'l never forget the night that the video for le noise just sorta showed up, unexpectedly, and reminded me why I continue to travel on this journey with Neil...

At 4/01/2012 05:18:00 AM, Anonymous Matt said...

I know who this post is aimed at!

At 4/01/2012 05:19:00 AM, Blogger astrololee said...

hahahhahaha...Its Neil and we will accept it now matter what because its how he wants it to be.
Thrasher as this " rush transcript" has come out on April Fools day bet Neil is laughing still at an industry that still does not get him!!!
Just loved it! Oh Susannah, bring it on!

At 4/01/2012 07:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, are these people for real?

That Livia, really knows her music history eh?

Great read though, but by that final part with all the begging started me thinking it was an april fools joke. I mean seriously they asked him to release TFA? Who are thes people?
The nerve to ask him to change his art, and then they were just waiting to beg him for more of the past?



At 4/01/2012 07:33:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

HAppy ARC Day to you too Thrasher!!! Who Knew that Pancho had so much to say! Thanks for sharing the "inside" information. ROTFLMAO!!

Chuck Naughton

At 4/01/2012 09:27:00 AM, Anonymous Peter van der Heide said...


At 4/01/2012 09:30:00 AM, Blogger mark said...

............ April 1 ......... good one, Thrasher !!~

At 4/01/2012 10:13:00 AM, Anonymous LRR said...

Happy April Fool's (ARC) Day! Nice one...though, when I remembered what day it was and I looked at the title of the post, I decided not to read it :-)

At 4/01/2012 10:33:00 AM, Anonymous Home on the Range said...

Well played.

At 4/01/2012 10:41:00 AM, Blogger Jill said...

I laughed my socks off when I remembered the date half way through...excellent piece Thrasher, I love it!! Nice.

At 4/01/2012 10:55:00 AM, Blogger philnovo said...

I'm surprised there was no mention of the expanded rerelease of Landing on Water with the extra track cover of Walk Like an Egyptian.

At 4/01/2012 11:09:00 AM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Well, uh, this was all sounding a little too plausible for comfort, but then it started to sound a little too familiar, and uh, at one particular point, a little too canned... It was only then that I was relieved to remember what day it is. It's been a while since I laughed out loud, I think it was the last time I watched some old Marx Brothers YouTube videos.

Thank God nothing like this has ever actually taken place...

A Friend Of Yours

At 4/01/2012 12:19:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

'We got Mother Nature On The Run at the office of Reprise'

At 4/01/2012 12:28:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Hey, Thrasher! 'Happy April Fool's Day / Arc Day'! In the unfortunate event that any 'Rustie' may encounter today regarding noise ordinances and insulting non-rustie sensibilities, contact ARC DAY LEGAL DEFENSE FUND.ORG There will be attorneys available through out the day to assist you in your legal defense matters.

At 4/01/2012 01:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOL ( I really love this! Encore!) It's a play, a comic book, and movie all rolled into one!

Buy hey, no one is saying it's the artist responsibility to define anything or cater to anyone sensibilities.

It just so happens that the preservation of human history served as a muse for many artists. I can name at least a thousand but here are just a few -- Polyclitus of Argos, Rodin, Chagall, Rothko, Guthrie, Dylan, Mitchell.

I don't see how anyone can go back to roots of American folk music and not hear or not be inspired by the human history that created the folk song.

Only person missing is the super expletive attributives from our dear brother, Flounder (Pinto?).

Back to the garden,
Mother Nature on the Run

At 4/01/2012 01:40:00 PM, Blogger Tweck9 said...

Ha ha ha ha! I actually bought this until the discussion started getting a little too familiar. lolol!!

Great job, Thrash.

At 4/01/2012 01:45:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Actually, Greg, I'm sure meetings like this were probably commonplace during the 'Geffen Years'!

At 4/01/2012 01:45:00 PM, Blogger Paul T said...

Brilliant! Well played sir! But wait, did you just equate us hard core fans to the record company clowns?!? Too funny! Happy Arc Day.

At 4/01/2012 02:31:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/01/2012 08:23:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

It's called a white man's privilege using humor to deflect any direct responsibility for dehumanizing people and their history. It's what we did back than and apparently it's what we continue to do even in 2012. Hope this album gives that down payment you need for whatever.

Rock on, guys.

At 4/01/2012 09:17:00 PM, Anonymous it's just woody said...

Perhaps if "Oh Susannah" proves too edgy, they will substitute "Horse With No Name" since they are going back to their roots and all, just sayin,

At 4/01/2012 09:46:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

"Shut Up, Elliot"!, LOL!

At 4/01/2012 11:23:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

LOL They can sing "Oh Susannah" until all the cows come home. I won't be singing along which is a good thing because I can't sing.

On the other hand, they did omit critical information for whatever reasons:

1. not important enough;
2. too controversial;
3. politically incorrect;
4) didn't know

"This song written by Stephen Foster premiered on September 11, 1847 in blackface as part of a Minstrel Show. The Americana version was arranged with a new melody by Tim Rose and was originally performed by The Big Three in 1963, and updated by Tim Rose and the Thorns in 1964."

Just a stupid question. Is it possible that Tim arranged a new melody to shed the old racism and bigotry of "Oh Susanna?" Maybe there was a reason why they changed the title to the "Banjo Song" as it was in the middle of the Civil Rights movement. Maybe I'm not the only one who knew that knew Stephen Foster made a living writing minstrel shows for blackface comedy.

At 4/01/2012 11:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MNOTR, the only point I can get from 2 weeks of your posts is that you want people to know that you wikipediaed the song "oh suzanna" and found out what its origins are. Other than that, I have really no idea what repeating the same point over and over again is, and why you would not listen to the song because of that. America has a less than perfect history? Duh. Neil needs to tell me that? no. If he chooses to, which he has a number of times, then fine. You are aware that plenty of art has changed and been reinterpreted over the years, right? Do you also get mad when Neil plays acoustic versions of Cowgirl because the "original intent" was for it to be a raucous jam?

At 4/02/2012 12:51:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Actually I figured it out in 1963. I'm not sure what you mean by plenty of art has changed and is reinterpreted. How do you change or reinterpret Mona lisa? Old diary found in divinci's desk? There is some risk in changing and reinterpreting like with songs. Neil was very successful at it. I do recall hearing Maggie's farm in calypso by Bob Dylan. I was pretty high but sure enough it was calypso beat. Is that what you mean?

At 4/02/2012 03:09:00 AM, Blogger Thos said...

MNOTR: we started our discussion because I accused you of trying to guilt-trip people who don't share your beliefs, which you denied.

But with your constant talk of ''white mans privilege'' and sarcastic comments such as ''Hope this album gives you that downpayment you need'' it is clear that you are still trying to make people feel guilty for being white and for not wanting to spend many hours delving into a past which is long gone.

This is a fan site for a musician we admire, and while I have enjoyed the debating for a while, your continuing pessimism is actually starting to rankle now.

The buildup to an albums release is part of the fun, and it is getting spoilt. I am fed up of feeling criticised for being a White male whose country has a queen. If anything, it is you who is being racist here.


At 4/02/2012 07:31:00 AM, Blogger peter d. said...

@Thos: agree completely, visiting this site is no fun anymore.

@Archives Guy: please don't wait any longer and let us hear the first song as promised... this community can't hold out much longer without falling apart!
Probably the music will release us from this.

At 4/02/2012 07:41:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

Great expose Thrasher, I knew you'd be up to something. Now, where's those 16 versions of Heart of Gold?

And to weigh on on this heavy subject, I can tell you all that the vesion of Oh Susanna played at the Bridge show and will be on this album rocked my F-in socks off from the first I had heard it. I learned how to play it by the next day and it STILL is blowing me away every time I play it. It's an incredible read and interpretation of the old 'kindergarden' song we heard long ago. IT's FUN for crying out load, that's what the music is for.

Yeah, sometimes it's to tell a story, or to lament, to praise, or pour out what you can't say. But by using a rearrangement of something already known the song takes on new vibe and new feel. THAT's what I'm into about Neil Young - the VIBE and the FEELING, not the politco bullshirt worn out among the dearly debated. I can respect anyone's position who doesn't agree with it, but to each their own in this land of opportunity. Afterall, it's only music. Here's hoping the rest of Americana will impact us the same.

At 4/02/2012 08:10:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

The really sad element here is that just a short time ago, after years of devoted effort, Thrasher was personally recognized and thanked by the great man himself. I remember sending you a congratulatory email. You must, I said, have been so proud... And now, in a couple short weeks, you have squandered every bit of that goodwill.
By letting a misguided individual drone on endlessly, parroting rhetoric that was old in the 60s, pedantically lecturing Neil as if he were a high school freshman, you have, by your silence, put yourself squarely in the camp of your "four per centers" that you endlessly railed against a couple years ago.
If I'm Neil Young, I'm shaking my head in disgust and disbelief.

At 4/02/2012 08:41:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

So no one thinks that the reason why Tim Rose "re-arranged" the old song reintroducing it as the "Banjo Song" (singing it with Cass Elliott) was because in 1963 it still had a lot of the racist and bigot references in it?

At 4/02/2012 09:25:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks folks for the feedback on our little April Fool's fun.

Actually, this is something we kind of look fwd to. When we started thinking about this we had a few ideas we were tossing around here. Thrashette liked the idea of spoofing some outrageous Jimmy Fallon impersonation.

Which we were going to go with until it this whole Americana "politically correct folk songs" meme took ahold.

We realize all are not pleased with the way these threads have unraveled. We learned a thing or 2 as we're sure many others did as well. So its a little hard to get heavy handed when civil dialogue ensues.

As everyone knows, we do have a Comments Policy which brings its own challenges.

Short of a new commenting system with advanced functionality, we don't see how we could have handled this differently. But we're always open to suggestion.

If you were the TW comments admin, what would you have done?


At 4/02/2012 09:55:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

I know I wouldn't bow to the laws of the thought police, that's for sure!

All is fine from my viewpoint T - with everyone voicing what they feel. Yeah, we can disagree about what Neil is doing, but he's DOING IT! Controversy is his middle name, not Percival. It'd be a sad day when an announcement of a new Neil Young Album didn't bring what he's brought the last 10 years, or 40 years for that matter.

He can't, won't be tamed. That's why he's Neil and we're just little Neilheads looking for more. He's the wildest, most imaginitive artist ever. A pinball in the arcade game of stationary posts.

At 4/02/2012 10:09:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks SONY.

Very appropriate.

We guess another funny thing about all of this is how often Neil gets criticized for doing -- or not doing -- something. All of which fits perfectly into the unpredictable patterns.

So for those that "get" Neil, this inconsistency is accepted.

Likewise, when we're inconsistent on something, folks can get perturbed. We just say change your mind.

From LWW:
"I join the multitudes
I raise my hand in peace
I never bow to the laws of the thought police"

At 4/02/2012 10:12:00 AM, Blogger Dan1 said...

I've been as annoyed as the rest of the folks here on the blog seeing it hijacked for the purpose of relentlessly pushing a political agenda and agree its not at all what we come to TW for ... that said, I think its a bit harsh to blame Thrasher who is trying to be respectful of free speech and civil dialog ... once again he's in the toughest spot, running the site, putting in the selfless hours, taking financial responsibility, creating great content, and making sure everyone plays nicely in the sandbox ... the difference here from the past was that then the negative comments came from anons and they were non-civil and simply trying to be destructive, to put down Neil, destroy TW and this community ... here I think expressing an opinion in a thoughtful way is not unreasonable, the question is one of repetition, 'ie' how many times can something political or negative be expressed before it crosses the line in hijacking the site and interfering with the Neil related banter everyone is coming to engage in ... I'm sensing from the comments a lot of people feel like for them that line has been crossed and I feel a bit that way too ... one suggestion is that maybe there can be a separate thread for the 'Americana' related political discourse if people want to keep engaging it in and it can remain localized there ... and then everyone else can get back to focusing on the excitement and anticipation of the Neil / Crazy Horse reunion and Americana!

But Thrasher thanks for all your hard work and for putting up with all the headaches!

Pinto, missed you ... as always love reading your thoughts, can't wait till we're all back to the topics we all love to discuss.


At 4/02/2012 11:07:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Dan!

That really helps out here.

A separate thread is a good suggestion. Although it can be tough to get folks following those kinds of guidance.

Always a fine line.

We're trying.

At 4/02/2012 11:13:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Yes, this is a fan sight for Neil Young. Yes, it is to pay homage to a nice guy.

But isn't it called "playing the thought police" when certain posters like me are attacked or ridiculed or called vitriolic for not thinking the same way as the group?

At 4/02/2012 11:23:00 AM, Blogger Jonathan said...

MNOTR - Thrasher is much too kind, but I'll say it - enough already! You are an inherent buzz kill and we've heard more than enough of your negativity when it come to CH and this new record.


At 4/02/2012 09:24:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Maybe what we really need to know is if Neil's playing that self-proclaimed trash can 6 string banjo in some of these songs, huh?

At 4/03/2012 09:10:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

"Ian and Sylvia, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young: The Yorkville people. We didn't get over to Yorkville until after hours, and by then they were gone. And when we got to Yorkville, we weren't looking for music."
--Robbie Robertson
Invisible Republic page 244

Regarding the liner notes, has anyone else pointed out something which seems very obvious to me? Neil Young is the son of a great writer and (primarily) a journalist. As such, somewhere coded in his DNA are the five W's: Who, What, When, Where and Why. Read the liner notes a couple times with this in mind; you'll realize the point is not to editorialize or politicize the whole thing but to give some direct information on who did the song, what it is, when it came out first, where this occurred and why the song is being included.

Of course since this is Neil, you're not getting a simple two plus two version. I'm happy with that and looking forward to hearing the music--that's what I'm looking for.

So keep up the good work T...I'm looking forward to seeing that Jimmy Fallon spoof someday! Sorry you have to step in and can't just let the river run its course, but I'm sure things will be back to normal soon (whatever that is).

At 4/03/2012 10:25:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Mr H!

Good point on the liner notes.

Another sort of obvious is that this song by song commentary is more than we've ever had before aside from Decade notes.

Hopefully not the last we see of notes. Altho after this episode, probably so, sadly.

At 4/03/2012 10:49:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Sorry, Mr. Henry, I'm not reading the "why." Tim Rose re-arranged this song and renamed it for a reason. Probably didn't want to sing "Oh!Susanna" in the middle the civil rights movement. And Scott Young was primarily hired to "editorialize" which is how he gained so much popularity with his fellow Canadian readers.

At 4/03/2012 11:30:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@MNOTR - We've held off directly replying to your concerns on Americana.

Not because they aren't important or lack merit.

More because we just didn't really know how to respond.

Do we look to our musical heroes for truth? No, not especially. That was never part of our social contract with Neil & his music.

More to the point, why do we hold a musical hero to a higher standard than other pillars of society? Our teachers, doctors, clergy & police? Or our politicians?

Aren't these folks the ones who take vows to uphold laws and responsibilities?

If we could take some of this indignation and take aim at those who truly do make a difference in society and hold them accountable, than that is worthy & noble.

We just think it's not the best use of energy in speaking truth to power to direct that towards Neil.

Would you not agree there are more worthy opponents in the War on Lies than Neil?

Has Bob Dylan ever re-arranged history to suit his ends?

Hurricane Carter? Hattie McCarroll?

Or do you feel that if we can't trust our musical heroes than who can we trust?

We think the answer is self evident.

At 4/03/2012 02:10:00 PM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

"I remember when I typed that last line I started to cry and couldn't go any further. By that time Neil had been home two or three days and was in his bed downstairs, very weak. All of us spent a lot of time in there with him, talking. Remember, he was only five years old then and his scope of experience was narrow. 'Polio is the worst cold there is' he confided to me one day. It was years later before he told me he could still remember sitting in the hospital cot half upright, holding the sides to keep himself there because it hurt his back so much to lie down. But then he would fall asleep and let go, and when he fell back the pain would waken him again, crying. The first thing he said when we picked him up at the hospital was 'I didn't die, did I?'."
--Scott Young
Neil and Me pages 26 & 27

There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye
--Neil Young

At 4/03/2012 04:11:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

After reading the rants posted by MNOTR for the past several days, I still don't get her point. When did Neil become a contrite, unapologetic, unrepentant white supremacist? Isn't this the same Neil that penned 'Southern Man' and 'Alabama' among many others too numerous to mention that drew attention to racism and bigotry in this wonderful yet flawed Nation of ours? He has documented the plight of the Native Americans in song more than any other white artist that I'm aware of and performed them without apology and out of a sincere heart. Just by merely recording an album of American Classic Folk songs doesn't mean that he's putting his stamp of approval on the intent of the original artists who wrote them. He's merely a musician and a poet. He never took an oath as a public servant would to uphold any ethical or moral standards. Some folk need to lighten up here. Walk On!

At 4/04/2012 07:34:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Greg and I had the same discussion way back about Neil. Sorry you missed it although calling what I wrote a "rant" is an overstatement.

At 4/05/2012 07:46:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

Sincerely, MNOTR, I didn't mean to offend. You have posted many insightful, thought provoking comments in the past. I just can't get on board with you on this one. I fail to see the relevance of aligning Neil with the negative aspects of the mistakes those who came before us have made, whether in action or in song, there's so much water past under the bridge that's it's meaningless at this point to revive old sentiments especially since the new arrangements of the songs bare no resemblance to the intent of the original artists who wrote them. 'Oh, Susannah' performed at the 'BSB' with Dave Matthews was an innocent, fun performance. I believe the 'Americana' record will receive the same treatment. Our country has taken great strides in reconciling racial prejudices that I see no constructive reason to stir the pot and rehash history over a few simple American Folk Songs covered in good taste. Never the less, I encourage you to keep your opinions coming. Though somewhat controversial, they did provoke an interesting discussion. I' not one for censoring anybodys convictions. However, a point can be made and then move on .....


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