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Monday, September 03, 2012

"Big Time" (Official Music Video): Neil Young and Crazy Horse

As we continue the journey through the past, present and future, we're often drawn into songs like "Big Time" from Neil Young and Crazy Horse's 1996 album Broken Arrow.

So here's the official music video which we haven't seen in quite awhile.

And for your amusement, a little lyrical analysis of Neil Young's "Big Time" from The I Magazine by Mike Gee:
"Autobiographical, "Big Time" calls upon the spirit of the past and twists it to now.

In the first verse Young simply unwinds his own beginnings.

'Gonna leave the pain behind,
Gonna leave the fools in line,
Gonna take the magic potion. Gettin' in an old black car,
Gonna take a ride so far,
To the land of suntan lotion.
Gonna take it state by state,
Until I hit the golden gate,
Get my feet wet in the ocean.'

The devout will recognise the setting and the story, but for those who don't ... In 1965, Young recorded an acoustic demo for Elektra Records featuring early versions of Sugar Mountain and Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing but wasn't offered a contract by the label. Returning to Toronto, Young played the same Yorkville district coffeehouse circuit as fellow Canadian Joni Mitchell before he joined The Mynah Birds, a Toronto-based band led by singer Ricky James Matthews (later to be known as Rick James who would go on to have several smash dance hits, in particular Super Freak, a song which would later heavily influence Prince).

So there you go... from Neil to Joni Mitchell to The Mynah Birds & Rick James, to Buffalo Springfield to Crazy Horse to Prince.

As we said, the journey through the past, present and future continues. Over and Over.

More on Broken Arrow - Neil Young Albums In Order.

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At 9/03/2012 09:19:00 PM, Anonymous Denis RW said...

Is it a show at the OPL on this video?
Autobiographical? so who is the ocean's daughter?
"Dancing in the sunset hews
She waved to me and called me over"

At 9/03/2012 11:08:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

The ocean's daughter might be a metaphor he used to describe that lure to the California coast and everything that inspired him to write the great catalog of songs for which he is famous. It might be a manifestation of lady luck, his muse, or a beautiful sunset he saw for the first time while in California. How many of us found inspiration just by looking out onto the ocean and then turn around and write about it? Sounds better than falling for the old man, KWIM?

At 9/04/2012 02:21:00 AM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I'll tell you, in my mind this is one of the most overlooked songs, from one of the most overlooked albums in all of Neil's work. It's understandable I suppose, as it falls in line with so much else of Neil's work- it sort of clanks at first, but just keeps getting better the more you listen to it.

When Broken Arrow received a Grammy nomination, I was pretty skeptical, because I was underwhelmed by it at first. Since then, I can't get it out of my CD rotation. I put the guitar work on this album up against anything Neil has ever done. I don’t say it surpasses anything necessarily, but it more than holds it own.

Check it out, listen to the tone of Neil’s lead on Big Time, Loose Change, Slips Away, and Scattered, and marvel at the simplicity and originality of This Town and Changing Highways, songs that at first blush seem very light weight. Then add in the quintessential throw in that transcends everything all on its own, Music Arcade. Top it all off with Jimmy Reeds “Baby What You Want Me To Do”, my bet for one of Briggs’ all time favorite’s. After all, in many ways Broken Arrow is an ode to Briggs, who had recently passed away.

Broken Arrow is a great song , once you give it a chance- an apt metaphor for all of Neil’s work.

BTW, I always thought that “The ‘Ocean’s Daughter’ was the name of the ship that Neil had fastened his eyes onto with the “traveler’s glass” (telescope), or it could be the wake left behind by the passing ship. Regardless, a great first experience when first alighting upon the shore of the Pacific, after the transnational journey from Canada..

A Friend Of Yours

At 9/04/2012 02:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't that first verse about Neil leaving Toronto in Mort II (the old black car) for California (the land of suntan lotion) in search of Stills, as opposed to a chronicle of his times in Toronto? Don't see where Joni or Ricky/Mynahs fit in lyrically at all.

At 9/04/2012 02:58:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's also about Briggs! ( I'm still living the dream we had, for me it's not over)

At 9/04/2012 08:46:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/04/2012 10:54:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Let's try this again, Anon 2:48.

You must be dreaming because you're reading comprehension is very dull.

Joni and Rick playing the same circuit as Neil is a mere observation in that paragraph, not a support statement for the lyrical content in that song. Two separate things here.

Again, a general reference putting Neil in the same location as Joni and Rick (RIP) should not be read as a support statement for lyrical content.

This disclaimer will self destruct in 5 seconds...


At 9/04/2012 11:11:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 9/04/2012 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Okay, let's try this again.

For you Greg. Structured jam is an oxymoron and that should have been your first clue!

This song just drones. It's as irritating as a vinyl that skips and you wonder in God's name if somebody's gonna finally change the record player. It's that sinking feeling watching how mud can disable a monster like my 'ol pick up truck up after pulling a trailer full of horses up a mountain pass.

I like Arcade Music because it frees itself from the mud and drone.

And Baby What You Want Me to Do is nice a tribute but they are amateurs. That song is gasping for air.

A real masterpiece doesn't take getting use to ... it's either there or it isn't. This song is not. Music Arcade, maybe. Slip Away had potentional. I heard something in there for a few seconds than it got buried like the rest of the songs.

At 9/04/2012 12:39:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

"Structured jam"? I don't know what your referring to here, MNOTR.

"Drones"? Don't get that either, but if it does for you, it is what it is. Now if you had said that about Loose Change, I could understand, it goes on for quite a while repeating the exact same chords. I remember reading a comment about this, when the significant other of one of Crazy Horse questioned out loud why the music just kept repeating, and the answer back was something like the band was playing Briggs on his way.

I didn't say Broken Arrow is a masterpiece, just that the guitar playing ranks with anything Neil has ever done, in terms of tone and emotion. I also think it's an album full of gems, like just about any other album Neil has done. It's not that way for everyone? I'm shocked. Shocked!

I just think that Broken Arrow has gone under the radar for a lot of Neil fans, and that it's worth revisiting. Just a heads up, is all.

A Friend Of Yours

At 9/04/2012 01:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I absolutely love Big Time. Killer guitar. And quite agree the album has several gems. It's appropriate to pull it out now. That was an exciting Neil time with a feeling alot like today.
I love that the album included Interstate. And
Scattered is also one of my topofthelist Neil songs.
Mother Nature, where do you get off declaring the status of Neil's songs? This is one of my all-time favorites, bar none. Your opinion is only an opinion. Stop trying to pass it off as fact.
I used to like your posts years ago. But you really have an undeserved high opinion of yourself. And that, too, is only your opinion. You've become tiring and bitter. I think it's time for you to change your name. You give nature a bad name.

At 9/04/2012 01:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not sure about my reading comprehension, MNOTR, but at least I have a grasp of grammar - should be "your reading comprehension is very dull." (Though, Greg, it would be, "I don't know what you're referring to.") And you're right, I don't comprehend what you're trying to say - the original post quotes the first verse, then says, "The devout will recognise (sic) the setting and the story, but for those who don't ..." - sure sounds like a "support statement for lyrical content" to my tiny, uncomprehending mind.

At 9/04/2012 03:44:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Don't take this personal but
nature is full of surprises and never predictable. It knows nothing about grammar or spelling, either. So how do I give nature a bad name? Because I don't agree with everything that people right (oops, "write") about Neil? Because I don't worship everything he's ever done?

The reason why Neil has maintained his longevity in this whacko business is because there are people like you and I who keep coming back for more of Neil's music.

Nothing wrong with that. Like nature, he's unpredictable and full of surprises. So I think we make a good match Neil and I.

At 9/04/2012 04:27:00 PM, Blogger JimDC821 said...

I think Neil was staring at the Ocean's Daughter on the cover of "On the Beach"...

At 9/04/2012 04:42:00 PM, Blogger Matthew L. said...

I think Broken Arrow IS a masterpiece.

I also like what you refer to as "drone", MNOTR - Of course, I get into hypnotic riffs. It comes with an appreciation for stoner rock, I guess.

Neil and the Horse have done the hypnotic thing very well on a few albums. Parts of RE*AC*TOR come to mind. You can float away on an ever-cycling chord structure into some really psychedelic, meditative places.

Just my .02.

Broken Arrow is vastly underrated and overlooked, IMO. Criminally, even among NY fans. I wonder why. It fits perfectly in the progression of Crazy Horse albums.
I suppose it's probably because it doesn't quite hit the soaring rock intensity of Ragged Glory, or descend into the beautiful dark anguish of Sleeps With Angels. It's less focused than either of those albums, and more fragmented. So as a follow-up to those very concentrated efforts, it can seem to lack everything that made either of them great. People had gotten used to a tight, purposeful NY&CH in the 90's, and (in true Neil fashion!) Broken Arrow is a refutation of all of that. Again, it's Neil shaking off his own paradigm and looking to confound.

When the album was finished, according to the Shakey biography, Neil was ecstatic, and said something to the effect of, "They're going to hate this!" (referring either to his fan base or the record company, I gather).

At 9/04/2012 05:01:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Matt, LOL but I wouldn't call anything on this album "stoner rock." I'm glad you can read that I'm not criticizing his work here. For me, something short of genius get's buried in the drone, Matt. Just making an observation about what I'm not hearing. Whatever I'm not hearing, you are.

Fair enough.

At 9/04/2012 07:46:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

I can say that I have overlooked this. It is somewhere in the middle. My first impressions was that it seemed a bit slower than the regular tempo of the Horse, even the live CD seemed slow. I was at the dang shows for it and thought that. However the Big Time caught my ear for sure, the sentiment works in an inifinate timeframe of expression. And Slips Away, that always took me with it.

So it is interesting the ingrained responses, and feelings on this release as I read about it now. I'm gonna go put it on again, and relish it, cause Cleveland is only 32 days out.

At 9/04/2012 08:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The proper grammar there is "people like you and me". In contrast to your natural and incorrect pomposity. And it's your declarative tone that is offensive. Opinions are welcome, declarations are irritating. It's not that you don't blindly worship, it's that you think you know best. Get a clue MN, threads you participate in generally deteriorate to fights. Surely there are other outlets for your agression. Meditation, boxing...

At 9/04/2012 09:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@MNOTR - nice to see you back doing what you do best - trashing Crazy Horse and trashing Neil's art that us real fans enjoy.

You are a 100% weirdo commentator here on TW.

I'm sure you're a pleasant enough human being and your thoughts deserve respect.

The problem is your thoughts are all over the map and you frequently put down Crazy Horse.

And don't come back with "show me where I've ever trashed Neil", etc.

I'm on here more than enough to know what you do. What you do is generate mindless ramblings ad naseum about Neil's work while cloaking your disdain of Crazy Horse in a free-thinking cloud of crap.

Do like Doc did...go away.

No offense to

At 9/04/2012 09:14:00 PM, Anonymous Ed said...

I just listened to Broken Arrow for the first time today. It really blew me away. I've heard several of the songs before like Big Time and Slips Away from bootlegs of that era. But Loose Change is one of the greatest songs I've heard in recent memory. I love how they really ride that feeling at the end. Beautiful

At 9/04/2012 11:44:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

The YOTH version has a cleaner sound. The recording of Neil's guitar isn't buried. It's like listening to 2 different songs.

At 9/05/2012 04:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I always listen to this version:

1996, Phoenix Festival.
Just massive. Talking of this version, its among my top 3 Neil songs.

At 9/05/2012 09:35:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Anon, I just don't remember the song "sounding" like this when I first heard it LIVE. For me, the Broken Arrow album was a big disappointment because the sound quality was so poor. Never had that experience with Neil's recordings before.

I don't think I'm being pompous by saying there are a few songs on Broken Arrow that fall on their face in the recording studio. Maybe what I should have said is that Neil should do this live because his recordings of it are inferior.

I am 100% guilty of tormenting your english grammar through abesentmindedness, typos, and carelessness.

At 9/05/2012 12:48:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

& you are 100% guilty of wasting bandwidth with your nonsense...

you - MNOTR - damn Crazy Horse with faint praise...ever heard that phrase genius?

At 9/05/2012 01:34:00 PM, Blogger Matthew L. said...

Jesus, what's with all the anonymous character attacks? MNOTR was expressing an opinion. Either counter it with a topically relevant opinion of your own, the way I did, or don't bother responding.

Anon, you claim threads degrade into fights when it is you who are starting shit.

If you can't deal with someone else having a strong opinion about something that perhaps you disagree with, maybe you need to get over yourself, and take your arrogant ad hominem arguments somewhere else.

At 9/05/2012 01:37:00 PM, Blogger Matthew L. said...


MNOTR, I can see your point on the recording quality. It's definitely muddier than their very well mixed prior two albums, which is another thing that sets it apart.

Did Neil and the Horse mix it themselves? Is this a "lack of David Briggs" issue? Just wonderin'.

At 9/05/2012 03:20:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

Good question on the mix for Broken Arrow. This was 1st album "post Briggs".
The producer credit listing: Neil Young.

So blame him.

At 9/05/2012 03:42:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I'm interested in hearing these other versions, but this mix or that mix, I have no problem listening to my Broken Arrow CD, and hearing the guitar play, and the emotion all through it. Call me a vulgarian, I've been called worse, believe me. :)

A Friend Of Yours

At 9/05/2012 04:13:00 PM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Thank you, Matt. You take it pretty hard here, too, for really loving the music.

I remember when everyone complained about the "Year of the Horse." I don't know how they recorded that but I do recall getting the sensation of listening to an actual concert in progress when Neil was playing "Big Time."

The recording for that album reminded me of Dylan and Band's live concert albums.

I feel indicated and validated, Matt. Thanks for taking the time to respond!

At 9/05/2012 08:27:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

So what's up folks?! End of summer time blues? Back to school bummers?

Chill-ax as the kids say... we think.

In the meantime, we're queuing up another CH classic from the vaults.

At 9/05/2012 08:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said... glad you feel "indicated" MNOTR...your comments indicate to me that you are a loon

And Matthew - lighten up dude good grief. Why do you have to use Jesus' name as an expletive?

@Thrasher - what is up is that MNOTR stirs up shit all the time and declares her opinions as the only ones that matter.

At 9/05/2012 10:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that is the Old Princeton Landing in Half Moon Bays Pillar Point Harbor. I know thats the Cheaper Liquor Billy is getting frisked in front of, also very close by on Hwy 1. I just brought up this song 2 weeks ago as a sub for Psychedelic Pill which is a weak link for me.

At 9/06/2012 12:22:00 AM, Blogger Mother Nature on the Run said...

Nothing wrong with being loony. From you I take that as a compliment. There's also nothing mysterious about the content or meaning of his songs. The songs that are not autobiographical are musical kaleidoscopes of his subconscious streaming in out of his collective conscious.

The video is cool. Reminds me of the way our memory processes and stores information.

At 9/07/2012 01:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thinks YOTH version of Danger Bird is the best ever?? As for BA I have yet to really like it, and I pulled it out again about a month ago. Still the same for me?? Probably one of my least favorites.


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