Review: Crazy Horse's Scratchy & Trick Horse
Crazy Horse's Scratchy
Here's a review of Crazy Horse's albums Scratchy & Trick Horse by Tami Chandler, an Arkansas Girl Who (HEARTs) Crazy Horse:
To say I am a fan of the band Crazy Horse would be a gross understatement. I love them – Heck, I’ve got the sign to prove it. In my opinion, the Horse is one of the most underrated bands in rock and roll, often misunderstood by the casual Neil Young listener as being simply his backing band. Nothing could be farther from the truth…and Neil wholeheartedly agrees. In fact, he prefers to be referred to as “the guitar player for Crazy Horse”. The band has taken many forms over the years, with a varying cast of characters and evolving styles of music. One thing that has remained the same about the Horse since their early days is that they compose and play music from the heart. They are real. Crazy Horse slips through the dark, murky recesses of life with a vulnerable passion, while also celebrating its joys with a fiery salute. They are hard rock-americana-country-doo wop-garage band-balladeers…real guys who take us on a journey of the highs and lows of rock and roll.Thanks Tami! Nice review and thanks for sharing with us. A nice way to observe The Year(s) of the Horse(s)!
Available now for purchase are two of the best kept secrets in music: the recent re-release of the 2005 Reprise-based “Scratchy” compilation, and the 2009 re-release of “Trick Horse”. Although the two albums are very stylistically different from one another, both are fine examples of the band’s work.
“Scratchy” is a two-disc set, released by Wounded Bird Records. It unfortunately does not include the booklet that came with the original package. However, the re-release is much less expensive, and the music it contains is priceless. The set starts off with the blistering “Gone Dead Train” and weaves it way through time with the Cajun-spiced tune “Dance, Dance, Dance”. It includes Nils Lofgren rockers such as “Beggar’s Day” and “Dirty Dirty”, and the heartbreaking Danny Whitten songs “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” and “Dear Song Singer”. Another Whitten-infused highlight is an extended version of “Downtown”.
The package also showcases later work, including the beautiful ballad “Kind of Woman”, the heart-rending “Try”, and the county-flavored “One Thing I Love”. Sprinkled throughout the set are contributions by Jack Neitzche, Ry Cooder, and George Whitsell, among many others. The origins of Crazy Horse’s harmonies are reflected in the Danny and the Memories tracks “Can’t Help Loving That Girl” and “Don’t Go”. Even though “Scratchy” contains over 30 songs, it seems short….it’s a musical ride that ends way too soon.
The sleeper album “Trick Horse” is a gem that was recently discovered lurking quietly on iTunes. Produced by “Poncho Villa”, a.k.a. guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro, it is a hard-rocking, fiesty recording from start to finish. I am unsure of its release date, as little information can be found about the album, but the sound and production style point to the 80s or early 90s. Rockers “Part of You” and “Rock House” kick things off, followed by the beautiful Ralph Molina ballad “Loving You the Way I Do”. Things shift back into high gear with the adrenalin-rushed voice of Billy Talbot screaming “how can we survive?” in “People Talkin”. In classic Crazy Horse style, the guys show they can pull off anything from the heart-pounding rocker “Looking for Somebody” to the easy-flowing “I Miss You” to the party cruise groove inspired “Mexicali”. “Trick Horse” gets better each time you hear it.
These two albums are gems – releases that, unfortunately, have barely seen the light of day. “Scratchy: The Complete Reprise Recordings” is available on Amazon and directly from Wounded Bird Records. “Trick Horse” is available on iTunes.
Am I biased? You bet I am…but I am right. Buy them – see for yourself. As the announcer says on the radio spot included on “Scratchy”, you’ll “get hooked”….
Actually, we have to say that were glad you mentioned the "Trick Horse". As you mention, it only seems to be available on iTunes and there never was a physical release. Interesting cover and we'll have to track it down when we have a chance.
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