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Thursday, February 13, 2014

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.

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”….
Thanks Tami! Nice review and thanks for sharing with us. A nice way to observe The Year(s) of the Horse(s)!

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.

Crazy Horse Radio Spot



At 2/13/2014 10:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh what!!!??? Never even heard of Trick Horse before. Anyone know when it was recorded or released. So this was recorded with Poncho, Billy and Ralph i take it. Anyone have any info on this? More crazy horse the better

At 2/13/2014 10:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to follow on form my previous post above, I just listened to a few samples of Trick Horse and it does sound like crazy horse but I'm not sure. Why haven't I heard about this before?

At 2/13/2014 12:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scratchy was also released on cd as "The Complete Reprise Recordings 1971 - '73" in Europe with a different cover and without the bonus tracks of Danny and the Memories. The Rhino Scratchy CD comes with the bonus tracks. And so does iTunes.

Trick Horse released in 2009 and unnoticed by Horsified Fans? Impossible. That's what I would say. Just had a quick listen and it doesn't sound like Billy and Ralphie... That's not Ralph on drums! Different band with the same name?

My guesss is that it's one of those fabulous april fool's jokes by T. and some of his froiends.


At 2/13/2014 01:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


After collaborating with the ever-talented Ryan James Holzer on Billy Talbot Band’s sophomore album, Talbot called on long-time band mate, Ralph Molina, and former band member from The Rockets, George Whitsell, to join them at Light Rail Studios in San Francisco. In one day, the quartet came together and recorded twelve tracks that they began referring to as “Wolves.” Six months later, they joined forces again to record an additional six tracks, and subsequently four tracks were produced six months later. The energy and event of each of these three meetings produced their forthcoming rock album, Wolves EP, with Talbot on bass and harmonies, Holzer on guitar and lead vocals, Molina on drums and harmonies, and Whitsell on guitar and harmonies. The album artwork, courtesy of Jeff Chase, is indicative of the music and perfectly captures the energies generated by these four stellar musicians. Following the most recent recordings, Talbot gave Holzer the ’66 Gibson ES-335 he’d lent him during their sessions, a special instrument in guitar history.

At 2/13/2014 01:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crazy Horse Crazy Moon with the bonus Rockets Tracks may be my favorite disc, its certainly near the top.
Starts with Neil Wailing on guitar She's Hot, Going Down again.I love ponchos singing on that lost and lonely feeling,and Ralph's on Love Don't come easy (you can still melt my heart like ice)

The Bonus Tracks Psychadelic Rockers Lady Soul, Rock and Roll band, the Evil "Pills Blues", the Piercing "Let Me Go" that recorder on Strech Your Skin" the spooky Wont you say you'll stay, and then a Goodbye with " Mr. Chips". Kills me every time. Were I to find the Vinyl version of this!

Rust Radio once played a Crazy Horse Show with some of the Crazy Moon tracks.

Play them this summer boys!

Ambulance Blueser

At 2/13/2014 01:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trick Horse : Release: Jun 21, 1986
On iTunes since 2009

At 2/13/2014 01:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 12:01:00

In the NY Biography, Shakey, it is mentioned that Poncho had once paid for session players to record a crazy horse album with only the vocals sang by the band itself. Maybe that's the album?

At 2/13/2014 01:51:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, Thanks! That could be it. Sounds like it somehow.
That Crazy Poncho!

At 2/13/2014 01:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Really like that Wolves EP.

At 2/13/2014 01:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 2/13/2014 07:17:00 PM, Anonymous AlonsodeAlbuquerque said...

sometimes i don't get neil, if he really sees himself as "the guitarist of crazy horse", and CH not being just a back-up band then explain me why they never play songs like slippin and slidin or other "crazy horse" songs? Also, how can he consider playing crazy horse anthems like hey hey, cowgirl in the sand or like a hurricane with other cats such as his electric band? like in any field, practice is far away from theory...

At 2/13/2014 09:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a true fan of the horse - and I really love their first album and most of the work they've done with neil - but this is simply garbage, as for example "left for dead" also is. they sound like a stupid hardrock band of the 80's - which they obviously were at that time! but it became better - thanks neil!

At 2/14/2014 07:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with AlonsodeAlbuquerque. Neil is not just a band member. He's the leader, the composer, the main musical force.

Be sure to check out Crazy Horse's debut, Loose and Crazy Moon if you haven't already. At Crooked Lake and the Rockets are okay too, but Left for Dead is indeed terrible. Never heard Trick Pony, but I'm not paying for mp3's.

I really like Billy's latest album too. The Wolves EP is dull and weak, especially On the Run.

At 2/15/2014 04:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on someone should have to know where this album Trick Horse came from? There's not that many Crazy Horse albums around so this one's a big surprise. Where's archives guy to shed some light on this?
Any news on A Letter Home yet which was rumoured for a March release?

At 2/17/2014 10:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trick Horse was released in 1986. Songs were written by Talbot, Molina, and Sampedro. Craig Hull, Craig Krampf, Kevin McCormick, Scott Thurston, Carol Mayedo, Randy Smith and others played on the album. All vocals by Talbot, Molina and Sampedro.

At 2/17/2014 08:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was it released physically on vinyl, cassette, and cd, or was it intended to be released? I can't find any trace of it being released in 1986. I've actually noticed this in itunes for the last 3 years, listened to clips of it, and could clearly hear that it was Poncho, Ralph, and Billy singing, but couldn't find a trace of its existence.

At 2/24/2014 08:34:00 AM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

forTamitosaythatshelovesNeil&CrazyHorseisagrossunderstatementinitselfasafellowRustieIknowmoreN.Y&CrazyHorsefansthenIcouldcount&Imustsaythatinallofmyyearsasa fan IhaveneverencounteredanyN.Y&CHfans withanywherenearthesicerityandpassionas the'"ArkansasGirl's"Tami&SandyastheylivethelifeastrueRustiesastheyhadtraveledacrosstheentirecountryandevenunfortunatelyhadtocancelaplannedtriptoLondonwhichwouldhavemadethemtheonlyinternationalRustiesthatIhavetheprivaledgeofknowingIlovethe"ArkansasGirlsfortheirpassionanddevotiontoNeil&theHorseasevidentbytheireverpresentbannersasmembersoftheaudienceatseveralCrazyHorseshows!

At 2/24/2014 08:40:00 AM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...


At 2/24/2014 09:03:00 AM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

I'veneverknownanyotherRustie'swhoseloveandpassionfortheCrazyHorsebandeitherequaledorexceededhow ayoungBeatlefan may havefelt in1964 astheArkansasgirlsTami&Sandyhaveproven "overandover again!greattoseeanArkansasgirlpostonhere

At 2/24/2014 09:15:00 AM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

thefirsttimethatItypedinCrazyHorseonItunesScratchycameupwhichsurescratchedmyCrazyHorsseitchsinceIhavealloftheoriginalsoloCrazyhorsealbumsonvinylwithno wayof playingthem these days

At 2/24/2014 09:31:00 AM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

itsgreattobeback,Thrasher,IvemissedparticipatingonyoursitemorethenI cansayalthoughI havevisited andreadthecommentson a dailybasis thanksagainforkeepingthiswonderfulsitealive!

At 2/24/2014 12:25:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ BIGCHIEF - Hey, great to hear from you. Its been a long time and hope you're feeling better these days.

So it looks like you lost your space bar?!

At 2/24/2014 06:59:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

morelikelostinspace,THrasher!using a new computer forthefirst time&still donthaveuse of my left arm and hand

At 2/24/2014 07:08:00 PM, Blogger BIGCHIEF said...

sorryThrasherNEIL&thehorsemaynothave rusted yet butI havebeganto aswell as burned out for that matter!

At 2/25/2014 04:18:00 PM, Anonymous SandCowgirl said...

Hi, Big Chief...thanks so much for your kind words... hope to see you down the trail soon!


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