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Monday, November 16, 2015

REVIEW: Neil Young - Bluenote Café | PopMatters

Neil Young latest Performance Series release from the Neil Young Archives is Bluenote Café - which was released last week. The album collects various performances captured during Neil's 1988 tour.

From PopMatters by Chris Gerard:
Those who casually dismiss Neil Young’s ‘80s work would be well-advised to give it another close look.

Young wasn’t flailing about from style to style because he was desperately trying to fit into a new era and he was unsure how to do it. He was simply doing what he always does—whatever feels right to him at the time. One listen to A Treasure will reveal that far from being an intentional thorn in David Geffen’s side, Young was absolutely sincere and completely all-in to his “country” period, and the same is true with the tight blues-rock of Bluenote Café. Yeah, Young may have had trouble translating the sounds in his head into compelling studio albums during this period (a problem that would end once and for all at the end of the decade with Freedom), but in his live performances he was giving it all that he had and was totally invested in this music—it was never a lark. The same is true today. His most recent studio albums, Storytone and The Monsanto Years have been underwhelming to say the least, but his current tour is getting nothing but raves.

Neil Young isn’t afraid to try and fail—that’s the secret to his success and longevity.

He has earned the stature to do that in a fickle industry, and he’s still out there, nearly 50 years since his first album with Buffalo Springfield, doing exactly what he wants to do. We are all fortunate that he is, but we’re also fortunate that in the past decade he’s finally loosened the locks on his musical vault and has been unleashing one superb archival release after another, each covering another aspect of his vast musical legacy. Bluenote Café is essential Neil Young, and further evidence that Young’s ‘80s work has more value than many fans and critics would expect or admit.
Full review at PopMatters.

Also, see STREAM FULL ALBUM: Neil Young's Bluenote Café .

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At 11/17/2015 07:04:00 AM, Blogger ANDREW BYROM said...

I am enjoying the album but think the mix is awful. The drums are way too high in the mix and Neil's voice and guitar are too low. I always loved the Bluenotes, so great to finally get the live album which was promised at the time (This Notes For You Too). Just a little disappointed at the drum heavy mix.

Hoping for a Tonight's The Night show as the next NYAPS release.

At 11/17/2015 11:27:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

To the reviewer- tell us something we don't know. Neil has always given every once of his being at every show I've every seen. Sure some of his albums are hit or miss however every album goes on his wall of art and he still hasn't stopped rocking in the "free" world. Thank god.

At 11/17/2015 03:14:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ANDREW - something from the 70's like a Tonight's The Night show as the next NYAPS release would be nice. Or NYA#2?!

@Chris - thank god, indeed. she seems to appreciate rocking in the "free" world... and universe, as well.

At 11/17/2015 05:25:00 PM, Blogger Josh W. said...

I always liked the Bluenotes, too, and this release, as other have noted, is excellent, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. Call me an oddball, but Lucky 13 tends to get regular spins, too. One of the things I love about Neil is his unpredictability; he certainly keeps us on our toes. As far as suggestions for the next archives release, I love the Nov. 13, 1990 show at The Catalyst with Crazy Horse. The guys were really, really on that night.

At 11/18/2015 03:27:00 PM, Blogger trevlom said...

The weird thing about the new disc is that the physical copy calls the Bluenotes as Neil Young and the Blue Note Cafe.

I'm pleased with the volume of material and I am ecstatic that I get an official release of "Ordinary People."

At 11/19/2015 04:44:00 AM, Blogger Marco Ponte said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11/19/2015 04:49:00 AM, Blogger Marco Ponte said...

I've always been a great fan of the Bluenotes era in Young's career. The studio album TNFY is a bit disappointing because the sound is too flat and did not exposed the spirit that the live concerts revealed (but as you know live music is always better). Fortunately I have the great bootleg from Jones Beach in NY that has a superb sound quality, fantastic versions of almost all songs and especially the introduction of the band in between CIC and BN is outrages. A pitty it lacks the beautiful "Don't take your ...". However, it is on Lucky Thirteen but that one is not with the Bluenotes (i wonder why !) and i don't like that version. Now, i listened to a few songs on Bluenote Café and i'm a bit disappointed about the mix. Isn't technology able to do a better job ? But probably i'll get used to it after a few times listening to it.

At 11/19/2015 09:46:00 AM, Blogger nick said...

I'm loving Bluenote Café but I agree with Andrew, the mix could be better. The drums are too high and Neil's guitar and voice are too low. But most importantly: where's the BASS? The bass is way too low, especially lacking on Ordinary People. The bootlegs I've heard have a much fuller sound.

I really wish Coupe de Ville and Hey Hey were included (in place of, say, Soul of a Woman and Doghouse) but perhaps they didn't have any decent sounding takes. Oh well.

One last quibble: Why did they rename Bad News IS COMING to Town as Bad News COMES to Town, when Neil even introduces the song with the original name? Very odd. On the whole though, I'm really enjoying this release.


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