Neil Young's new release ""World Record" w/ Crazy Horse is now available for pre-order. Order here
(Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link or YOUR COUNTRY's FLAG. Thank you!!!)
<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Comment of the Moment: Bands of Neil Young

"Ramada Inn"
Neil Young & Crazy Horse - The Plenary, Melbourne Australia - 13th of March 2013

With the recent combination of news that Neil Young has cancelled tour plans for 2017 and Guitar World Magazine naming Crazy Horse as the #1 Best Backing Band of All Time, it is natural that Neil fans are a bit scattered.

So here's one Neil Young fan's reaction to all of this from Scotsman as the TW Comment of the Moment:
Classic Neil Young, I agree.

I think the most likely explanation here is the obvious one: after two years of extensive touring with the same group, he's worn out and needs either a rest or (more conceivably) a change.

Neil wrote in Waging Heavy Peace that the long 2008/2009 tour exhausted him, not physically, but mentally:

"I am currently tired of my musical self...I have OD'd....It has happened a few times before. The last time was near the end of 2009; I finished that tour and had to stop. Too much of a good thing".

I think the same thing may well be happening here.

So hopefully there are no medical concerns other than those generally asociated with 71-year-old musicians who "ought to know better and thankfully don't" (McDonough).

So what comes next? That's the exciting question! 2016 has again been a good year for Neil musically. I think his touring with POTR has generally been solid this year, and Earth is a very rewarding album to my ears.

David Briggs on his death-bed told Neil to "put as much of himself into the music as possible". By that, he didn't mean "don't play with bands". He was in fact talking about a very distilled, intense form of musical greatness which (to my ears) has been just a little bit diluted recently with impressive but ultimately superfluous layers.

Rule #1: Alone in the spotlight, Neil Young rises to the occasion. That's why the Horse is so powerful: because they give him a rock solid platform and push him to the forefront. They put him alone onto that precipice of greatness and give him a safety net. The same is true of Neil's solo acoustic performances. Or even his shows with 'Poncho and the MGs' or the Bluenotes (a very big band who again had the ability to put Neil Young's guitar playing at the centre of an exciting but uncrowded musical picture frame).

So I'm hoping that when Neil returns to the studio or stage, refreshed and invigorated, we are going to hear some more of this distilled magic, whatever exciting form it may take. And until then, I hope he enjoys a rest and has a wonderful Christmas and New Year.


ps - ...And to demonstrate my point above, do yourself a favour and watch this particularly rich version of Ramada Inn from Melbourne 2013: [see video above]

Hard to believe this was less than 4 years ago.

It demonstrates just how magical Neil still can be when he combines the right ingredients. BANG! Like a chemical reaction. It's deceptively simple, it's straightforward, everything slots together and has room to breathe.

All the emotional depth and urgency, the hard-boiled rhythmic gutsiness (Poncho is a huge part of this song's greatness), the sense of wide open wondrous space and the heart-twisting eloquent guitar solos are captured perfectly in this magnificent performance. Some of these qualities have been missing recently. It's soulful, but unike some of Neil's more recent songs, it's also profound and substantial. You can get your teeth into it. By all means, go and experience it for yourself.
And Scotsman continues down the thread...
...Worth remembering that Neil has spent the last 50+ years relentlessly following "The Muse". This has generally been good for his art and not so good for his relations with other people. People never know where they are with him. In the past, whole tours and bands have been abandoned at VERY short notice because Neil changed his mind and wanted to do something else. As Niko Bolas said about the Bluenotes: "they planned their life around this band that we knew was just another one of Neil's toys".

Or as Poncho puts it: "Neil doesn't turn corners, he ricochets". He's also very impressionable. People consistently make the mistake of thinking that because NY wants to do something now, he will also want to do it tomorrow. But listen to Don't Take your Love Away From Me on Bluenote Cafe for a chilling and honest confession of how just how fickle he can be.

Look at Neil's touring career and you will rarely find 3 consecutive years where he has essentially done the same thing in a row. And his usual way of dealing with his instinct to shake things up is to make a sudden hard turn, one that inevitably puts a spanner in the works for other people's plans.

This is why some of us scoffed at all the "POTR are putting the Horse out of business" talk. The same was naively said about the Lost Dogs, the MGs, Pearl Jam, the Electric Band etc.

So obviously we can't rule out health concerns (I wish we could), but it seems to me that we're just seeing the continuation of a pattern that has repeated itself for several decades now. In some ways, it's reassuring.

Also worth noting that Peace Trail has already been recorded with a different band (again, for some reason, many people were surprised by this). I wouldn't take this use of a different band as any intended insult to POTR whatsover; their live versions of these songs are clearly accomplished. But it's fair to observe that a change of style was already underway long before this live cancellation.

Thanks as always Scotsman! And thanks for reminder on the CH video! enjoy.

Labels: , ,


At 12/06/2016 09:51:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Scots, great comments!!

At 12/06/2016 09:57:00 PM, Blogger Dan1 said...

Scots, what are your thoughts about the electric band of '07/08? They seemed to be a nice blend of giving Neil that space and also with song versatility.

At 12/07/2016 01:19:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Why isn't anyone mentioning his comments about "Surprise President"? Neil is worried, I am worried, and you should be worried.

At 12/07/2016 01:26:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

At 12/07/2016 01:50:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

p.s. Every single version of Ramada Inn was totally fucking great...that's what makes Neil Young so tremendous. I love the Boston version, which was way before the one mentioned here. Does that make it any better, or worse, or the same? As my good friend Yuri likes to say, "You tell me". The snow is coming and the rabbits are very active at night. Went down to the beach at midnight and the tide was low.

Is anybody
Out there please?
It's too quiet in here
And I'm beginning to freeze
I've got icicles hanging
From my knees
Under fifteen feet
Of pure white snow
--Nick Cave

At 12/07/2016 06:11:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Thrasher, thanks Dan1.


Overall I really enjoyed the 2007-2009 electric band, but again I feel they weren't best suited to many of the Crazy Horse songs. Ben Keith's rythym telecaster guitar was very clean and "jangly", perfect for many songs but not quite possessing enough raw power to sufficiently drive Neil's lead guitar into the stratosphere. On the plus side, as you mention, there was plenty of space in the sound for Neil to occupy - something he demonstrated to great effect on No Hidden Path.

My gut instinct is that the change from Ralph Molina to Chad Cromwell improved the band a lot and opened up new avenues for them. Ralph was a bit rusty in 2007 and without his old friend Billy on bass, he was clearly struggling to find his place. Chad Cromwell and Rick Rosas were a better duo with more chemistry.

I think had Ben Keith stuck to steel guitar and Poncho taken over on rhythm guitar (essentially turning them into The Lost Dogs v2) then that might have improved things further. Without Poncho, they still sounded very good, but the heavier electric songs just lack that little bit of cohesion and conviction. Billy Talbot was generally complimentary of the 2009 band but noted "to me, it's not as exciting as Crazy Horse" and I think he was basically correct.

As a general rule, I think the most exciting bands of Neil's career have consistently been those who specialise in one particular niche of music. This idea also appeals to Neil, as it gives him chance play a character, which he clearly has enjoyed doing many times. For the "electric rock" niche, Crazy Horse are number one (with an honourable mention to The Restless, who I feel succeeded in being a sort of slicker and more edgy alternative to Crazy Horse).

Mr. Henry: I think Buddha was teaching us how to detach ourselves from our thoughts; rather than making any commentary on whether a Neil Young performance from 2016 is necessarily better than 1976 just because it is happening now. Buddhism itself is rather old; that's probably not a good reason to consider it inferior to something more modern.


At 12/08/2016 06:52:00 AM, Blogger downbutnotout said...

Yeah-saddle up the horse!


Post a Comment

<< Home

<-Older Posts Blog Home Newer Posts->

Willie for a Nobel!

Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize
for Farm Aid and his work on
alternative fuels, and world peace initiatives.

Farm Aid

Go Farmers Markets!

"In the >field< of opportunity
It's plowin' time again."

Silverline Communications

(Home of the FarmAidians)
Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
(519) 737-7979

This blog supports free speech!

Demand justice for Aaron:
Support "Aaron's Law" and inquiry into his prosecution

(... he didn't kill himself either...) #AaronDidntKillHimself

Induct Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Please Help Support Independent Media &
Non-Corporate Advertising
This Blog's For You!

The Hypocrisy of the Mainstream Media

It's Been Called The
"Missing Link" in the Ditch Trilogy


Sign the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition
Join The 10,000+ Who Have Already Signed


Neil Young Appreciation Society

Sugar Mountain

Neil Young Setlists
Rust Radio


Bands Covering Neil Young songs


Official Neil Young News Site

The Bridge School

The Bridge School Concerts
25th Anniversary Edition

**100% of Proceeds to Benefit Bridge School***

The Essential Neil Young

Fans Favorite Neil Albums

Top 50 MP3
Neil Young Song Downloads

Top 10 Best Selling Neil Albums Today
Support Thrasher's Wheat
via Purchases from:
United States - us.gif
Canada - canada.gif
United Kingdom - gb.gif
Germany - de.gif

Neil Young Songbook Project

In the fields of wheat

"Children of Destiny" will NOT be harvested
However, the chaff will be burned by unquenchable fire

Neil Young + Promise of the Real

Europe 2016 Tour Dates

2015 Rebel Content Tour

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Alchemy Concert Tour Reviews

Fall 2012 N. America Tour
Spring 2013 Australia/New Zealand Tour
Summer 2013 Europe Tour

Europe Summer 2014 Concert Tour
Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Thrasher's Wheat Radio Supporters Go To Europe

Neil Young Films

2010 MusiCares Honors Neil Young

Features Elvis Costello, Crosby Stills & Nash, Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Ben Harper, Elton John, Norah Jones, Lady Antebellum, Dave Matthews, James Taylor, Keith Urban, and others.
Proceeds from sales go to MusiCares,
which helps musicians in need of
financial and medical assistance.


"There's more to the picture
Than meets the eye"



Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
The Buffalo Springfield

"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
tweeted, shared and liked
The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV & Have A Life

"Everything Is Bullshit" +
"Turn Off The News"
Turn Off the News (Build a Garden)

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
The Year of The Wheat

Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
by Rustie Sharry "Keepin' Jive Alive in T.O." Wilson

"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?

The Four Dead in Ohio

May The FOUR Be With You #MayThe4thBeWithYou


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power!
When Neil Young Speaks Truth To Power,
The World Listens

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Neil Young


The Meaning of "Sweet Home Alabama" Lyrics

Neil Young Nation -
"The definitive Neil Young fan book"

What does the song mean?

Random Neil Young Link of the Moment

Bonnie Raitt and Neil Young

I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"
Full Disclousre Now

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel



Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
... and symbolism will be their downfall...

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

"Children of Destiny" - THE Part of THE Solution

(Frame from Official Music Video)

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?


Show Me A Sign

"Who is John Galt?"
To ask the question is to know the answer

"Whosoever shall give up his liberty for a temporary security
deserves neither liberty nor safety."

~~ Benjamin Franklin


(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul

the zen of neil
the power of rust
the karma of the wheat