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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

1st THOUGHTS: Neil Young's New Album 'Homegrown'

"Homegrown" by Neil Young
(back cover)

The official Audio for Neil Young's album 'Homegrown' began streaming on The Archives last night and first reactions are starting to formulate.

Here's a 1st thought on TONIGHT: Neil Young's New Album Homegrown Streams on The Archives by Devan:
My thoughts thus far:

-Wow, what an odd duck of a record. I was expecting it to be significantly less weird than Tonight's the Night, and it's less down-to-earth than I had imagined. Significantly less accessible than Harvest, Comes a Time, or Harvest Moon.

-Florida is -so- out there. Love it.

-This rendition of Mexico is fantastic. Nails the intimacy of it unlike any other version I've heard.

-White Line is aces.

-I still haven't quite warmed up to Vacancy. It feels like a slightly less-interesting take on World on a String.

-This version of Star of Bethlehem sounds fairly similar to the ASnB version on first blush. Slight mix differences, but nothing major.
Thanks Devan for your 1st thought on 'Homegrown'. Yes, "Florida" is definitely the tripper on the album. Now we know where those liner notes for Tonight's The Night came from?!

"Homegrown: Never Known to Fail" by Neil Young

Here's another 1st thought on NYA by Bill Bentley:

Full review @ Bentley's Bandstand | NYA.

 PRE-ORDER: Neil Young's album "Homegrown" 
Neil Young's new album "Homegrown" is now available for pre-order. Release Date: June 19th Pre-Order here (Please shop locally & independently. But if you can't, we appreciate your supporting Thrasher's Wheat by clicking this link . Thank you!!!)


Official Audio for Neil Young's "Vacancy" from 'Homegrown'. More on Neil Young's new album "Homegrown" and preview track "Try".

Track list and details @ Neil Young's new album "Homegrown".

More 1st thoughts on Neil Young's new album 'Homegrown' ...

Also, see more 1st thoughts on Neil Young's "New" Album Homegrown.

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At 6/18/2020 05:29:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Just Perfect!

At 6/18/2020 07:35:00 AM, Blogger Harm said...

This album is described as the missing link between the likes of Harvest and Comes a Time. While it has a similar structure (i.e. consisting of songs recorded with various musicians, producers and locations, not unlike other albums from this era, such as On the Beach, American Stars 'n' Bars and Hawks & Doves), I personally think it could have also been a fitting end to the Ditch Trilogy, especially considering the lyrics for songs such as Separate Ways, Try, Vacancy and Mexico. Alternatively, one could say that Harvest and Homegrown serve as bookends for the Ditch Trilogy, Harvest marks the start of the relationship with Carrie, Homegrown the end, with the Ditch, where Neil's life unravels, in the middle.

In any case, it's wonderful to finally hear songs like Love is a Rose, Homegrown, Star of Bethlehem and Little Wing in their original context, although one could wonder if this track list is what it was in 1975 (after all, NYA lists many alternate ones) or if it was contrived more recently. I think it could well be the order as it was on the famous combined Homegrown/TTN tape, which caused a member of the Band to suggest that TTN should be released instead.

As for Florida, it's indeed way out there and I made the mistake of listening to it out of context. When bookmarked between Homegrown and Kansas, it makes perfect sense; from smoking pot to having a 'cockamamie spoken-word dream' and finally waking up (I feel like I just woke up from a bad dream).

Anyway, had this album been released in 1975, followed by Chrome Dreams; what would have become of what we now know as American Stars 'n' Bars and Hawks & Doves?

At 6/18/2020 10:10:00 AM, Blogger Acoustic FeedBack said...

I have listened 4 times now. I love this record. Like the great Neil Young Records, it gets better with repeat listening. The best song on the LP is Vacancy. My favorite Neil Electric guitar tone has always been Fontainebleau and you can hear that same compression on Vacancy. This may be the first recordings of Old Black with the Firebird pickup installed.

Now I want more.

At 6/18/2020 10:55:00 AM, Blogger Art Carey said...

I hope you guys can help me out with this question bouncing around in my head -- and you've probably already discussed it when Neil's comment popped up on NYA -- but it's this notion of "I didn't release the album because it was too personal" thing...

Didn't the story used to be this? The label was all set to release Homegrown but at the final listen at the record company, Neil said "but I've got this other one, too" and that was Tonight's the Night and everyone listened and was amazed and said "WHOAH, you've gotta release that one instead!"

Or am I just confused? (again)

At 6/18/2020 11:02:00 AM, Blogger Acoustic FeedBack said...

Art is a dog on my porch,

I think the story is a little of both. I think Neil was looking for a reason to cancel Homegrown and at the listening party Rick Danko told him the raw one was better. So both reasons equally contributed to Homegrown's withdraw. And although Homegrown is great, so is Tonight's the night. Amazing how prolific Neil was at this time.

At 6/18/2020 05:19:00 PM, Blogger Ben said...

What a great evening. Just soaked up Homegrown. Great to hear the stripped back version of White Line. Little Wing and Star of Bethlehem make much more sense in this context too. Loved the tracks I hadn't heard before as well, but the best thing for me was the 'new shine' it gave old favourites.

Then, to cap it off, Look out for My Love in the hearse theatre - definitely need to go back to the Unplugged album now...

At 6/18/2020 07:50:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

ok so this release simply adds to the craziness that is 2020
I don't know what to think...processing this gem that sounds like heaven (don't see how the vinyl will sound better than the Archives stream)

with the hindsight of history knowing what Neil went on to do, it's strange to even assess this we've heard a few of the tunes in various formats for decades

I had always thought the electric Crazy Horse version of White Line on the Chrome Dreams bootleg was my favorite version...way better than Ragged Glory...but now I hear this acoustic take...whoa

thank you Neil for finally opening the vaults...I know he's been doing it slowly for a decade or so...but the vintage releases are starting to pile up with regularity...


At 6/19/2020 06:19:00 PM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

..Don't forget to check out the latest instalment of the Catalyst 1990 video over at NYA.


At 6/19/2020 08:50:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

It's a fun listen, especially the weirder stuff never heard before.

Truthfully though, Neil definitely made the right choice by releasing Tonight's The Night instead back in 1975. That's a far superior album.

At 6/20/2020 12:12:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks everyone here on comments. Hope everyone is enjoying the Bob & Neil father's day Weekend!

@ Richie C - an interesting point.

How about this for a thought exercise?

Suppose Neil DID release Homegrown back in 1975 and NOT Tonight's The Night.

Fast fwd to today and imagine Neil releasing the "unreleased" Tonight's The Night in 2020 instead.

What would folks think today of TTN? How would neil's career arc have changed if he gave the public what they expected w/ Homegrown in 1975.

We think that music history today would be different. discuss.


At 6/20/2020 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Ken N. said...

With the release of Homegrown, for me the Ditch Trilogy becomes the Ditch Quartet. This album is just as loopy, and down,
as the other three.

This isn't the bridge between Harvest and Comes a Time AT ALL.

It's the last statement about disillusionment before Zuma!

Grateful to have it at last.


At 6/20/2020 07:54:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Here’s what I think Neil meant by the bridge; Harvest: The new love (I fell in love with the actress) Homegrown:the breakup , sadness , the wrath.Comes a Time: the pardon , the acceptance.

At 6/21/2020 08:46:00 AM, Blogger Paul, maybe a red man said...

@ Ken: I had the same reaction; we should talk about the 'Ditch Quartet'. Musically it leans much more to TTN, OTB and TFA.
But thematic, you could place Homegrown between Harvest and Comes a Time.
indeed Chris.
In short: it's a masterpiece!

maybe a red man

At 6/22/2020 11:05:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Random thoughts;
- the remastering is top notch
- White Line is just as great as the RG version, couldn’t pick my favorite
- we should stop analyzing each album, it’s more like eras
- Florida and WDSINM are not a plus
- Mexico brought tears to my eyes
- David Briggs should have produced
- why wasn’t Robbie R. Thanked?
-overall good album, TTN and OTB still the masterpieces

At 6/23/2020 05:40:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

More random thoughts
- I prefer Homegrown from ASAB
- Little Wiing sounds a lot like JJ Cale , and it’s nothing negative, the song is awesome and Neil cited JJ and Hendrix as his favorite guitarists

At 6/23/2020 04:23:00 PM, Blogger SmashThePMRC said...

Hi, I’ve never heard of the combined Homegrown/TTN tape, what’s the tracklisting? I’m sure it would be easily recreatable now

At 6/23/2020 04:31:00 PM, Blogger SmashThePMRC said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6/23/2020 11:52:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Homegrown Thoughts: the first one that springs to mind is "Wow...". Now on the 5th or 6th listen, the actual listening experience is quite otherworldly. I've read enough about the album that I was prepared, in theory, for weirdness, but in practice, this Homegrown is a trip in every sense of the word. Rewards headphones. I just heard Neil chuckle about 1:30 into We Don't Smoke it... which, by the way, is absolutely a highlight for me. It's like Blue Eden (Sleeps with Angels), except imagine the Stray Gators playing in place of the Horse. Great jam!

Opinions are weird. I know there's some controversy here, but I prefer this take of the title track over the Horse version. It's funky and raw: Are You Ready for the Country's stoner cousin.

Lots of little delights: beautiful harp and finger plucking on White Line. Star of Bethlehem sounds like a fresh mix of the Stars 'n Bars/Decade version. Maybe it's the improved mixing and mastering or it could be I was never paying attention before, but in years of listening to this track, I had never picked up Ben Keith's delicate harmony vocals behind Emmylou. With that discovery, the song has never been more affecting and bittersweet. In fact, Ben Keith is all over this record. Talk about a lump in the throat: it's something to hear a "new" NY album with that pedal steel touch.

Can't say enough good things about Separate Ways. It deserve a post of its own and maybe it'll get one soon. Try is a real grower for me: possibly the sweetest--and saddest--number Neil has ever put on record.I could try to express my responses to the other songs new and old, but I feel this album is better listened to than talked about. I will say that I can see/hear a few possible reasons it didn't come out in '75, and I suspect casual fans may be left confused and cold by it. If I had to describe this album with one word, it would be "interiority".

The lamp on down the hall-- or Shining Light--is the love that makes the world go 'round. Yes it do, yes it do.

At 6/24/2020 02:53:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I don’t actually think Neil’s career arc would have been any different had he released Homegrown instead of Tonight’s the Night back in the day. Perhaps the fans arc would have been different, but I think Neil would have been right where he is now regardless. How his work is consumed by his fans has never been a concern for him, so we would have still gotten the same records we got. Our perceptions might be different but not his.

Peace 🙏


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