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->

Friday, July 03, 2020

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young's Ditch Trilogy/Quadrilogy/Quintology/Sextology In Light of "Homegrown" Release: What Might Have Been?

Neil Young's "Ditch Quadrilogy":
"Time Fades Away", "Tonight’s the Night", "On the Beach" & "ZUMA"

Now with Neil Young's album "Homegrown" finally released after 45 years in the vaults, how does this impact the chronology of those cherished mid 1970's albums period known as "The Ditch Trilogy"?

Here is the Comment of the Moment on Neil Young's Ditch Trilogy/Quadrilogy/Quintology/Sextology In Light of "Homegrown" Release: What Might Have Been? by the always formidable (D.) Ian Kertis; The Metamorphic Rocker:
For me, Homegrown clearly sounds--and feels--like a meeting point between Harvest on On the Beach.

In fact, I think Homegrown sounds more like OtB than OtB sounds like either TtN or TFA. Although TFA and TtN have a certain anguish and ragged edge in common musically speaking, the "ditch" classification is very loose and tenuous--if not artificial-- for me, at least in the straightforward sense that the classic trilogy of albums don't sound or feel too much alike for my ears (and Zuma is its own beast entirely, imho).

Each of these records just has its own musical identity and sensibility, such that it's never made that much sense in my mind to put certain albums into unified groupings, rank or otherwise quantify and compare them. In other words, "It's all one song".

Fwiw, however, it's possible we now have an alternative or parallel Ditch trilogy to consider: Tuscaloosa, Roxy, and Homegrown. That Tuscaloosa and Roxy offer counterparts to TFA and TtN respectively seems self-evident to me, and I'd argue that Homegrown offers essentially the mood of OtB with a seasoning of Harvest sound thanks to the Gators.

So perhaps an even more intriguing question would be, how do the last trio of NYA releases illuminate, echo, or counterpoint their "twins" classic catalogue? Also, how might Songs for Judy and Hitchhiker play into--or deconstruct--the ditch narrative? And of course, don't forget to enjoy and connect with the music, regardless of the mythos, as we chase our tails through the maze of Neil.

"Only real in the way I feel from day to day."

Thanks Ian for sharing your thoughts here as your long view insights are most enjoyable to ponder. Right, what about Tuscaloosa and Roxy in the pantheon? Essential chapters? Or merely live concert versions of established classic songs in the canon?

Folks know that we here at TW regard the live concert experience to be paramount and far more essential than the albums themselves. We've long argued that the songs in concert are more powerful and effective than what was captured in the studio.

Neil Young's Ditch Trilogy
"Time Fades Away", "Tonight’s the Night" & "On the Beach"

More on Neil Young's Ditch Trilogy/Quadrilogy/Quintology/Sextology In Light of "Homegrown" Release: What Might Have Been?

Labels: , ,


At 7/03/2020 09:31:00 PM, Blogger onthebeach said...

To my ears, I like the versions on Roxy better than the TtN Lp...They feel looser than their studio counterparts and as the comment above said "more powerful"...on the other hand I think Tuscaloosa is tighter than TFA...the band sounds more refreshed vs road weary on TFA...I agree though with the statement that Homegrown sounds like OTB at times for sure...

At 7/04/2020 03:02:00 PM, Blogger NYBD11-12 said...

The "Ditch Trilogy" are 3 of the most powerful LPs of that era. Yeah, I know TFA makes Neil "nervous." I empathize that he doesn't want reminders of this sad time. But the feelings in TFA songs "are as real as the day is long."

These 3 LPs are fairly different, although both TFA and TTN are made with ragged glory. To me, the Ditch is the emotional trauma that Neil experienced during the years he made these LPs. TFA is landing in the ditch. OTB explores it. TTN is a catharsis that led his way out. Zuma finds him back on the road. "Don't cry no tears around me" indeed.

These 4 LPs, plus Goldrush, Ohio, Comes a Time, and Rust led the Dean of American Rock Critics Robert Christgau to call Neil "the truest rocker of the 70s."

At 7/04/2020 06:13:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

@Thrasher, thanks for another spotlight, though I'm not sure it's entirely healthy for my ego!

@onthebeach, I agree about Roxy: more powerful in many instances than the studio TtN, and Neil's vocals are a little better, too. Tired Eyes in a concert setting is devastating, heartbreaking. Speakin' Out and Albuquerque hit their groove with a hypnotic, almost comatose sadness. Those two tracks in particular stand out so much more to me on Roxy than ever before.

@NYBD, It's worth noting, from a strictly chronological viewpoint, that TtN was recorded before but published after OtB. Which throws another wrench in the "ditch" dynamic: if there's a defined trilogy, does it go in recorded order or release order? Clearly, this doesn't affect the order in which the work was first released for most of us to hear, which in turn would likely influence how our perceptions of the ditch narrative were formulated over the last 40 years. But it does point out the limitations, or difficulties, of trying to impose an overarching narrative that brackets these albums from the rest of Neil's catalogue.

I know it pushes against--or at least, makes a paradox of--the "all one song" mantra, but I think any attempt to contain Neil's works within an overarching narrative will be prone to loopholes, leaks, and ambiguities. The heart of the matter, for me, is Neil's own warning that "If you follow every dream, you might get lost..." .


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