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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Neil Young Release Schedule Updates + Comment of the Moment: "Toast"

by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse
 “It's got everything that the best Crazy Horse albums have had.” - Neil

A few Neil Young release schedule updates on NYA timeline: (Thanks Phil!)

  • Noise and Flowers - 12th November 2021,
  • Toast - 10th December 
  • ORS box sets 4-5-6 & Harvest 50th anniversary - Feb 2022

(More details on Neil Young's planned release schedule for 2021 and 2022 + DVD & Official Bootleg Series schedule.)

Previously, Neil Young shared his deeply personal thoughts on the unreleased and most curious 2001 album "Toast" with Crazy Horse  -- one of the “great lost masterpieces”. (See  "Toast" - A Roadstory: Neil Young Shares Thoughts on Unreleased 2001 Album.)

In addition, the recent interview with Frank “Poncho” Sampedro, Neil Young, Crazy Horse Guitarist | The Aquarium Drunkard contained further revelations on the album "Toast":

Frank “Poncho” Sampedro: Toast is whole ‘nother story. 

Here we are in the Mission District in San Francisco, where we open the back door to the studio and smoke a cigarette and we watch giant rats running all over the place. They’re so evolved. Not just black and brown. They’re pintos. They’re big. The whole neighborhoods is just crazy dilapidated. Usually, Neil would call us, and he’d have songs. [This time] we got to that place and he didn’t have that many songs. He was writing. We spent a lot of days just walking around the studio and watching TV. 

There was really nothing to do. There was a donut shop on one corner and a Mexican place about a block away. So, we’re in that environment and we’re watching Neil sit there with his legs crossed on the floor, holding a yellow pad of paper and a pen. And that’s not just for a couple of days. That’s for a couple of months

Then out of nowhere, we start playing the songs and we’re not really getting them great.

Then all of a sudden, Elliot says he’s got this tour for us. So, we take off and we go to South America and holy shit, man. That was a blast. We’re playing giant places. One hundred and eighty thousand people or two hundred thousand. In Buenos Aires, the whole crowd got so into it [they were] doing these soccer chants of the melodies and… I’d love to hear some of those tapes. Louder than us. It was really fun. Plus, Billy’s Italian, Ralph’s Puerto Rican, both my parents are from Spain. So, we have this Latin influence in the band. We were big into salsa music. When we got back from that, we went right back into Toast. It’s funny that all the songs kind of have a little Latin feel to them. Things were different. It was like a different session from the time we got back. 

And then those sessions ["Toast]  ended.

More on  recent interview with Frank “Poncho” Sampedro, Neil Young, Crazy Horse Guitarist | The Aquarium Drunkard. 

Are You Passionate? - 2002
by Neil Young w/ Booker T & M.G.’s
(See thoughts on would there have been a "Greendale" without "Are You Passionate?"?  And is there a linkage back to "Sleeps With Angels"?  on Comment of the Moment: "Toast" - A Roadstory: Neil Young Shares Thoughts on Unreleased 2001 Album by Meta Rocker)


Which brings us to the Comment of the Moment on "Toast" - A Roadstory: Neil Young Shares Thoughts on Unreleased 2001 Album by Tony "Hambone" Hammond in the UK:

If Neil says that Toast reflected a relationship going sour, then it almost as if the touring of that time was part of that realisation. 
The 2001 Euro Horse tour debuted many of the Toast tracks with Pegi in the backing singer line-up along with the Horse.

And then links and moods between Toast, Are You Passionate? and Sleep with Angels all collided oh so briefly with the 5 Poncho & the MGs shows. I had the great fortune of being at Brixton Academy in May 2002 and have come to realise that it was my "Bottom Line" show - rare live outings and Neil in a real transition mode but utterly in control.

I'm not one for assuming that an artist lives their personal life on the stage, least of all Neil, but you can almost read this as a year long conversation - let's get away from home, see the sights, be with friends and colleagues but also lose ourselves in work. 

What to make of a sequence of Differently, Sleeps with Angels, Are You Passionate? and then Goin' Home? 
It was thrilling to hear at Brixton and there must have been a compelling reason to include SWA 8 years after release and an even more compelling reason to go out to do these few shows in the first place - maybe one last try at healing with a different group of friends?

I can't say any of this was obvious in any way on stage, it's just what we now read on the Archives allows us to re-assess all these lesser known songs.

At the time I thought the real centrepiece was the Cortez, Let's Roll and Powderfinger sequence - the "violence" trilogy of sorts. The lame political criticism of Let's Roll especially was blown away by the realisation that it was simply a powerful modern retelling of Powderfinger, about people being placed a a desperate and hopeless situation, coming to terms with this and taking action, however doomed. 
Whilst Powderfinger gives the protagonist's lone act an epic musical cinemascopic treatment, Let's Roll has to deal with real people and treads an almost brooding documentary path. It was clear that No one has the answer, But one thing is true, You've got to turn on evil, When it's coming after you was hardly a ringing endorsement of Bush's foreign policy but a call for ordinary people to face down unimaginable hatred.

This show is now my absolute candidate for a Timeline Concert submission on the Archives for all the surprises and being a genuinely unique musical occasion.

And then the following year we got solo acoustic troubadour Greendale which sent us on a completely different musical journey.

Tony "Hambone" Hammond in the UK
Thanks so much for comment Tony! We had been saving this for the right moment and now seems as good as any. Wow on Brixton concert.  "Differently"?!  Now there's an obscurity for sure.  According to Sugar Mountain Setlists,only played in concert 4 times.

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At 4/21/2021 06:48:00 PM, Blogger Art Carey said...

I just looked at the timeline and saw the five bootlegs for 9-10-21 but nothing after that. Can you screenshot the other ones?

-- also saw that Amazon is only taking orders for Deja Vu on vinyl. )No indication whether that release will include skips and crackles, as all my albums did back then.)

-- sea of madness might come before toast

At 4/21/2021 06:59:00 PM, Blogger Hambone said...


I'm suitably humbled that you saved these musings up for now.

I hunted out an audience recording I had stored away on the PC after writing this and yes, it really was as compelling as I remember. My wife and I arrived quite late and so couldn't get anywhere near the rail, but ended up under the rather low balcony near the back of the Academy and as the brooding intensity of the gig increased so did the temperature where we stood & I'm pretty sure I phased out altogether with the heat a few times.

Sugar Mountain also reveals alongside Differently:
She's A Healer - 4 times, Are You Passionate - 5 times,Sleeps With Angels - 8 times
and Quit - 9 times in the same setlist, which I had to check a couple of times before fully appreciating how special that show was.

And I cannot wait to play Toast and AYP side by side later this year to hear how this all played out in the studio and if we can catch the vibe that convinced Neil to re-record with Booker T.


At 4/22/2021 10:05:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Art - hmm. will take a look and get back.

I just looked at the timeline and saw the five bootlegs for 9-10-21 but nothing after that. Can you screenshot the other ones?

oh, and the wooden ships capsized on a sea of madness..

@ Hambone - our pleasure. and, no, we are the ones humbled by the rustie spirits.

really love how Brixton was your Bottom Line. you're very lucky, as you noted the setlist rarities.

With all the build up for Toast, it'll be very hard for Toast to live up to expectations.

but we have faith in Toast, burned, w/ both feet on the ground ...

At 4/22/2021 02:25:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I’m convinced that it would be beneficial for everyone to let go of any expectations of what Toast will be. I read so many negative reviews for Homegrown, and most of them were folks expecting something they had in their heads instead of just taking it for what it was. I for one had absolutely no expectations and found Homegrown to be a brilliant piece of the Neil Young puzzle. Most Neil fans already know that he will never deliver a record to appease anyone’s expectations, and most of us like it that way. Toast is going to be exactly what it is, and no expectation is going to change that, so just brace yourselves for a record that will surprise you for what it is, and be nothing like you expected. I can’t wait.

Peace 🙏

At 4/22/2021 02:27:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

.....P.S. I enjoyed Hambone’s comment of the moment. Very insightful.

Peace 🙏

At 4/22/2021 02:31:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Dan - totally agree w/ you about expectations.

if you have none, you'll never be disappointed. only pleasantly surprised or more.

Some of our best concert experiences are likewise. You're all hyped up to see a big giant name -- we'll say U2 or Bruce -- but then kind of let down after all of the over the top expectations.

Or going into some tiny club seeing someone you've never heard before -- we'll say Lucinda Williams or Steve Earle -- but then blown away by them just being themselves, venerable and telling their story thru song.

Thinking about this, we will no longer quote Toast as a "long lost masterpiece" until we hear album.

At 4/22/2021 04:26:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Great idea Thrasher. How about just long lost album? Which it actually is.

I got free tickets once to an Ozzy Osborne concert decades ago and I was completely blown away by the performance and the crowd. They are completely committed fans. I’ve never seen such adulation from a crowd of people in my life. This was when Randy Rhoads was with Ozzy, and he was an incredibly talented guitarist. Not being a big fan of Ozzy, I was actually very impressed with the entire concert. Who knew???

Peace 🙏

At 4/22/2021 04:49:00 PM, Blogger Hambone said...

@ Dan - having heard several Toast songs on the 2001 Euro tour I found them more engaging than Broken Arrow era NYCH but not quite as compelling as Sleep With Angels, so I have middle to high expectations of what the whole piece will sound like.

Homegrown gets a lot of play here and Try and Vacancy are big favourites these days.

Nils Lofgren is superb live and "dreams big, works hard and stays humble" even when between big tours with Bruce & Neil.



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