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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

"Toast" - Neil Young on Unreleased 2001 Album w/ Crazy Horse

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


Back in 2021, we covered the news that Neil Young had shared some deeply personal feelings on the unreleased 2001 album "Toast" with Crazy Horse.  

Similar to the long unreleased  album "Homegrown" - which Neil felt was too personal to release back in the 1970's --  "Toast" it seems was also too personal to release. Neil writes:

The music of Toast is about a relationship. 

There is a time in many relationships that go bad, a time long before the break up, where it dawns on one of the people, maybe both, that it’s over. This was that time.

Which brings again to a previous the Comment of the Moment on  "Toast" - A Roadstory: Neil Young Shares Thoughts on Unreleased 2001 Album by Setz:

I frequent here often but comment seldom, cause it just doesn't flow out in type as it feels. 

But I can't get past the short time frame between two of Neil's albums that could maybe be the least received at release but maybe the most coherent stories he has told. It seems clear that AYP [ "Are You Passionate?"] came from deep places of love and changes within it. Tours with CSNY in between, which always has had ups and downs, then Greendale comes to light. If you're a forward person, who wouldn't want to turn up the light? Greendale shows happiness, love of family and community around the dark shadows we all deal with every day. So I wonder if there would be Greendale without AYP? 

Now that we've had twenty more years of our own light and shadows, does this art become more relevant? 

Thanks Setz for sharing your thoughts on "Toast". Very interesting, as others have noted.

So, would there have been a "Greendale" without "Are You Passionate?"?  Good question.  Of course, we'll never know and will only begin to conjecture once we do hear "Toast" someday.

We've always found "Greendale" to be very uplifting and inspiring. And maybe as you suggest, "Greendale" was a boomerang reaction to the downcast vibe of "Toast".

Are You Passionate? - 2002
by Neil Young w/ Booker T & M.G.’s


More on "Toast" - A Roadstory: Neil Young Shares Thoughts on Unreleased 2001 Album.

In February 2021, we attempted to calculate  Neil Young's upcoming releases (see on Expecting to Calculate Neil Young 2021: Numbers Add Up To Nothin') and mentioned the album "Toast" with Crazy Horse.

Back in 2008, we posted here on TW that:

 ""Toast" is named after a defunct recording studio. "Toast" is "perhaps one of the most under-estimated and deceptive Crazy Horse records of all time, with many songs originally discarded, and then re-recorded with Booker T. and the MGs."

On Roadstories | Contrarian-Times | NYA, Neil Young shared his thoughts on the unreleased album "Toast" with Crazy Horse.  As a comment by Dionys summarizes:

"Obviously this is not about some lost album of the 70’s a la "Homegrown". The Roadstory shines an unexpected and dazzling light on the difficulties to maintain one’s autonomy as an artist."

From Roadstories | Contrarian-Times | NYA by Neil Young:

Toast is an album that stands on its own in my collection. 

Unlike any other, Toast was so sad that I couldn’t put it out. I just skipped it and went on to do another album in its place. I couldn’t handle it at that time. 2001.

John Coltrane, one of my heroes, made some music at ‘Toast’ studio back in the day. It may have been called ‘Coast’ then, but maybe not. The name changed a few times back and forth. It was on Mission in SF. The back door opened onto an alley. It was so stuffy in there that we left the door open until one day we saw rats coming in and out. After that, we just went outside for a smoke.

The music of Toast is about a relationship. There is a time in many relationships that go bad, a time long before the break up, where it dawns on one of the people, maybe both, that it’s over. This was that time.

The sound is murky and dark, but not in a bad way. Fat. From the first note, you can feel the sadness that permeates the recording. That song, with its refrain, ”Don’t say you love me”, is called ‘Quit’. The next one, sort of like a Deep Purple hit, is called ‘Standing in the Light’. “I don’t wanna to get personal, or have you put me on the spot” is the opening line. Followed by ‘Goin Home’, these songs paint a landscape where time doesn’t matter - because everything is going south. A lady is lost in her car. The dark city surrounds her - past present and future. It’s a scary place. You be the judge.

Then the scene changes to a religious guy who just lost his job. He’s turning on Jesus. He can’t cut any more trees. He’s a logger. Finally, The ‘Gateway of Love’ beckons with “background noise on a changing sky”. I had forgotten about these songs, put them out of my mind and went on living my life.

It must be said that here Crazy Horse shows a depth never seen or heard before. The greatest group I have ever met. This is a pinnacle. Where they let me go, where they took me, was unbelievable. I couldn’t stay. Then, “I’d like to shake your hand, Mr. Disappointment.” I see you now eye to eye. Murky and dark. There’s no mistaking it. How can you be so real and intangible? 

So we continued on down on the path. “She’s a healer”. But not this time. 

It’s Toast.


GREENDALE by Neil Young & Crazy Horse 
(See  RETURN TO GREENDALE by Neil Young & Crazy Horse | NYA )

Recall, Neil Young discussed the release of the record with “Rolling Stone” in 2008:

“Toast is done. 

It's an amazing listening experience. It was recorded in 5.1. It's a mind blowing record, and I don't think it's a commercial record, but it's great rock and roll, very moody, kind of jazzy. It was recorded in the same place where Coltrane was recorded, so there's a lot of heavy stuff in there. All of the live ambience for everything was all recorded, so the whole thing has got a massive sound about it. I want to have a premier of it that's in a large art gallery with speakers in all four corners of the room, and huge speakers and really spend some time on the acoustics of the room, so you could have two or three hundred people in there that are in the middle of the sweet spot listening to this thing all around. 

So you came to a real listening experience that you wouldn't be able to get in any other location than right there.”

So "Toast" is a long time coming while sitting on the sidelines always overtaken by other releases.

Also, see Whatever happened to... “Toast” by Neil Young & Crazy Horse? 

Also, see ‘Are You Passionate?’ Turns 10 Years Old and Neil Young's Album of the Week: 'Are You Passionate?' + Defending AYP?

'Are You Passionate?' by Neil Young w/ Booker T & M.G.’s
NYA Album of the Week - Friday, December 13, 2019

Labels: , , ,


At 5/24/2022 08:49:00 PM, Blogger Tomatron said...

This comment, er, album, has been removed by the artist.

At 5/24/2022 09:04:00 PM, Blogger mrtew said...

I think if I ever heard Toast that it might be my favourite. I love Are you Passionate and Greendale and Broken Arrow and Sleeps with Angels and Silver and Gold. Definitely my favourite period of NY after his early and mid 70's classic and ditch records! Has anyone here ever heard Toast?

At 5/24/2022 10:06:00 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

Apparently a now deleted notice on the times contrarian front page said the TOAST pre-orders start this Friday!!!

Fingers crossed

At 5/25/2022 09:54:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

Bumped comment from by Mark "Spook the Horse"
So. Whatever happened to… “Toast”?

Every once in a while, generally at times when I’m sitting at the computer, working and writing, I’ll be listening to random records and my mind will, invariably, start to wander. I’ll pull a Neil Young record off the shelf, often one that I’ve not listened to in a while and, all too often, get lost in a personal world of memories and thoughts that often relate solely to that record or just a single song.

Today, with a crisp covering of the softest snow lying on the ground, coupled with wonderful bursts of watery sunshine and with curious thoughts of lost loves playing in the back of my mind, I took a trip towards “Winterlong” ~ I’m nothing other than obvious and predictable…..

Yesterday, as I was sitting at the desk, gazing out of the window in the vain hope of some wintery inspiration, I decided to reach for “Are You Passionate”….and that, in turn, lead me to wondering (once again) about the fabled, mythical album entitled “Toast”.

As “Goin’ Home” faded away and the back sleeve of the record showed that piece of paper with “Gateway of Love” writ large upon it, I wondered, more and more, if there will ever be a time that this record, this oft-discussed yet still largely-mysterious record, will ever see the light of day….

With Crazy Horse making some incredible music in the past 12 months, on stage and also, of course, on record (I’d argue ‘til I was blue in the face, that both “Americana” and “Psychedelic Pill” rate as two of Neil Young’s very finest discs, period, with or without the Horse) it feels as though right now is perhaps the perfect opportunity by which to unleash “Toast” on the world. That’s the perfect opportunity to me of course….nothing appears to be so straightforward and simple in Neil Young World…..

On paper though, it does feel as though the timing could be ideal ~ sales of both the new Crazy Horse albums are on the wane, we still don’t know what Camp Young has in store (if anything) for the “Alchemy” shows from the North American tour of last year ~ teasing the Rust List is all very well Archives Guy but people will get tired of that pretty quickly ~ so to keep the pot bubbling along nicely, an Archive series release of a record often discussed in hushed, learned tones would seem like a good way to keep NYCH product out there.

I’ve lost count of how many years ago it was that, pre-Bridge, Neil Young was said to have been listening to the finished version of “Toast” in one of his old car outside the LincVolt garage (someone on the staff there coughed that one) ~ maybe four or five years ago? That would seem about right as Neil Young discussed the release of the record with “Rolling Stone” in 2008……

“Toast is done. It's an amazing listening experience. It was recorded in 5.1. It's a mind blowing record, and I don't think it's a commercial record, but it's great rock and roll, very moody, kind of jazzy. It was recorded in the same place where Coltrane was recorded, so there's a lot of heavy stuff in there. All of the live ambience for everything was all recorded, so the whole thing has got a massive sound about it. I want to have a premier of it that's in a large art gallery with speakers in all four corners of the room, and huge speakers and really spend some time on the acoustics of the room, so you could have two or three hundred people in there that are in the middle of the sweet spot listening to this thing all around. So you came to a real listening experience that you wouldn't be able to get in any other location than right there.”

Pt#1 - For full comment, see by Mark "Spook the Horse"

At 5/25/2022 02:20:00 PM, Blogger Tomatron said...

Sounds like someone got a little hasty with the Publish button… tomorrow maybe? Along with a new single maybe? Gateway Of Love?

At 5/25/2022 06:34:00 PM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

2001 is a favorite year for live NYCH too. IWT Jan Warfield 1st show. a great surprise show. Then Rock in Rio was on fire from the git go. Just a blazing show. I mean Sedan Delivery a truly inspired opener. He had to go as big as that show which was massive. I heard that some of the crowd was flooding out after Oasis then hurried to get back when they came on. of course I didnt see that one but I love the video. Then later on the year the set is totally changed up.

At 5/25/2022 06:42:00 PM, Blogger Tomatron said...

Speaking of the Horse, and long-awaited versions, and Sedan Delivery, look at the caption for yesterday’s Hearse Theater video. He’s teased us AGAIN with the “Zuma out-take” slower, older rendition of that song. No mercy!

At 5/26/2022 12:12:00 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

Or will Noise and Flowers come first:

At 5/26/2022 12:51:00 AM, Blogger wsanjose01 said...

I dunno. That song minus the urgency ? Not crazy about that idea. Have you ever heard New York New York slowed down ? It betrays the spirit. It needs that punch.

At 5/26/2022 01:30:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

A website in Serbia promoting N & F vinyl? Serbia is not known for vinyl manufacturing, although is’s not improbable that they have surviving facilities. Claiming that the release is from the E.U.? Normally they would name the country within the European Union. Ending a collection of songs with FU? That’s a pretty odd selection. The barcode leads to this website only.
They put some real effort in fashioning the cover, but on the photos there is no hint where this album would be situated in the catalogue as per NYA series number. The promotional sticker says that this was recorded in June, while most of the real concerts with one exception were happening in July.

At 5/26/2022 03:30:00 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

There’s a few different sites with it listed - although the the release date advertised has passed so who knows when we’ll see it on the shelves

Looks like there’ll be three editions: 2LP, CD and LP/CD/BR box set

At 5/26/2022 03:52:00 AM, Blogger Greying Rider said...

As much as I am looking forward to Noise & Flowers, I hope that's fake as I'll be disappointed if Danger Bird from Berlin is not included in the track list. One of the most incredible musical experiences of my life to hear him play it live that magical day.

At 5/26/2022 04:09:00 AM, Blogger Thomas said...

Actually on second glance the sites say 5 August as the release date for noise & flowers

At 5/26/2022 08:36:00 AM, Blogger Tomatron said...

Jose, I hear ya and agree the Rust Never Sleeps version will remain the definitive one. But I’d say the same about Pocahontas, and the newly released Zuma take of that one is awesome. I’m thinking of the chemistry of those Dume sessions, as well as the excitement a song generates when it’s brand spanking new.

At 5/26/2022 03:12:00 PM, Blogger Thomas said...


Toast: 8 July

At 5/26/2022 04:39:00 PM, Blogger Hambone said...

Rather like mrtew I have very fond memories of the 2001-3 period, as after a five year touring gap I got to see 2001 CH Euro tour, 2002 Poncho & the MGs one-off and 2003 solo acoustic Greendale, which was like three goldmines in a row.

The thing I remember about the Toast songs on the 2001 Euro tour was that most fans commenting on the Rust list back then saw the word love in the titles and thought they were positive love songs rather than the sadness Neil says permeated the recording.

Another oddity - the Aussie Reprise page says Toast is a 7-song album. Neil's description gives only 6 tracks: Quit, Standing in the Light, Goin' Home, Gateway of Love, Mr Disappointment & She's A Healer.

So name that missing track! The Euro Tour also included When I hold You in My Arms, which also made the AYP cut, so that seems the most likely, though lyrically it doesn't seem to fit the "sad" angle - compared to Differently on AYP (my favourite track) which is full of regret.

Also prompted by Thrasher's post, I had a listen to AYP and some Eurotour 2001 shows today and the other somewhat odd thing is that on both Peggy & Astrid Young are singing backing vocals (yes they were a plus to CH on that tour), which asks some interesting questions about *what* relationship Neil was referring to as going bad in his comment on Toast if they were asked to sing these songs.

I am really looking forward to this release if it gets confirmed.

Finally I don't know if this was picked up from the NYA letters page - under a title The Ol Email Message - contributor Rich mentions a Billy Talbot song Painting of A Man, to which Neil replies: "I'll tell Billy. We're playing and I see him all the time now for a while. So great."
No mention of the rest of the Horse, but it does suggest some equine involvement in the Eco marching song project.

Tony Hambone in the UK

At 5/26/2022 06:54:00 PM, Blogger Tomatron said...

The release page on Amazon lists:

Standing in the Light of Love
Goin Home

Gateway of Love

How Ya Doin?
Boom Boom Boom

At 5/26/2022 08:25:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

“I can’t predict it, what happens next. I love the future; I don’t expect.”

I can’t help wondering if the line from She’s a Healer—“without that woman, I’m toast”—is tangentially connected to the unfinished album. Power of word association? Or just a rhyme for “love ghost”?

Toast: the ghost album, a spooked Horse—the present moment as a phantom of what could have been.

Looking forward to a Horse-heavy summer.

At 5/26/2022 08:54:00 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

I can’t believe we’re getting a full unreleased LP from the Horse - especially from 2001 - it’s nuts to think when Americana and Psychedelic Pill came out it had been 16 years since the last full lineup NYCH album (no Poncho on Greendale)

At 5/26/2022 10:02:00 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

Reprise has just put up Stadning in the Light of Love on you tube:

At 5/27/2022 08:32:00 AM, Blogger Tomatron said...

The “new” song rocks! I actually like Are You Passionate a lot, especially the title track, so I’m glad it’s the one that did see release back then, saving Toast for later.

Goin’ Home is not available for play yet; does this mean it’s a different take or alternate mix? And Boom Boom Boom has to be She’s A Healer, right?

At 5/27/2022 02:39:00 PM, Blogger Hambone said...

Toast now in pre-sale on NYA / Greedy Hand and the album is listed on the timeline.

Tomatron, from Neil's commentary , How Ya Doin? would appear to become Mr Disappointment on AYP and as you suggest Boom Boom Boom became She's A Healer. Wondering how many times Neil has actually renamed a song for a release - Letter to Nam -> Long Walk Home is the only other one I can think of right now.

So Timberline is the real joker in the pack and would fit as the third unreleased track alongside Standing in the Light of Love & Gateway of Love.

But isn't is great that we can still speculate on how it will sound and yes Standing in the Light of Love is a great addition to CH classics.

Tony Hambone

At 5/27/2022 04:10:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Just now listening to 'Standing in the Light'... fascinating and much clearer than relying on old clips from the Horse's 2001 tour. Sounds technically nice, too. Familiar and yet different. Where on 'Goin Home' on AYP? sounded a little thin (particularly Ralph's drums), they seem to have figured out how to mix and master these recordings at some point in the last 20 years.

On that note, I've always assumed Goin' Home would be the same take from AYP?. Generally, NY seems to pick his preferred take and stick with it, but we shall see. If 'Standing in the Light...' is anything to go by, I suspect Goin' Home will have been remixed along with the rest of the album.

AYP?, the album, came out exactly 20 years ago this spring. It's a remarkable document of a specific time in the artist's life and, of course, in the world at large. It's also a darker, edgier album than some people give credit for. It's easy to be taken in, initially, by the brightly polished sound of the MGs, with their familiar grooves and hooks. Maybe there was a purposeful choice to juxtapose musical style and emotional tone? Or maybe it's just the way things went. The truth usually seems to be somewhere between.

A twist of serendipity: Toast has been talked about, in the past, as a Latin-inspired album. It happens that I've also been listening to some jazz-infused Spanish trad folk lately. Totally different from the Horse, but nonetheless, neat how everything starts to feel connected when your tastes are eclectic enough.

Finally, I have no firm idea about 'Boom Boom Boom'. Hell of a title, though.Giving me "Walk Like a Giant coda" vibes.

At 5/27/2022 04:31:00 PM, Blogger Tomatron said...

Neil says Toast has been edited a few times and this is what they decided to go with. With one of the shortest lists of tracks out of NY LPs, it would be interesting to get more of the story on what the album looked like as it was ready to go to press back in ‘01. It’s likely that some of the earlier takes were cut, as the band didn’t feel they were up to snuff.

According to the flip side of the song card in the file cabinet, Goin’ Home is indeed the same take, likely remixed subtly and remastered using today’s processes. Stoked.

At 5/27/2022 04:52:00 PM, Blogger mrtew said...

As a huge album-cover fan and also google-maps-street-view fan I had to see what that Toast Studio on the new retro archive release looked like in virtual real-life! It's so surrealistic looking in the artwork it's almost hard to believe it's not been computer generated or at least photo-composited. To my great delight there are dozens of pictures of it in the timeline function of street-view (click on the little clock in the little black rectangle in the upper left corner of the website; I don't think the mobile page or app has this functionality). To my great surprise the oldest image in 2008 is almost exactly like the image on the record! The curtains upstairs are in the same disheveled position and the tree out front is the exact same size. The second oldest image is later in 2008 and the curtains are moved and the tree is three times the size telling me that the photo was taken very close to May 2008 probably about the time he was first thinking of going ahead and releasing the album after all. Kinda silly but I gotta do something while I sit around and wait a month more to hear the album already ;-].
Click here and you can see what I'm talking about!,-122.4152553,3a,48.9y,314.08h,97.55t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1sIpX53HvllGPXPFKm-VJ4cQ!2e0!5s20080501T000000!7i3328!8i1664


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