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Tuesday, July 12, 2022

First Impressions: Toast by Neil Young with Crazy Horse | The Old Grey Cat

Neil Young Unreleased 2001 Album w/ Crazy Horse 
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With the arrival of "TOAST" -- Neil Young's unreleased 2001 album w/ Crazy Horse -- rusties around the world breathed a heavy sigh of both relief and release.

Here are First Impressions: Toast by Neil Young with Crazy Horse | The Old Grey Cat:

What many of us, or maybe just me, didn’t know at the time: The heart of the album began beating in November 2000 at the funky Toast studio in San Francisco’s Mission District, where Neil was joined by Crazy Horse (Sampedro, Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina). 

Over the next few months, they laid down seven songs, with the final session coming on February 9th, 2001. In a post to the NYA Times-Contrarian, Neil wrote that the songs “were so sad at the time that I couldn’t put it out. I just skipped it and went on to do another album in its place.” (The reason for said sadness, again to quote Neil from that same post: “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 big surprise of Toast, according to some reviewers and—in that same Times-Contrarian post—Neil himself, is the dexterity of Crazy Horse. 

Neil and the Horse are known, after all, for what I sometimes call “brutal grace,” aka thud-thick chords and extended jams that just about stop time. But any fan worth his or her salt can point to examples, such as much of Sleeps With Angels, where they demonstrate a deft touch. Which is to say, “Quit” and “How Ya Doin’?” sound much the same here as they do on AYP, where they were renamed “Quit (Don’t Say You Love Me)” and “Mr. Disappointment.” “Boom, Boom, Boom,” on the other hand, is a tad looser (and longer) than its AYP counterpart, “She’s a Healer,” while Neil’s quavering vocal sounds almost as if he’s trying to convince himself that he means what he’s singing. Tom Bray’s trumpet adds a welcome umlaut to both versions.

Thanks for the 1st impressions OGC!  Much appreciated insight into this critical missing link in the Neil Young  discography.  And yes we do recall your passionate defense of AYP? which you referred to as the s "The Stax Sessions" w/ Booker T. & The MGs.

Full review @ First Impressions: Toast by Neil Young with Crazy Horse | The Old Grey Cat.

"TOAST" & "Are You Passionate?" 

Also, see:

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At 7/12/2022 02:10:00 PM, Blogger Julia said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7/13/2022 11:45:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

I've been listening to Toast on ATMOS. Some may recall that Toast was recorded for 5.1 surround. ATMOS is as close as I think we can get to the original intent of the album. I recommend paying extra close attention to Ralph's playing. He is the unsung hero of this album. His playing is so masterfully creative that it almost invokes the Beatles. His textures hold so much to hear. And the production and mix really showcase his contributions so excellently. Usually I say that Poncho is Crazy Horse's unsung hero for what he brings to the songs. But this time it's pure Ralph, making this one of the most satisfying NYCH listens there is. To get this album at this particular point in the band's career is nothing short of a gift.

I would place the songs of 2001 in a pre-911 batch and a post-911 batch. The pre-911 batch are best represented by Toast. Post 9/11 you can pick the remaining songs from AYP and maybe add in Neil's live take of Imagine. After 9/11 it seems like Neil's focus shifted away from Pegi and more towards Amber and the future. But the Horse wins this one.

At 7/14/2022 03:47:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

You all have said it already. It is thrilling to hear Toast, & I always liked AYP? The 2 do add up to fit on 1 CD-R, all songs included except “Let’s Roll.” Poncho, Billy, and Ralph really deliver on this album. It raises their appraisal as musicians, absolutely! These guys are killing it. Pancho speaks of the Brazilian influence;I can hear that!

Such a great time to be a Neil Young fan! We are like the dragon laying on mountains of gold as seen in The Hobbit.

The Deep Purple comparison nails it. Standing in the Light of Love. I was hoping for the fossil fuel version!

Goin’ Home definitely has better sound, but the original has a relentless intensity, and a bit more danger. I say the original is better, if only the sound was improved! Can anyone confirm the new version is different, however mixed, than the one which was released on AYP?

Neil Young and Crazy Horse have outdone themselves! This album is a classic!

Brother Alan in Seattle

At 7/14/2022 03:58:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

Gateway of Love, the Spanish rhythm influence is fantastic! What a Band! What an Artist we are enjoying! Bro Alan in Seattle, sleepless?

At 7/14/2022 12:02:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Julia - why?

@ LRR - Yes, The Horse wins on TOAST. More specifically, Ralph wins on TOAST! His drumming is literally tribal on "Goin' Home".

Thanks LRR as always for sharing thoughts here on TW. Most appreciated as we understand that your LRR posts are the "wheat of rust".

@ Brother Alan - the album AYP? sums it all up. Your passion for Neil is palpable.

And -- if we can get Neil back on the road someday-- our offer stills stands. If we can get Brothers Alan, Johnathan, Dan, Ian @ TW summit for beers, we think we can achieve world peace.

Say what?! We're all just dreamin' men ... that's our problem.

At 7/14/2022 12:03:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ LRR - ps, CotM @

At 7/15/2022 02:39:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

@Thrasher : Of course we can meet up and throw back a few brews, and do as the locals do in Seattle. No fisticuffs necessary! I agree that Social media is dividing us and taking our attention away from the bigger picture issues. Like, can we live together?! Yes, that will be a lot of fun. There is a field. I will meet you in it. And we’re playing baseball! Wait, what?! Your Brother Alan In Seattle

At 7/15/2022 11:41:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

game on Brother Alan! See you in the fields.
cheers mate


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