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Friday, July 08, 2022

"TOAST" Finally Pops: Unreleased 2001 album by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse

Neil Young Unreleased 2001 Album w/ Crazy Horse 

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Today, "TOAST" -- the  unreleased 2001 album by Neil Young w/ Crazy Horse -- finally pops.

Last week, the song "Timberline" from Neil Young's unreleased 2001 album "Toast" with Crazy Horse album premiered on Neil Young's archive website.


Toast Track Listing
01. Quit... 5:24
02. Standing in the Light of Love 4:18
03. Goin Home... 7:52
04. Timberline... 4:10
05. Gateway of Love ...10:10
06. How Ya Doin (Mr.Disappointment)... 7:00
07. Boom Boom Boom (She's A Healer)...13:10

You might think, given that premise, that Toast would replace the in-the-pocket smokiness of Are You Passionate? highlights like “Quit” and “Mr. Disappointment” (retitled “How Ya Doin’” here) with Crazy Horse’s familiar unrefined squall. 

Instead, the alternate versions demonstrate that Young had the understated R&B of Are You Passionate? in mind before he ever hired the M.G.s to play it, and that Crazy Horse was better than anyone could have reasonably expected at delivering the sorts of grooves he was after.

 From The Arts Desk: 

"Often vague or judderingly on the nose in his subsequent prolific, patchy 21st century, this music is a complete, conjured emotional place, Young and his faithful band in equilibrium as he confesses his wracked position."

(Thanks David R.!) 

Comment of the Moment: PREMEIRE: "Timberline" from Neil Young's unreleased 2001 album "Toast" w/ Crazy Horse

Also, see Comment of the Moment on "Toast" - A Roadstory: Neil Young Shares Thoughts on Unreleased 2001 Album by Tony "Hambone" Hammond in the UK.  (See  "Toast" - A Roadstory: Neil Young Shares Thoughts on Unreleased 2001 Album.)

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

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

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At 7/08/2022 02:10:00 PM, Blogger RedSun Dunn said...

Absolutely the best Crazy Horse recording ever. I said it. The pre released versions suffered quality but the sound is so alive just like Neil said on the official release. Most exciting release in many many years in my opinion

At 7/08/2022 02:13:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Toast is Hot!

Worth the price just to know CH could play like that!

I can understand how some might have wanted them to be way different.

But we can’t have our way with every lost/found album.

I will be buying this today.

Brother Alan

At 7/08/2022 04:33:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

Other observations: Neil Young in his comment on vinyl's comeback in recent years mentions that there are production capacities in Czechia that survived both the CD and the streaming onslaught. The European copies of "Toast" obviously were manufactured in Czechia, at least that's what the label says. While one has to be grateful that the technology survived there, I do have issues with the quality of the vinyl and the packaging. The first disc's rotation hole was not cleaned, so be careful when spinning it the first time. The record also is not exactly flat, suggesting that there was some deformation post-production. At first I thought it to a quirky thing that my copy not only held printed inner sleeves with Lyrics that were not used, but also generic white inner sleeves which contained the discs. On closer examination I found that the printed regular inner sleeves are mistakingly glued together on part of the open side and can't be used properly, hence the surrogate sleeves.

At 7/08/2022 04:54:00 PM, Blogger Tomatron said...

Dio, sorry to hear about your issues with the vinyl packaging. Vinyl is the best, but it’s become a gamble lately concerning quality of materials and sound. I don’t see the same quality control they had when records were the primary means to consume new music. The additional paper sleeves are a plus. I’ve been seeing them more and more, especially with new reissues; collectors don’t have to worry about damage to the printed sleeve that may occur when the record is stored in it. Have not listened to my vinyl copy yet, but it looks to be in good shape. I am a big fan of the final artwork design. The gloom does loom.

At 7/08/2022 05:52:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

I really believe that the factory in Czechia is a left-over of the old cold war era industry. Travelling as a West-German in the eastern block countries you were subject to compulsory exchange of western currencies because these countries always were desperate for internationally tradable currencies to buy western stuff, they themselves were not able to produce. So at the end of a trip you always had a lot of cash left that was of no use elsewhere. One option was to buy records (and in East Germany also books), mostly classical stuff. While the music in itself of course was of comparable quality the technical quality of the product was not. These glitches with "Toast" are all too familiar. I did not know about these additional paper sleeves nowadays being a common phenomenon.

At 7/08/2022 06:45:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Initial Toast impressions--the highlight: Gateway of Love. Propulsive rhythm and the Horse harmonies on the choruses are hair-raising. They actually remind me of CSN, which got me thinking: if the boys had ever decided to follow up the "Looking Forward" album, Gateway of Love would have been a fantastic flagship song. As awesome as the Horse sounds here, the thought of Neil and Steve trading licks on this one gives me chills.

"If I could live my life, easy as a song, I'd wake up one day and the pain would all be gone." If you've ever seen a loved one going through pain and struggles in their life, that's wrenching. Thanks, btw, to NY or whomever made the call to print the lyrics in the CD insert. The vocals are occasionally flaky; I initially had a little trouble picking out words for Timberline.

On the whole, however, the clarity of sound is supreme . Goin' Home, in particular, is a revelation, after years of the muddy, slightly stifled AYP? mix. Billy Talbot's bass has breadth and body, the vocals are beautifully raw, and you can hear those little piano passages clear as a bell. On AYP?, I'm betting some folks didn't even notice a piano was buried in there. The tradeoff: we lose the wild, abrupt ending of the previous version in favor of an earlier fade. The track only loses about a minute, but I kinda miss that ragged (glory) edge.

Astrid and Pegi Young's backing vocals caught me by surprise and, without laboring the point, are touching to hear these days. Didn't realize they were on these sessions, but it makes sense as Neil brought them in with the Friends and Relatives tour circa 2000. Although the sound of the album is generally loose--occasionally bordering on raw--it's interesting how close some of the arrangements are to AYP? Clearly, someone had a sound in mind for these cuts.

On Boom Boom Boom/She's a Healer, the keyboard and trumpet passages are more textured, soulful, and--dare I say it?--slinky than what we got on AYP? For this song specifically, there's no way I could ever choose one version over the other. The M.G.'s take smokes. The Horse's version stews and simmers.

Final word of advice: listen on good headphones, and try to keep the volume just low enough not to cause permanent hearing damage.

At 7/08/2022 10:33:00 PM, Blogger Thomas said...

After maybe 15 full listens (it came out 36hrs ago in Australia) I’d agree with a previous post re: Toast being the strongest 21st century Neil album
Or at least equal to Psychedelic Pill
To hear the Horse forge new musical pathways together is an absolute joy

At 7/09/2022 08:53:00 AM, Blogger downbutnotout said...

Great album, we've waited a long time (21) years to be precise. Shame they could't manage to print the spine on the cd properly.The 'L' is missing-Nei Young with Crazy Horse! On my copy anyway.

At 7/09/2022 09:34:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

"Pitchfork" is annoying and mostly worthless. If you read reviews with any regularity, it is easy to predict "ratings" (this album gets a 6.2). Reviewers write drivel about lyrics and music, while trying their best to sound sophisticated. what a joke.

At 7/11/2022 02:16:00 PM, Blogger David Rart said...

In my little opinion the version of Goin Home on AYP is far better, more urgent, live sounding, more rocking, better battle drums pounding, this version is slacker, and as someone else said missed the fantastic sudden ending where it is as if Neil accidentally broke a bunch of strings on Old Black. Still, it is good to hear it in context.

Otherwise it is fascinating to get a sense of why NY gave up on this project in favour of AYP. The AYP songs are clearly all different in style than the more obvious Crazy Horse tracks. At this point in 2001 he had enough songs for two half records and it wasn't the first or last time he bodged ill-fitting songs together to fill something out. In fact, it seems to me that the only reason he put Goin Home on AYP was because it was such a good song, though even there it doesn't sit well with the pace and different style of the other songs.

Do others still get a sense this still isn't the final picture of this time, that Neil has kept more back? Every time he goes into the vaults the track listing surprise us all, and often don't align with previously known or assumed track lists. I recall, for example, seeing Neil perform an incredible version of When I Hold You In My Arms with Crazy Horse in London in 2001. Live it was a much more dynamic song than the AYP version. I always assumed there must be a Toast version too.

Gateway of Love was fantastic live that summer too, a highlight of the set, incredible to hear it now, perhaps the best full Crazy Horse workout on record in the post Briggs era.

At 7/12/2022 12:02:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

The AYP? album benefited from--or, arguably, needed--the edgy rawness of something like Goin' Home, to give the album's structure some energy and tension in contrast to a lot of the mellower Booker T. cuts. Yeah, I do miss the freaky ending on Goin' Home, but find the clarity of Toast's sound fantastic.

In the past, I've described the AYP? album with the analogy of someone taking pages from three or four different books and binding them together in a somewhat haphazard fashion, so the point about fragmentation-- NY having two half-albums (EPs?) and Frankenstein-ing them together-- does resonate. As a question of form, contrast or juxtaposition sometimes brings out the best in works of art. Sometimes, it just create confusion and incoherence. In the case of Toast & AYP?, I think the effect is some of both. But then, I would argue that any album containing songs like Let's Roll and AYP? is not designed to be an entirely comfortable listening experience.

It's quite possible NY + CH worked on some other tracks in 2001, early versions of other AYP? songs. Maybe more outtakes will turn up when we get to NYA vol. 4 or 5.


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