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Friday, November 04, 2022

Comment of the Moment: The Essentials - On the Beach by Neil Young

Rare "On The Beach" Poster with Neil facing camera
 (Click photo to enlarge)

Recently, we posted on The Essentials: On the Beach by Neil Young | The Old Grey Cat where the album OTB is the critical link in Neil Young's "Ditch Trilogy/Quadrilogy".

Here is Comment of the Moment by Kevin D. in Morro Bay:

"The Essentials" well said Old Grey Cat and another great article by our favorite cat. 

On The Beach was the third maybe fourth Neil album I bought after the triple play of EKTIN, AGT and Harvest. To say it was a surprise was an under statement. 

Truth be told after that initial triple play I was more than a little confused lets say after my first play of this wonderful album. With each listen I got deeper into it and for me it truly is an essential album. One of the first things I remember noticing when I bought the album second hand around 1975 or so was the pattern from the underside of the umbrella is on the inside of the record cover (not gate fold) but the back side of the actual record cover normally cardboard. Nice touch! 

All the folks I played it too never gave it to much thought as their view was it was a downer to listen to. To each their own the more I played the more I agreed with Rusty Kershaw's comment on the inner sleeve - " there is good music in this album". 

As the years went by I also invested in the DVD-A which saves my album from too much abuse. With the gallery scrolling and the music playing and a brew by my side - life is good. No honey slides necessary but always an option. 

So take advantage of this time before the mother load of Harvest 50 comes out in December and follow the Old Grey Cat's advice and give this album a spin, you won't regret it. 

Kevin D. in Morro Bay 

Thanks for the thoughts here  Kevin! 

We sense a surge in relevance of On the Beach to the these times in which we live.  The parallels between the 1970's and today are unmistakable to all but those  asleep and unaware of the pending Big Shift.

More on Neil Young's "Ditch Trilogy/Quadrilogy".

Neil Young's "Ditch Quadrilogy" 
(see Neil Young's "Ditch Quadrilogy" Re-Re-Release is Finally Coming! Official Release Series Discs 5-8 (4CD): May 12, 2017 Release)


Also, see:


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At 11/04/2022 02:45:00 PM, Blogger willforestwater said...

Rusty Kershaw, who played slide guitar on Motion Pictures and fiddle on Ambulance Blues had a lot to do with the sound of this album. And the honey slides that also influenced much of the music!

If you've never listened to him check out his album 'Now and Then'. Neil Young and Ben Keith are all over most of the songs.

At 11/04/2022 03:36:00 PM, Blogger Kevin D. said...

WOW - comment of the moment - thanks Thrasher a real honor!

@willforestwater - yes Rusty's album "Now and Then" a real hidden gem.

As far as the "Ditch Trilogy/Quadrilogy" is concerned I wasn't able to get Time Fades Away till later in 1976/77 and by then it had already been out of print in the UK (where I grew up) and proving difficult to find. I got a 1st pressing second hand copy from a small record store in Stroud, Gloucesteshire called "The Trading Place" along with a copy of the JTP soundtrack which was also difficult to find by that time. I mentioned to the folks there I was looking for these two albums and next time I was there (I tended to go every Saturday morning) they had both, now that is service!

Anyway thanks again Thrasher really appreciate comment of the moment.

Kevin D. in Morro Bay

At 11/04/2022 04:15:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

The 2nd side of On The Beach (older folks understand what I mean) may be the greatest side of an album ever put out there for human consumption. 3 songs, each one more dreary than the one before it. Neil, Rusty Kershaw, Ben Keith, Ralphie. That was the core that created morose greatness. The whole album is essential Neil, but man, I wore that 2nd side OUT back in the day. Screw Harvest, this is the album that deserves a 50 year celebration when the time comes.

At 11/04/2022 06:36:00 PM, Blogger Still young said...

Started out on the Neil train in 1966 and rolled on till TFA ,found it vey introspective and then OTB really lost me.I was 21 and living. youthful dream and this music just wasn’t cutting it.Stayed away till I heard Hurricane ,blew me away and got me back on the train ,went back and caught up on what I had missed Zuma and TNTN are still among my favourites but I still carry my first impressions even though I realise the brilliance of both albums in Neil’s musical skills in expression of his emotions.I was obviously too immature to really understand life’s reality..Been on the ride ever since and have truly appreciated his insights and his musical brillance.Long may we both run

At 11/05/2022 07:00:00 AM, Blogger Ron said...

As one of the 'older folks' I am definitely in agreement with Richie on side 2 of On The Beach. It took me a while to get there though - I don't think I quite knew what to make of the album when I first got it. Really cool cover but as a young teenager most of the tracks were unlike anything else I had heard. See The Sky About To Rain and maybe Revolution Blues were more immediately accessible but overall I wasn't sure about it and once TTN and especially Zuma came out I was much more likely to listen to them. It was only in later years that I returned to OTB and further listening led to me gradually starting to appreciate its subtleties and then I was hooked and like Ritchie I must have almost worn out side 2.

A few years back I started a new job and as part of introducing you to the team you had to tell them your favourite food, holiday destination, film etc., and one category was album. Well it had to be A Neil album, but which one should I choose? After much deliberation I finally went for On The Beach and it was the 2nd side that clinched the decision.

I love Rusty Kershaw's playing on OTB so now I am going to have to check out his album Now and Then - I wasn't aware of it so thanks @willforestwater

At 11/07/2022 02:55:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ willforestwater - thanks for Rusty Kershaw shout out.

Not familiar w/ his album 'Now and Then'. But w/ Neil and Ben, seems like a good suggestion to check out.

@ Kevin D. - pleasure is ours. It is you the reader that makes this all possible.

@ Richie - it does seem that the 2nd side of On The Beach has shaped up to be one of neil's finest stretches. Can't go wrong w/ that B side.

@ Still young - thanks. and stay forever young too.

@ Ron - The greatest B side ever ?

At 11/08/2022 03:46:00 AM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

A little more On The Beach talk (I could go all day discussing this album, btw)....

Just saw an article about Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth, and she mentions the title track as her personal favorite Neil song. Nick Cave and Kim Gordon. Always trust the musicians on this stuff, kids.

One thing about On The Beach which may explain why it took a little while longer to appreciate for some is that it's not really an album to be played at parties or even amongst a group of friends, unlike many of Neil's classics. It's a record that really required a more solitary listening. The songs are so personal and introspective, yet so relatable to any of us who know heartbreak, pain, depression. I think it always worked better when I was by myself within myself. This is Neil totally open and exposed, the results are breathtaking, especially that magical 2nd side.

And speaking of that, honorable Thrasher, I wouldn't call it a b-side. That term was usually said in reference to a 45 single, not a LP. No big deal, but I had to say it. Of course, once again I may be showing my age as there might be some younger Neil fans here who have no idea what a 45 record is, ha ha. I won't even mention 8-tracks!

At 11/08/2022 02:08:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Richie, catching up on your comments. I totally agree. The album, the songs, require the solitary listen. One has to become entirely involved with the mood, the lyrics, the progression.

I think the three monster tracks are my favorite Neil songs on an album. Ambulance Blues is as good as it gets.

See the Sky About to Rain blew me away when I was younger and it still creeps around the edges of my consciousness as I see rain coming. Beautiful idea and metaphor.

At 11/08/2022 03:39:00 PM, Blogger Richie Cruz said...

Abner, for decades now I've been asked by others what's my favorite Neil song. I find it impossible to pick just one, mainly because my moods change by the day, but I will say one thing for sure. Ambulance Blues has a permanent spot in the Top 3. Always.

The hours I spent in a dark room listening to those 3 songs over and over again. Maybe I should have cracked open the shades once in awhile, but I was too deep into the vibe with Neil. Somehow this depressing music refreshed me.

At 11/08/2022 04:38:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Refreshing for me as well. "You're all just pissing in the wind." Truth is refreshing

At 11/09/2022 02:43:00 PM, Blogger Dionys said...

Are there more of those, I mean NY records that require a solitary listening environment? SWA comes to mind.

At 11/09/2022 03:24:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Richie - yes, you're right on B sides relative to 45s and albums.

How about OTB the best 2nd LP vinyl album side of all time? Or top 10?


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