Absolute homegrown ephemera gold courtesy of a 1972 Germany documentary which finds Neil Young in a honey slide haze on his fabled Broken Arrow Ranch, work-shopping “Out on the Weekend” (endearingly amused by his own lyrics), and hanging with Elliot Roberts, the fellas, the dogs, and the cows.
Neil Young’s Harvest turned 50 this month — and thanks to hits like “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man,” the 1972 LP remains one of the songwriter’s signature efforts. To hear it with fresh ears, step into the barn with Neil one more time and check out this decades-spanning, re-imagined version of the album, compiled out of ranch rambles, live arrangements, fireside sessions, and even a little chicken coop jam.
After a somewhat, er, “shakey” start, the online home of the Neil Young Archives has hit its stride. The past year has seen an incredible array of previously unavailable material show up for subscribers to enjoy. Outtakes stretching back to the Buffalo Springfield days, full live shows available to stream, rare films … All this and Neil himself regularly answering your questions in the Letters to the Editor column. Suffice to say, if you’re a fan of the man, you should consider signing up for the Archives. Below, we’ve got a small sampler mix of some of the goodies — plus a few things that haven’t made it to the NYA just yet.
Crazy Horse’s Frank “Poncho” Sampedro joined up with Neil Young in 1973 and remained firmly in place until 2014. He joins Aquarium Drunkard’s Tyler Wilcox for a look back at his time in the Horse—at times dosed, at times dazed, but always tapped into the mythic rock and roll spirit that drove the band.
This hour of Radio Free Aquarium Drunkard features a sampling of that good stuff: live cuts, b-sides, demos, outtakes, rarities and beyond, stretching from 1969 to 2020. There’s even a dance mix thrown in there for all the Cinnamon Girls out there. Fry up a few honey slides and enjoy.
Two notable Neil Young dates this week — the man’s 75th birthday today and the 45th anniversary of his classic Zuma LP this past Tuesday. To celebrate, dig into a 40-minute live megamix of “Danger Bird,” one of Zuma’s most thoroughly awesome cuts. It’s primarily a Crazy Horse showcase, but there’s also room made for an exceedingly rare solo piano outing. “Danger Bird” is the sound of massive wings flapping, tectonic plates shifting, mountains forming. In a live setting, it’s only grown in stature, as the Horse soars like a shadow in the sky …
Neil Young’s long lost Homegrown is a worthy addition to the songwriter’s famed “Ditch” period, sharing with those other lps a heavy sense of loneliness, loss and heartache (as well as some of the boozy joy). But it’s a distinct effort, too, filled with its own melancholy and mystery.
We’ll have plenty more to say about Homegrown proper in the upcoming weeks. But for now, take a listen to a mix of tunes from the album that have made their way into Young’s live repertoire over the years, plus a few added rarities. Let it ring!
After The Gold Rush’s downbeat-but-irrepressibly melodic songs would also find their way into the repertoire of many other artists. Hoping For A Replacement re-creates the album using a selection of these covers. There are future superstars, like Bette Midler and Linda Ronstadt. And then there are more obscure names, like Hookfoot, Julie Mairs and the Dutch band Teenmakers, whose “Southern Man” you have to hear to believe.
It’s looking more and more likely that Neil Young will release Homegrown in early 2020. Of course, it’s easy to be skeptical—Neil has been teasing this long-lost 1975 masterpiece for the past decade at least. But there appears to be a test pressing, which is promising! First, a little background from some of the key players.
So we didn’t exactly get Year of the Horse, part II in 2019. But we did get another Neil Young and Crazy Horse album, Colorado, released a little over 50 years after Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere introduced the world to this extraordinary pairing. Amazingly, three out of the four musicians who made that epochal 1969 LP are still onboard – and together they still sound like no one else….
Intentional or not, Neil Young picked a rather poignant time to release a live album recorded in Alabama—and given his prickly history with the state (and with the South at large), Tuscaloosa feels like it’s arriving in the same way that so much of Shakey’s career has: just when we need it.
Since the launch of his NeilYoungArchives.com site, fans have been tantalized by several unreleased work, many of which feature Crazy Horse in starring roles. Check out what’s (possibly) in store…
Even if bootleg hunters already know this stuff backward and forward, Songs For Judy is an essential addition to the official canon. It captures Young in brilliantly loose form, rambling but righteous, a fine companion to Neil’s other recent solo acoustic ’76 vault release, Hitchhiker. An artist at his peak. Or at least one of his peaks, anyway.
Josh Tillman takes on Tonight’s The Night, Neil Young’s dark night of the soul, in its entirety…
Recorded in 2010.
“Well, late at night, when the people were gone, he used to pick up my guitar. And sing a song in a shaky voice that was real as the day was long.”