November 12: Neil Young is 75 today – Singing 6 Bob Dylan songs

The only time it bothered me that someone sounded like me was when I was living in Phoenix, Arizona, in about ’72 and the big song at the time was “Heart of Gold.” I used to hate it when it came on the radio. I always liked Neil Young, but it bothered me every time I listened to “Heart of Gold.” I think it was up at number one for a long time, and I’d say, “Shit, that’s me. If it sounds like me, it should as well be me.
-Bob Dylan (to Scott Cohen, September 1985)

Neil Percival Young (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After embarking on a music career in the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and others. Young had released two solo albums and three as a member of Buffalo Springfield by the time he joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969. From his early solo albums and those with his backing band Crazy Horse, Young has recorded a steady stream of studio and live albums, sometimes warring with his recording company along the way.

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September 19: Neil Young released After The Gold Rush in 1970 – 50 year anniversary

After the Gold Rush is the third studio album by Neil Young, released in September 1970 on Reprise Records. Gold Rush consists mainly of country folk music, along with the rocking “Southern Man”, inspired by the Dean Stockwell-Herb Bermann screenplay After the Gold Rush.

“While David Crosby yowls about assassinations, Young divulges darker agonies without even bothering to make them explicit. Here the gaunt pain of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere fills out a little—the voice softer, the jangling guitar muted behind a piano. Young’s melodies—every one of them—are impossible to dismiss. He can write ‘poetic’ lyrics without falling flat on his metaphor even when the subject is ecology or crumbling empire. And despite his acoustic tenor, he rocks plenty. A real rarity: pleasant and hard at the same time.” A+
– Robert Christgau (Consumer Guide ’70s)

Only love can break your heart:

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September 19: Daniel Lanois was born in 1951 – here are 8 of his best produced albums

Daniel Lanois was born September 19, 1951 in Hull, Quebec, he is a Canadian record producer, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter.

Daniel Lanois has released several albums of his own work. However, he is best known for producing albums for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Peter Gabriel, Emmylou Harris and Willie Nelson. Three albums produced or co-produced by Lanois have won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Four other albums received Grammy nominations.

I have picked 8 favourites among his great work, listed in chronological order:

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August 29: Warren Zevon released Sentimental Hygiene in 1987

warren_zevon-sentimental_hygiene(virgin)

“I read things I didn’t know I’d done,
It sounded like a lot of fun.”
– Warren Zevon

“I write each song individually and each one calls for individual musicians, You sit around and wonder who can we get to play a Neil Young solo, and then you realize there`s a good chance you can get Neil himself.”
– Warren Zevon

Warren Zevon fell off the wagon after the release of The Envoy, he waited five years before releasing an album, the pause seemed to have done him good, as Sentimental Hygiene (released 29. August 1987) was one of his strongest albums.

Sentimental Hygiene was my first Warren Zevon record, I have since gotten everything I could find by him and about him, official as well as “un-official” releases, vhs, dvds and books. Warren Zevon has been a favourite of mine since Sentimental Hygiene met my ears.

There are lots of guests on the album, Bob Dylan (harmonica on The Factory), David Lindley, Neil Young (lead guitar on the title track), Brian Setzer, Don Henley and George Clinton, but the main players here are Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Bill Berry of R.E.M. (and Michael Stipe also guested on a song…I think). They provide Zevon with a very solid back-up band, he sounds fresh and invigorated through the whole record. Warren Zevon sounded more rock’n roll than in quite a while, and he was introduced to a new audience (me included).

Here Zevon describes how it was working with Bob Dylan (July 17, 1987 – Late Night with David Letterman and May 25, 2000 – BBC Radio 1):

As always he was funny as hell!

Sentimental Hygiene (official video):

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August 16: Sleeps with Angels by Neil Young and Crazy Horse was released in 1994

 

When dreams come crashing down like trees
I don’t know what love can do
When life is hanging in the breeze
I don’t know what love can do
My heart, my heart, I’ve got to keep my heart

 

August 16: Sleeps with Angels by Neil Young and Crazy Horse was released in 1994

 

This is an album that ranks among Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s best, and in effect it is “Tonight’s the night part 2”. It is a dark, brooding masterpiece, with many of the same themes as “Tonight’s…”. It is a record than explain to us why Neil Young have earned the honorary title, The Grunge Godfather.

Sleeps with angels (official video):

Sleeps With Angels is the twenty-second studio album by  Neil Young, his sixth with Crazy Horse, it was released on the Warner Bros. Records/Reprise (same as Tonight’s the Night by the way) label.

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August 8: Neil Young released “Like A Hurricane” in 1977, Watch 5 great live versions

Neil-Young-Like-A-Hurricane-810x808

Once I thought I saw you
in a crowded hazy bar,
Dancing on the light
from star to star.
Far across the moonbeam
I know that’s who you are,
I saw your brown eyes
turning once to fire.

You are like a hurricane
There’s calm in your eye.
And I’m gettin’ blown away
To somewhere safer
where the feeling stays.
I want to love you but
I’m getting blown away.

This brilliant song (one of his best) was recorded on November 29, 1975 @ Broken Arrow Ranch, Woodside CA.

It was released as a single on August 8, 1977 & included on the album American Stars ‘n Bars (1977).

  • Neil Young – Lead guitar and lead vocals
  • Frank “Poncho” Sampedro – Stringman synthesizer and background vocals
  • Billy Talbot – Bass guitar and background vocals
  • Ralph Molina – Drums and background vocals

Produce by Neil Young, David Briggs & Tim Mulligan.

Studio version:

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