Artist: Neil Young
Genre: Country, Folk-rock
Title: Neil Young
Released: 1968 (My copy is a reissue from 1969/70)
Label: Reprise Records
Musicians: Neil Young-guitar, vocals, piano, harmonica, vibes, Gregory Reeves-bass, Steven Stills-vocals, Nils Lofgren-piano, vocals, Billy Talbot-bass, Jack Nitzsche-piano, Ralph Molina-drums, vocals, Danny Whitten-guitars
Producer: Neil Young, David Briggs
Neil Young,(born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter and musician, producer, director and screenwriter. He began performing in a group covering Shadows instrumentals in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966, where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield together with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay, and later joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969. He released his first album in 1968 and has since forged a successful and acclaimed solo career, spanning over 45 years and 35 studio albums, with a continuous and uncompromising exploration of musical styles. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice, first as a solo artist in 1995, and second as a member of Buffalo Springfield in 1997.
Young’s music is characterized by his distinctive guitar work, deeply personal lyrics and characteristic alto or high tenor singing voice. Although he accompanies himself on several different instruments, including piano and harmonica, his idiosyncratic electric and acoustic guitar playing are the defining characteristics of a varying ragged and melodic sound.
While Young has experimented with differing music styles throughout a varied career, including electronic music, most of his best known work is either acoustic folk-rock and country rock or electric, amplified hard rock (most often in collaboration with the band Crazy Horse). Musical styles such as alternative rock and grunge also adopted elements from Young. His influence has caused some to dub him the “Godfather of Grunge”.
Young has directed (or co-directed) a number of films using the pseudonym Bernard Shakey, including Journey Through the Past (1973), Rust Never Sleeps (1979), Human Highway (1982), Greendale (2003), and CSNY/Déjà Vu (2008). He has also contributed to the soundtracks of films including Philadelphia (1993) and Dead Man (1995).
Young is an environmentalist and outspoken advocate for the welfare of small farmers, having co-founded in 1985 the benefit concert Farm Aid. In 1986, Young helped found The Bridge School, an educational organization for children with severe verbal and physical disabilities, and its annual supporting Bridge School Benefit concerts, together with his ex-wife Pegi Young (née Morton). Young has three children: sons Zeke (born during his relationship with actress Carrie Snodgress) and Ben, who were diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and daughter Amber Jean who, like Young, has epilepsy. Young lived on Broken Arrow Ranch, about a thousand acres near La Honda, California until his 2014 divorce from Pegi, when he gave her the ranch and moved to Los Angeles with his current partner, Daryl Hannah. Although he has lived in California since the 1970s and sings as frequently about U.S. themes and subjects as he does about his native country, he has retained his Canadian citizenship. On July 14, 2006, Young was awarded the Order of Manitoba and on December 30, 2009, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neil_Young
The album was originally released on November 12th, 1968. According to the notes on my copy of the LP, the first release used the Haeco-CSG encoding system. This technology was intended to make stereo records compatible with mono record players, but had the unfortunate side effect of degrading the sound in both stereo and mono.
Young was unhappy with the sound quality of the first release. The album was therefore remixed in the summer of 1969 (as announced in Rolling Stone #47, from December 13), and re-released without Haeco-CSG processing. The words “Neil Young” were added to the album cover after what was left of the original stock had been used up, so copies of both mixes exist in the original sleeve.
It seems the reissue did not help a lot because to my ears it still sounds a little off in the mix.
Highlights of the LP:
The Emperor of Wyoming – This is nice little country instrumental. I like it anyway.
The Loner – This is one of my favorites on this LP and of all time from Neil Young. This is his first solo single. It was released on his solo debut album in November 1968, and then an edited version as his debut solo single three months later on Reprise Records. It missed the Billboard Hot 100 chart completely, but over time has become a staple of his performance repertoire. “The Loner” was written while Buffalo Springfield was in its last throes. The widely held assumption that the song was written about Stephen Stills (who covered the song on his 1976 album Illegal Stills) can perhaps not be disproved (Young himself rarely provides clarity on such issues), but it is perhaps more likely that the song is autobiographical in nature, especially since Young was, of all Springfield members, the most bothered by playing as a member of a band.
Recorded with former Springfield member Jim Messina (bass) and George Grantham (drums) (they were uncredited on the album sleeve), it is the first Young track produced by David Briggs, with whom Young would collaborate until Briggs’s death. Strings were arranged by David Blumberg, whom Young met through Briggs. Young’s guitar is in Double drop D tuning; “psycho guitar noises” were made, according to Briggs, by putting the guitar through a Leslie speaker. The lyrics are characterized by dread and disorientation, coming from an “immobile protagonist” who “witnesses extraordinary visual displays”.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Loner_(Neil_Young_song)
I’ve Been Waiting For You – One of my favs – I like the keyboard in the back. This is kind of a CSN rock sounding tune. I’ve Been Waiting for You” is a song written by Neil Young for his debut solo album in 1968. David Bowie recorded a version of the song, which features Dave Grohl on guitar, for his Heathen album in 2002. The song has also been covered by the Pixies and released on the B-side of their single “Velouria”.
The Old Laughing Lady – This is a ballad of sorts with good lyrics. The bridge goes a bit up tempo with female backing vocals.
The only stand out for me is the last track: The Last Trip To Tulsa – This is one of those epic long songs we come to know Neil for. It clocks in at almost nine and a half minutes. the whole song is just acoustic guitar and vocals. It starts off kind of soft and then eventually gets harder. It was recorded raw with almost no effects and has a really good presence as a result.
The Loner live:
The Last Trip to Tulsa:https://youtu.be/EC82ewG-Qu0