When did I hear Neil Young for the first time in my life? How curios to not know such a thing. Is this the life I lead? Remembering unimportant things, but one of the most important moments in life is lost, like tears in the rain.
The first song I can remember tripping out on was the acoustic live version of “Cowgirl in the sand” from “4 way street”. His self-titled first album “Neil Young”, however, came to me much later. I imagine it was not even among the first ten albums I got in my LP collection (the first collection that is).
Okey, so I got to experience this album a long time after I found His Highness. Neil’s debut album is quite uneven and not a record that I have played as much. But as his first try as a solo artist, the results are very good. The album feels like a true Neil Young record. It could so easily have been a collection of songs sounding like someone else, something borrowed. But luckily the album has its own identity and Neil’s soul shines through.
“The loner” stand out as one of the most well-known songs, an often-used rocker at his live shows. However, I think it stands in the shadow of “Cinnamon girl”, another shortish rocker from the era (from the album “Everybody knows this is nowhere”).
Some of the lesser tracks sound like lightweight sixties pop songs. “I’ve been waiting for you” was revived when Bowie did a cover of it on his 2002 album “Heathen”. It has it’s worth with a very nice melody and chorus plus some whiney guitars.
In the end, the slower tracks are more interesting to me. The two tracks at the end of each side stand out. “The old laughing lady” and “The last trip to Tulsa” are both classic Neil.
His songs often have complex and somewhat un-welcoming song structure, as these two. But maybe that is the reason such songs survive the test of time and become favourites in my mind?
“The last trip to Tulsa” showcases Neil’s wonderful and mystifying lyrics. What is it about? He’s the painter of pictures in my head. It’s a dreamy and surreal song. The lyrics is just like a stream of dream sequences, they are not to be analysed literally. Neil alone with the guitar makes a classic and it’s the song from his debut album I cherish most.
The ending is the best “… I chopped down the palm tree, and it landed on his back.”
- The Emperor of Wyoming
- The Loner
- If I could have her tonight
- I’ve been waiting for you
- The old laughing lady
- String quartet from Whiskey Boot Hill
- Here we are in the years
- What did you do to my life?
- I’ve loved her so long
- The last trip to Tulsa
Best songs: “The loner”, “The old laughing lady”, “The last trip to Tulsa”.
Produced by: Neil Young, David Briggs, Jack Nitzsche and Ry Cooder
Released on January 22, 1969