Neil Young – Fireside Sessions IV (2020)

For Big Bear and Buddy

The fourth Fireside Session, shown at NYA, was recorded on May 7th, the birthday of my late father. The first song as usual performed by the outdoor fireplace. Early evening in the Coloradian mountains. The sky is big and yellow, not yet red. We get a nice rendition of “One of these days” from “Harvest moon”. Then, again, Neil fixes his harmonica holder on the old horse shoe. It needs maintenance!

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Neil Young – Hawks & Doves (1980)

Bumper stickers should be issued!

And so, it begins… The new decade gave us a new Neil. If the seventies were his golden era, the eighties brought us experimentation and some crazy twists and turns. He has said in interviews that he was searching for new ways to communicate. It got so strange that he actually got sued by his record company for uncharacteristic music. The background may have been that both Neil’s sons, Zeke and Ben, have cerebral palsy. Neil tried to find ways to communicate with his children and the challenges from his personal life crept into his art. Art is life, life is art. The very last album of the new decade would become his great “come-back” album, some nine years later, but before that we got some twists and turns.

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The Doors – Morrison Hotel (1970)

The end is always near

The fifth studio album by The Doors is kickstarted by a fantastic song, “Roadhouse blues”. It may be the song that turned me on The Doors in the first place. I love its sweaty sexiness.

But one great song doesn’t make up my mind of a whole album. My ratings are on the complete album, mind you. As I spin this LP in preparation for my top list of the year of 1970, I consider it as a whole. What is it that draws me towards The Doors? 

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Paul McCartney – McCartney (1970)

Maybe I’m unamazed

Macca’s first solo album is a collection of leftover songs from the Beatles era and some new ones. It seems to be a collection of home demos. According to the internets the songs were recorded on a four track machine. All instruments are played by Paul, with some help from Linda on backing vocals. I really liked this album black in the eighties when I started to hang out with my friend Mr Magic who was and is a huge Beatles fan. How would it stand up the test of time and my slowly evolving musical taste?

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Deep Purple – Deep Purple in rock (1970)

Wait for the ricochet 

My introduction to Deep Purple came via a music group talent competition in my home town back in the eighties. A local group with a fantastic singer did “Child in time” as one of their numbers. Each band would play a handful of songs and then the audience voted which bands would go through to the next level. I was there mostly for my friends that did a set of Cure covers. They called themselves “The Funeral Party”. They didn’t win it all but we had a blast. The band with “Child in time” was one of my favourites due to the song and the performance of that young man. After that I soon found a used copy of “Live in Japan” and that was my ticket into Deep Purple.

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Neil Young – Fireside Sessions II (2020)

Snow angels 

The second Fireside Session was recorded a mere week after the first one and now the snow was deep in the Mountains of Colorado. Neil plays “Four strong winds” in a profusely snowfall. But it is still, no strong wind in sight. Daryl makes snow angels. A strange situation we all are in now. How beautiful life is but it is not nice with a pandemic.

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Neil Young – Fireside Sessions I (2020)

A gift was given

Celebrating Neil Youngs fantastic website Neil Young Archives, NYA, I am going to write about the “in the moment”-home videos Neil has released recently.

Neil and wife and camera person Daryl Hannah have recorded short films with Neil playing songs in the home or around his ranch up in the mountains of Colorado. They are called “Fireside Sessions” as he is sitting at fireplaces outdoor or in the living room. This first one was recorded in March, when it was snow in the air. 

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Neil Young – Hitchhiker (2017)

Looking for the D.J.’s daughter

Recorded during the full moon night of August 11, 1976, at Indigo Ranch Recording Studio in Malibu, California, Neil sits alone with a guitar. Old friend David Briggs at the mixing desk. During one of Neil’s most creative periods ever, the songs poured out of him. Sometimes a song was created on the spot right in front of David’s eyes (“Pocahontas”). In between recording songs Neil only stopped to consume beer, weed or coke. Ahh, those were the times.

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