Neil Young – Homegrown (2020)

Plant that bell and let it ring

It is very entertaining to be a Neil Young fan. He change his mind as often as he makes plans. It’s a roller-coaster with a lot of waiting for albums that may or may not come out on time. It will be released in July is always the answer.

Recorded finished albums gets shelved and new stuff is done in days and released in a rush. He has an archive of unreleased stuff, both highly sought after studio material as well as a mother load of live stuff. One of the most famous unreleased albums is “Homegrown” from 1975. It was finished and almost out the door… The story is that when he was to play the record for the Band, he instead played songs from another album, “Tonight’s the night” that was recorded in 1973. So instead of releasing “Homegrown” in 1975 “Tonight’s the night” was let loose on the world. Neil said in an interview that he felt the “Homegrown” album was to personal…

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Neil Young – Everybody’s rockin’ (1983)

Never to be heard on the radio

“Everybody’s rockin’” was the second album on Geffen Records and now it got even more crazy. This is a true rockabilly album. Think 50’s rock. Amazing that Neil did this to his friend David Geffen. I for one am not a fan of this genre. Hate is a strong word and not to be used for reviews of music, but I really don’t like that type of music. How is it then when my musical hero Neil does it? Something must give…

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Neil Young – Trans (1982)

Who put the bomb on the sacred altar?

“Trans” is the true litmus test of all of Neil’s albums. It is often only understood by the most die hard fans. Am I right? Most casual fans love his more commercial, his more artistic, or simply put – his better albums, but the die hard fans enjoy this mostly because it is different. And so the “Geffen years” began.

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Neil Young – Fireside Sessions Barnyard Edition (2020)

All together

The things I love the most with NYA? I love the “Hearse Theater” with all the films of unreleased and released live concerts. I love the “Letters to the Editor” where the man himself answers letters from the fans. And I love these “Fireside Sessions” that keeps popping up as welcoming surprises. And remember, Neil has made the whole site free during the pandemic.

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Neil Young – Re*ac*tor (1981)

Got mashed potatoes

“Reactor” is a true Crazy Horse album but as such it is a little off, a little jarring. As the second studio album of the eighties it continues the road towards the most strange Neil records of all time. This record feels a little bit edgy, metallic, less warm, it’s an industrial feeling. You can also hear some signs of the development that will lead to the next album “Trans”… Machines at work in the background.

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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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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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