Neil Young and baseball have a lot in common. They’ve both been around for years and have constantly evolved and changed throughout.
I thought Neil Young was old in 1988 when he released,”Rockin’ in The Free World”. Who was this old guy tearing it up on a sound stage? He looked like he didn’t belong among the Bon Jovi crowd. That song has now found its way in the encore of every Neil Young concert since.
Ragged Glory was released in 1990 and it was my first introduction into the sound of Crazy Horse. With its thundering guitars and gang vocal shouts, Crazy Horse has been credited with giving birth to Garage Rock and plaid shirts. “Mansion on the Hill” still finds its way onto our ipod cranked at ear splitting level.
Crazy Horse is Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina, Frank Sampedro and of course Neil Young. They are a band. One Unit. The equivalent of stampeding horses charging across some barren plain to a destination we don’t quite know yet.
Neil Young has a way of reinventing himself each decade. 2012 is the start of this reinvention again.
Americana is the first Crazy Horse cd since 2003’s Greendale. it marks the first with the complete lineup since 1996’s Broken Arrow.
What makes Americana a special entity is it visits such American classic folk songs like Clementine, Oh Susannah and This land is Your Land.
What’s Crazy Horse doing playing children’s songs? This, from a band who sang the immortal lyrics,”Hey Hey, my my, Rock n Roll can never die.”
Well, if there is any questioning about it, they answer it with that same forceful stampede across the plain rumble that only Crazy Horse can do.
The sad lament of Clementine is brought to the forefront and stripped away from the upbeat childhood diddy we all remember.
Do you remember Gallow’s Pole from the mighty Led Zep? Crazy Horse adds the paranoia of death looming before a hanging,'”Papa, bring me silver? Did you bring me gold? Did you come to see me hangin by the gallows pole?”
Every album has that one great song that blasts through the stillness of a humid summer day. Crazy Horse brings the cover of Billy Grammer’s,”Travel On” and transforms it into a great companion piece to their classic “Country Home” from the Ragged Glory cd.
Neil Young and Crazy Horse dissect Americana rebuild it and rename it after themselves.
Hell, they even do God Save The Queen.
The thing is that all the songs in their childhood versions that we remember were watered down almost concealing hidden truths about our nation that we were afraid to question.
Hopefully, Roger Clemens bought an itunes card and blasted Americana as he drove with the windows down across a barren plain on his way to Cooperstown. Fading away.
Long May You Run, Crazy Horse. Long May You Run, Neil. Rock N Roll will never die.
Hey, Hey My My.
****1/2 out of five