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Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/27/03
The BBC has an interesting review (7/14/03) of the On The Beach re-release:
Thirty years on this remains an essential album if you ever want to get even the slightest glimpse of what makes Young an enigma and a genius.
The reader comments which follow the review are just as interesting:
Neil Young is about as interesting as a brick and all you old hippies out there should get out of the seventies and listen to some good music like the white stripes.My Dad likes Neil Young and keeps trying to get me into him but no chance. It's just moany rubbish to me!
On Blogcritics, Hazy Dave writes about the re-issues of the "missing 4" On The Beach, American Stars-N-Bars, Hawks & Doves, and Reactor:
None of these are essential to the casual listener, but each has some reward (besides "completeness") for the Neil Young fan.
Hazy Dave catches some flak for the comment and offers up a rebuttal.
Read the original review for OTB when it appeared in Rolling Stone mag, 9/26/74 on This Note's for You Album Review page:
The hard-edged sound of On The Beach is a contributing factor to its greatness, since the album poses aesthetic and political questions too serious to be treated prettily. Through various opposed personae, Young evokes primary social and psychic polarities that exemplify the deterioration of American culture. Though not named, the figures of Charles Manson and Patricia Hearst appear as emblems of apocalyptic social dislocation in the album's two masterpieces, "Revolution Blues" and "Ambulance Blues." In each song, by empathizing with the emotions of both predators and victims, Young has dared what no other major white rock artist (except John Lennon) has - to embrace, expose and perhaps help purge the collective paranoia and guilt of an insane society, acting it out without apology or explanation.
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/26/03
Photograph by Anton Corbijn
Rolling Stone's David Fricke interviews Neil on Greendale CD. Neil's angry with Bush and American Idol:
This is a time, I believe, of great inner turmoil for the majority of the American people. There is a new morality coming out of this administration -- fundamentalist religious views; a holier-than-thou attitude towards the rest of the world -- that is not classically American.
Read more Neil interviews on the Please Take My Advice page.
I don't think Americans felt holier-than-thou in the twentieth century. We were happy and successful, with a great lifestyle. But something else is going on now. That's what Greendale is about. That's what Grandpa's problem is. He can't understand what's going on. He sees all of these things that the Patriot Act has taken away from what he feels is America.
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/25/03
Blogcritic's Rodney Welch writes on Jimmy McDonough's Shakey biography on 8/13/03 "The Soul of Mr. Soul":
All rock biographies are, in a sense, about the same thing, really, morons with money, and McDonough is guilty at some level of the usual excesses of the form, but the book has so much more on its mind. McDonough's focus isn't merely to create a comprehensive apologia that tracks down every last concert, business deal, broken friendship or broken heart. Instead, he goes for broke. The book combines detailed reportage, the author’s own feisty, no-bullshit personal voice, and generous interviews with everyone involved – including a few obsessive fans – as well as Young himself; interviews where McDonough asks all the right questions and Young digs deep into himself for an answer.
Read more reviews and commentary on the Shakey page.
In Shakey, Jimmy McDonough writes the only Neil Young book you ever need to read -- and maybe one of the best rock bios ever.
More from Rodney Welch's Blog
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/22/03
Blogcritic's Mark Saleski writes on Greendale:
First Lou Reed, now Neil Young?
Rock operas? Concept albums? I thought that idea was dead. This is the new millenium. We want instant gratification. We've got shrinking attention spans. Heck, we can't even make it all the way through an MTV video...just the 'good parts' on TRL.
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/21/03
Axel Siederman AP, 08/03
In contrast to The New York Time's positive review, The Washington Post's 8/20/03 Greendale Album Review is scathing in it's critique. Headlined "Neil Young's Dysfunctional Family Saga" on the front of the Style section, David Segal writes:
A vanity project gone stupefyingly wrong, "Greendale" tells a dull and rambling story through dour and monotonous songs. For a younger artist, it would be a career killer, an album that any sane label would shelve and write off as a failed experiment. But this is the work of Neil Young, a legend with a full account of goodwill to draw on. For all but hard-core fanatics, "Greendale" will just about zero out the balance.
The inside headline is "Neil Young's Greendale: A Truly Meager Harvest". The photo caption reads "Neil Young follows the muse into the ditch on his wildly amateurish new CD-Greendale". Read The Washington Post's 8/20/03 Greendale Album Review and other Greendale reviews on This Note's For You page.
Nevertheless, Greendale is #1 on Amazon Bestsellers sales today. With On The Beach and American Stars N Bars, a total of 3 albums in Amazon top 25. Not bad for two 25 year old releases.
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/19/03
The New York Times, 8/18/03, gives a positive Greendale Album Review: Writes Neil Strauss:
At times Mr. Young sings out of tune, hits sour notes on the guitar or tries to squeeze too many words into a line. As for the story, it can be jumpy, inconsistent and lax in its metaphors. But the CD keeps rolling, and by the end the listener is left practically breathless with the beauty, hope, pathos and power of the music and the story. In a music culture in which technology allows for an unprecedented degree of fine-tuning, Mr. Young won't let himself be bothered by the details, allowing "Greendale" to succeed like a flower blossoming in the dirt.
More Greendale news on the Greendale page at Neil Young Greendale Tour, Album & DVD news.
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/18/03
Greendale page has been updated with Greendale Album Review and Greendale Photo links at Neil Young Greendale Tour, Album & DVD news.
Greendale Album Review, The Guardian, 8/15/03
Clarity, grace and nonsense ... Neil Young
There comes a time when artists of a certain stature decide that their
muse can no longer be restrained by the confines of a mere rock song
and must spread its wings across an extended narrative. This is a
delusion that cannot be dealt with firmly enough. Since the Who birthed
the idea on 1969's sprawling Tommy, it has spawned numerous
incomprehensible mish-mashes of half-baked science fiction,
heavy-handed metaphors and Rizla philosophy.
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/16/03
Neil featured on cover of Relix magazine: NEIL YOUNG:INTO THE SOURCE BY JEFF WAFUL
With forty albums under his belt, Neil Young is ever the restless artist. In support of his newest, Greendale,Young defies easy convention as he continues to plug into the indefinable source of creativity that has made him the rogue and visceral artist that he is.
"The Less you know what you're doing, the easier it is to go to new
places. You just have to surrender. It's the muse. That's the whole art
of playing. It has nothing to do with the notes."
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/12/03
Houston, TX, 08/060/03 photo by James Nielsen from Houston Chronicle. The Chronicle calls the Greendale show "a breakthrough piece of rock 'n' roll theater".
A Greendale news page has been created... at last. Neil Young Greendale Tour, Album & DVD news.
VH1 will have a segemnt on Neil on "100 Most Shocking Moments in Rock & Roll". Maybe not the most shocking thing but segment is on Neil being sued by Geffen for not sounding enough like himself. Neil Young on TV details here.
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/5/03
The mother of all Neil Young concert reviews by Bob Young at the Concord, CA, 7/20/03 show. 17 installments have been linked together by Miron. This is probably the longest Neil Young review you'll ever read and the most vivid. A sample:
Each time Neil lunged in my direction, holding Old Black like the big dark spigot of an invisible dragon-sized firehose that was shooting pure LOUD electrical beautiful Powderfinger earthquakes toward me and over me and all around me, I felt the music
shaking my body and flashing up and down my spine, throwing me all over the front row--I wasn't dancing anymore--I was being literally thrown around by the pure sonic windtunnel of the music He was pouring down and around and all over me, as though He could move me around the front row or to any place in the venue or the world just with one pinky swipe on the guitar.
Fresh Wheat - Updated 8/4/03
Pine Knob, MI, 06/22/03 by Mike
Here are some more great photos of Neil in Greendale.
Also great Lucinda Williams photos at the site.
From Rocky Mountain News, by Mark Brown, July 30, 2003
Neil Young certainly has never lacked ambition. But he just as certainly has
never reached this high with this much confidence.
With Crazy Horse and a cast of dozens, Young presented his new unreleased
concept album, Greendale, to an adoring Red Rocks crowd. It's a project that
doesn't quite hit the heights that The Wall or Tommy have established, but
it's in the same range. It's easily Young's most powerful and consistent
cycle of songs since 1990's Ragged Glory .
More on Bad News Beat.
Jimmy McDonough on Greendale tour. From Denver Gazette, 25 July 2003, by BILL REED;
"I don't know what to say about it," says McDonough after he caught the
tour on the West Coast. "Any self-respecting Neil Young fan should
definitely see this one, because never has his chaotic, unique psyche been
laid out in such utterly jaw-dropping detail.
Then there's this on interviewing Neil:
"He's touring with, like, 50 people - dancers, family members - and they
act out the songs behind Crazy Horse, playing them, and mime the words in a
style you haven't seen since the silent era. I gotta tell you man . . .
wow. He's definitely done something original again.
"You gotta admire the cojones on the guy. He goes out in front of a huge
audience and plays 'em an entire album they ain't heard, with a bunch of
non-actors emoting it out, and cardboard sets. It's just really Neil, for
better or for worse.
"He's definitely following his muse . . . right off a cliff. It just blew
the back of my head off. I don't know where he goes from here."
"You should wear garlic around your neck and carry a cross when you meet
these guys," McDonough says. He describes the process of winning litigation
and publishing the book as something like "having your gall bladder and
appendix out simultaneously on a remote farm in Iowa where there isn't a
doctor present but maybe a shaman who is blind in one eye . . . I've almost
died nine times. Put 'em all together and I'd rather face that than Neil's
More on Bad News Beat.
More on Shakey bio at Neil Young Book Reviews.
See July 2003 news for more on Neil Young's Greendale.