Harvest Moon

Album Review by Zain Patel

Neil Young News

Harvest Moon

Subject: Re: Harvest Cartoon? (long)

---------- Forwarded message ----------

Date: Thu, 10 Oct 1996 23:00:29 -0400 (EDT)

From: Zain Patel <bp199@freenet.toronto.on.ca>

To: Jon & Michell Berkey <berkey@chesco.com>

Cc: Rust <rust@novia.net>

Subject: Re: Harvest Cartoon? (long)


> ..could one (or did one) argue that Neil "sold out" by evoking the Harvest

> name for his 1992 album? Am I the only one who feels I'd like the album a

> lot better if it was called something else that had nothing to do with

> Harvest? Did Neil intend for comparison or is that some bright marketing

> ploy by the folks at Reprise?

The funny thing is that Neil has contradicted himself on this one. When

he was interviewed on a Canada-wide radio programme almost a year before

Harvest Moon came out, he openly admitted he was working on a 'sequel' to 'Harvest',

and spoke at length about it. A year later, just after Harvest Moon was released,

on another Canadian radio interview he vehemently denied that Harvest Moon was a

sequel to 'Harvest':

"The whole idea of following up the 'Harvest' album is

something that's contrived more from the standpoint of

record companies, and mostly questions. You know, people

see the correlation between the two, and it's kind of a

plus to be able to refer back 20 years and see the same

people and do that. But the thrust of the albums is

different, even though the subject matter is similar, so

I tend to shy away more from comparisons between them -

they're reference points for one another. I mean, people

who have never heard of 'Harvest' may really like Harvest Moon and

may end up referring back to 'Harvest' because of all this

conversation about how the two of them go together..."

He then goes on to say:

"...I don't like the idea of belittling this record into

being a sequel to 'Harvest', or a remake of 'Harvest', or

anything like this. This record doesn't need 'Harvest'.

This record stands on its own, and that's *my* feeling.

This is a new record - 'Harvest' is ancient history. And

this record is the one that I'm focused on as far as...

of course, now I'm finished with it and I'm waiting to get

focused on something else, but that's how I feel about it."

It seems to me that he originally intended it to be a 'sequel' to

'Harvest' - whatever that means - (I know because I've got him on tape

explicitly saying it was to be a 'sequel'), but then perhaps he realized

that by doing so he'd prevent it from being appreciated in its own right,

so he denied that it was intended as a sequel.

As for the title, when he was asked if calling it Harvest Moon would burden it, he


"Oh, no, it *is*, there's no doubt. And I don't mind

that. I mean, I don't think that's a bad thing. I

think it's nice to be able to relate back and forth. The

thing is...and I knew when I did that that it would create

that impression. It's obvious, you know, it's like I

can't have my cake and eat it too, you know, but the thing

is that Harvest Moon is the appropriate title for this record.

There isn't a better title. If you look at all of the

titles of the songs, and if you go by the rule of...on all

of my acoustic albums it seems - not so much my electric

ones, but on the acoustic albums - I always use a song

title. It's usually a song title from that album that I

use to describe it, like, you know, the great majority of

them are like that. So, of all of the titles on Harvest Moon, Harvest Moon is

the best title for the collection of songs. I mean, I've

tried every one of them, you know....You see, the title of

the song pays some homage to the fact that it's the same

people, but it draws it in, I think, a more beautiful and

subtle way than, for instance, my record company has

presented this thing in this bio that I asked you about.

I read this piece of shit just a few minutes ago. Somebody

knocked it off in five minutes, you know, the most uncreative

person doing the most obvious job, you know, and this is

supposed to be a guideline for people to ask questions from.

I mean, it's totally embarrassing."

To my own ears, 'Harvest' and 'Harvest Moon don't sound at all alike. 'Harvest Moon' reminds me

more of 'Comes A Time' or 'Old Ways' than 'Harvest', but as Neil says, maybe some of the

subject matter is the same. I love the solo renditions he did of Harvest Moon,

"From Hank To Hendrix", and "Unknown Legend" on 'Saturday Night Live' and the 'Tonight' show, and my only complaint is that

I wished he had done solo versions of those songs on 'Unplugged'. That

way, we'd be able to appreciate both the Stray Gators' version and the

solo version of each song. I'm not sure why Neil chose to include 3 songs

on 'Unplugged' that weren't even a year old and weren't markedly different

from their original versions.


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