ARTIST: Neil Young
TITLE: After the Gold Rush
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #8 US, #7 UK
SINGLES: Only Love Can Break Your Heart (#33), When You Dance I Can Really Love (#93)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: After the Gold Rush, Southern Man
LINEUP: Neil Young, Danny Whitten, Nils Lofgren, Jack Nitzsche, Billy Talbot, Greg Reeves, Ralph Molina. Stephen Stills sings backup, and Bill Peterson was the one who played the iconic flugelhorn solo on the title cut.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A classic album that brought in the 70’s from the 60’s idyllic haze.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Neil Young was inspired by a screenplay from Dean Stockwell and Herb Bermann, and wrote a few songs for the soundtrack (the film was never released). He recorded some tracks with Crazy Horse (even as Danny Whitten was in the throes of addiction) and others with parts of the CSN band.
Young’s songs evoke the issues of the country moving from the 60’s to the 70’s. The morose theme rings through the tracks, but then there’s hope in some tracks as well. The lyrics are oblique, while the music creates the mood (except for “Southern Man” which is angry on all fronts). The album is mostly acoustic in feel, but some tracks crank out the rock. It’s a good balance showing all sides of Young.
The title track is one of the best songs Young ever wrote, and could be a theme of the 70’s even if the meaning is obfuscated by the passages of time (and Young’s memory).
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Four of the tracks were recorded with Crazy Horse, then the rest with a amalgamated band that included Nils Lofgren on keyboards, an instrument he never played on record before.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: A+: Neil Young has recorded a lot of albums, but this is probably his best. It’s one of the best of the 70’s for sure.