ARTIST: Neil Young
YEAR RELEASED: 1972
CHART ACTION: #1 US, #1 UK
SINGLES: Heart of Gold (#1 US, #10 UK), Old Man (#31 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: A Man Needs a Maid, The Needle and the Damage Done
LINEUP: Neil Young, Ben Keith, Jack Nitzche, Tim Drummond, Kennty Buttrey and other guests like CSN, Linda Ronstadt, and James Taylor
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: A laid back country influenced album from Young becomes a hit and Young’s signature record, much to his chagrin.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Neil Young definitely had an ear for combining country, folk, and rock. Yet, he wasn’t part of the nascent ‘country rock’ movement, he was his own man, as always.
There’s a melancholy air to the album, fitting the times. A lot of the songs are commentaries on the life in 1972, political, social, and generational. There’s a couple of cuts that break away from the country-sounding style thanks to some orchestration added on (a rarity for Young).
While this was popular, and some songs are poignant, a few cuts just seem tossed off to fit the theme and aren’t as meaningful as others.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Alabama” was a followup to “Southern Man”, and those songs made Lynyrd Skynyrd respond to him. Also, Young didn’t like the spotlight, and retreated by making his next few albums uncompromising and non-commerical.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No.
GRADE: B: I know this is one of his best-loved album by casual fans, but only a few tracks seem at par with Young’s best.