Saturday, April 2, 2011

Saturday Music Club: Neil Young

Well it has been a couple Saturdays since I've been able to post any of my musical selections. Last Saturday I was in the middle of a three-day Internet outage complements of my Costa Rican ISP, and the Saturday before that well.... You can read about it here if you don't already know. So today I want to make up for lost time by posting one of my absolute favorites of all time.

The "Rock" that is on the radio nowadays has changed quite a bit since the days of Buddy Holly, Elvis, and chubby Checker. The Beatles introduced intricacy and depth, Led Zeppelin solidified its relationship to Blues and introduced almost all of the powerful guitar chords we take for granted nowadays, and this week's artist takes both of those gifts from the previous aritsts and mixes them together for pure audio ambrosia.

This is Neil Young, the real deal, the Father of Grunge, and basically the William Shatner of rock 'n roll. I say that because like Shatner, this guy has been around for a long time and seemingly never loses his appeal. And as age progresses, only gets deeper and more fascinating. He first appeared in the music scene in 1960 as a solo artist in his native Canada, and then moved to California in 1966 to form the incredibly influential Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills who would eventually form the band Crosby, Stills, and Nash. His relationship with stills stayed solid and often times he would join them in the band would be known as Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young. This was the beginning of the flower power era and much of the music was a very acoustic and folk-based sound that emphasized melodic instrumentation with vocal harmony.

He recorded his first solo album in 1968 and would release 34 more in his over 40 year career and in 2011, is still showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He is almost synonymous with both the simple peaceloving beauty of the 60s and the hard-driving rock 'n roll of the 70s. In the 80s and 90s he expanded his horizons as both a performer and songwriter. You see this is one of the few people left who actually writes and performs his own songs and has no dance skills to speak of.

I will always be a fan of Neil Young, his haunting voice and masterful guitar skills harken back to (and I hate to say this) a better time musically. A time when people not only wrote their own songs and performed them, but did not have to hold true to any corporately dictated fluff in the process. It's a shame, but I don't think "the next" Neil Young will ever be on the public's radar because he wouldn't be cute and shiny enough, or willing to sacrifice a gram of his musical talent for anything other than his own vision. And he probably wouldn't be able to dance...

The list selections I chose for your listening pleasure span his entire career and are what I think to be the best representation of his musical versatility. Like most other music I post, this is best listened to with headphones and very very loud. You have probably been listening to foo-foo music all week anyway, and your Uncle Aaron just wants to help you clean out the pipes....

This song became synonymous with the antiwar movement that was growing stronger every day as more and more American men were being slaughtered by the thousands per in a country that never attacked us. Take a listen and think about American culture from 9/11/2001 to today and think further about the prevailing music we have in the background now.



 This is from Neil's live performance on The Johnny Cash Show (yeah there was one, cool huh?) sometime in the mid 70's. This is a beautifully haunting ballad about the tragic loss of so much musical talent to the nightmare of heroin addiction.


Now we get into the harder stuff, and I'm sure all of you are familiar with this one as it has been covered by everyone from Pearl Jam to the Grateful Dead. This is a satirical middle finger to the prevailing bubble-gum "me first" culture that pretty much defined the 1980's. Again...louder is better!


And last, but not least, a song that will always solidify this man's position as the Father of Grunge. This is him and his sometimes back up band Crazy Horse from a live performance in 1979 showcasing some of the best guitar work since Hendrix and Jimmy Page in my opinion. What's with the Jawas and other Star Wars stuff? Well it was 1979 and George's little space opera still had us a bit messed up I guess...


THAT'S What Rock and Roll is supposed to be about..... Now go back to your Lady Goo Goo and Breakbeats.

Class Dismissed... 


37 comments:

Autumnforest said...

That was fucking brilliant! I have to admit, that he wrote and performed his own music with real instruments-nothing synthetic and couldn't dance worth a darn and wasn't pretty and perfect says this guy found his time period because his talent couldn't have been showcased in the music video world we live in now. The real music came before the visuals. Ironically, unless you went to a concert of saw an album cover, when I was growing up, you really didn't know what the musicians even looked like. I listened to Neil Young for a long time but never saw his face until I came across old pictures of him several years ago. It never mattered to me the "package" of Neil Young, but the "content." God, I wish the industry would realize that so we could have talent again, but I think that indie music is helping the cause.

mac-and-me said...

Great post!

A Hermit said...

I like his motorbike

Jay.CA said...

a true legend!

Kicking Rocks said...

Neil Young is great, I love his music!

Shutterbug said...

Neil Young is Canadian! Just like me! :D

mmmpieohyeah said...

oh yeah Neil Young! can't fail with this one, you sir have a very nice taste.

ed said...

dude is a legend, brb listening to lady goo goo

Robert Fünf said...

Sadly, I haven't heard as much of his stuff as I should. What I have heard I love, but his immense discography just makes my inner completest weep.

JapRoulette said...

So agree with autumn forest!

TheHarvester said...

iam glad someone else besides me also admires neil. truly an amazing musician

The Old Master said...

Autumnforest I totally agree with you.

Banacek said...

The Shatner of rock? Good description and way to work another Canadian into your article. Both are legends.

G said...

I saw Neil Young at a music festival a few years back...and fair play the guy totally rocked the place.
But I'd give anything to see Led Zep live

Questions said...

Wow, that's a lot of information about Neil Young. I like him but wish he'd do a duet with Lady Goo Goo. That would be great!

Melanie said...

I gotta agree - I can not even listen to the crap on the radio. And I am so not trying to get off subject, but have you noticed movies are doing the same thing and calling it a "re-boot"? What the hell - is the general public really so dumb that they don't realize that its the same thing that was out a year or two before....its the same with music. No creativity these days...

Rorschach Redemption said...

I really don't want to inject the Old Guy statement in here about how today's music and performances are mere shadows of what once was...but...*sigh*.

Something Concupiscible said...

I never knew he was from Canada. He rocks!

Electric Addict said...

good bit of history i never knew. thanks :)

Leila said...

Although you presented your case very well, I can't find myself liking it. I'm usually very open minded but anything with vocals actually turns me off. I'd listen to classical (excluding opera), minimalism, ambient music, soundtrack music, etc any day. Just take out the vocals. I think I was conditioned to feel that way by my mentor, who after two years of listing to his stuff, basically took away my ability to tolerate vocal or most of contemporary music. (Early 20th century stuff is still good to me! And nowadays I like me some Emancipator, Library Tapes, Max Richter, and for my classical my favorite composers are Shostakovitch, Rachmaninoff, Bach whom I know is from 1700s but whatever, and Wagner). Thank you for introducing me to Neil Young.

Venus said...

ah Neil Young a classic

Sam said...

Definitely the Shatner of rock!

Kim Anders said...

classic!

AJ said...

That guy is mad!
BRB listening to ke$ha. :3

Shelby Fox said...

....3 day internet outage?

My internet was out for half an hour tonight and i had no idea what to do. You must have had so much free time! haha

But Neil Young is great. I know a lot of people who don't like him because of his high-pitched voice, but I appreciate his unique-ness.

I still get chills when I think of the song he did at the closing ceremony of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Long may you ruuuuuUUUUUuuun.

Alphabeta said...

I love Neil. And especially that BBC live session (Needle & the Damage clip you posted). So intimate and beautiful.

Patti D. said...

Love Neil Young, heard it for the first time in the Bob Dylan tribute and been following him since then

-DO- said...

awesome music, Neil Young is a true legend!

Toast Burnt said...

I miss the old rock. Very few rock stars exist these days. Or at least they're not properly recognized in the sea of synthetic sounds... It's mega lame.

I follow and support those who do likewise.
toastburnt.blogspot.com

Meghan Moran said...

Neil Young is a God. It's a shame that nothing that receives commercial success these days will ever be looked back on with the same gravitas as all the bands you mentioned are.

Lemmiwinks said...

i like your blog. keep up the good work

Glovey said...

Another interesting read! Great blogger!

duffboi said...

Very admirable, this neil young. I am sure I could benefit from exploring more of his music. So I am placing 'neil young' on the backburner. And for me, this says a lot.

SOMS said...

Neil Young, a Classic favorite.

Justin said...

Great post, I enjoy some of the earlier rock n' roll, believe it or not :)

Eeshie said...

HI!!!!

And my God, that motorcycle is truly amazing!

...*stares at motorcycle, impressed, then realizes you're staring at her*

Oh yeah, and he's a great musician too.

Moob said...

very powerful songs