Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I’ve got a couple of crates full of old vinyl albums that I haven’t listened to in years due to lack of equipment to play them. Over a period of about a year and a half I revisited each album on the internet or bought the CD and ranked the songs. I also recorded some brief thoughts, rated the album, and posted the results on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Artists comment section. I’m recycling and categorizing/grouping the posts on this website.

Tonight’s the Night
This album has a flavor to it like no other. Very Neil Young. Only Neil Young.
Scale of 1 to 10:  A -

1- Mellow My Mind
2- Albequerque
3- World on a String
4- Roll Another Number
5- Tired Eyes
6- Borrowed Tune
7- Tonight’s the Night
8- Speakin’ Out
9- New Mamma
10- C’mon Baby Let’s Go Downtown
11- Lookout Joe

Neil Young with Crazy Horse. Three great songs and six good ones.
Scale of 1 to 10:  A -

1- Danger Bird
2- Cortez the Killer
3- Through My Sails
4- Lookin’ for a Love
5- Don’t Cry No Tears
6- Drive Back
7- Barstool Blues
8- Pardon my Heart
9- Stupid Girl

Comes a Time
This isn’t his best, but certainly belongs among a list of top ten Neil Young albums. Under-appreciated. Probably because it doesn’t have any one song that would be a lock for a greatest hits compilation. I rank it higher than most, I think. Although I do know some people who rank it higher than I do.
Scale of 1 to 10:  B +

1- Human Highway
2- Goin Back
3- Look Out For My Love
4- Comes a Time
5- Four Strong Winds
6- Lotta Love
7- Field of Opportunity
8- Motorcycle Mama
9- Peace of Mind
10- Already One

Rust Never Sleeps
It was hard to pick a song for the #1 spot among the top three. Doesn’t seem right to relegate lyrics like “Got my own row left to hoe, Just another line in the field of time” to the third position.  Although it’s a relatively easy instrument to play, there are a few spots where that lonesome harmonica shines in a way that makes me think “only Neil”. Not in my top five Neil Young albums, but easily top ten.
Scale of 1 to 10:  B +

1- Powderfinger
2- My, My, Hey, Hey, (Out of the Blue)
3- Thrasher
4- Pocahontas
5- Sail Away
6- Hey, Hey, My, My, (Into the Black)
7- Ride My Llama
8- Welfare Mothers
9- Sedan Delivery

American Stars and Bars
Even though he’s not to be pigeonholed, I really like Neil Young’s style. So I suspect I like this album more than most would. In fact, I like all of his 60s and 70s albums. The first two songs on my list are interchangeable, depending on if I’m in an “electric” Neil or “acoustic” Neil mood.
Scale of 1 to 10:  B

1- Like a Hurricane
2- Will to Love
3- Star of Bethlehem
4- Hey Babe
5- The Old Country Waltz
6- Homegrown
7- Hold Back the Tears
8- Saddle up the Palomino
9- Bite the Bullet

Hawks and Doves
This is kind of a forgotten album, even by a big fan such as myself. I don’t even list it among my favorite Neil Young albums when prompted. But after further review, I realize it belongs somewhere in the mix. I didn’t rate it so high back in the vinyl days, but I remembered it well enough to know that, given my slight change in taste over the years, I would enjoy this revisit. I always did like the short and sweet song “Little Wing”. Years later and it’s still the perfect background music for a cup of coffee by the window on a “too cold to go outside” January day. That song, and really the whole album is, well, Neil. That distinct style that for the most part appeals to the masses, but hits some, like myself, in a way that intoxicates. But I suspect this album probably isn’t for everyone and that only us fanboys would rate it as high as I have. I’m sorry to report that “Staying Power” isn’t included in my rankings ‘cuz it’s not available on U-tube. There’s a cover of the song that’s close enough to use, but I don’t want to cheat.
Scale of 1 to 10:  B+

1- Little Wing
2- Captain Kennedy
3- The Old Homestead
4- Coastline
5- Hawks and Doves
6- Lost in Space
7- Union Man
8- Comin’ Apart at Every Nail
UR- Stayin’ Power

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