Neil Young has long been one of rock’s great romantics, mourning the utopian ideals of the “hippie” ‘60s and his vision of what America was…or at least should have been. In some ways, Greendale–which could be described as a “rock novel”–adds a mourning for humanity itself to the mix, as Young presents his vision of America 2003 via the story of a fictional family in a small California town. There’s drama galore–a cop is killed by a drug dealer; Grandpa has a fatal heart attack while pointing a gun at a TV reporter–but most of these songs also work individually as terrific rock tunes. It’s a more subdued Crazy Horse this time out, with only Neil on lead guitar and little of the distorted rage found on albums like Ragged Glory. But “Grandpa’s Interview” has a gorgeous riff that recalls Zuma’s “Don’t Cry No Tears”; “Be the Rain” is a genuine Neil Young anthem about love, peace, saving the planet, and doing the right thing. A few pieces sound a tad meandering at first, which could lead one to conclude that Greendale is only a good Neil Young album. Repeated listening, however, should confirm that Greendale is a great Neil Young album.Bill Holdship - Amazon.com
Neil Diamond's five-decade career as a singer, songwriter, and performer has certainly been a successful one by any standard. He’s sold well over 115 million records worldwide to date and has had eight number one singles ("Cracklin Rosie," "Song Sung Blue," "Desiree," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," "Love on the Rocks," "America," "Yesterday's Songs," and "Heartlight"), and if he hasn't always generated the kind of critical respect he probably deserves, he’s been a steady and dependable artist who has managed to keep his large core audience happy. This 23-track set surveys the whole of Diamond's recording career, collecting his key and signature sides, beginning with his first hits for Bang Records in the mid-'60s through his commercial peak for Uni/MCA between 1968 and 1972, cuts from 1980’s The Jazz Singer (a soundtrack album that went platinum five times over on Capitol Records), and ending with tracks from Diamond's two Rick Rubin-produced albums, 2005’s 12 Songs and 2008’s Home Before Dark, on Columbia Records.
Backed only by co-producer Danny Kortchmar on guitar and Steve Jordan on drums, with all three playing synthesizers, Neil Young turns in an album that attempts to mix the raunchy rock thrust of his Crazy Horse-style music with contemporary trends in pop, especially the tendency to turn the drums way up in the mix…
Fred Neil's two classic Elektra records albums assembled together on one CD, with new biographical notes supported by lots of photos, too. The CD is slightly uneven as a listening experience, mostly by virtue of the songs off of Tear Down the Walls, a hybrid work that has moments of inspired, heavyweight brilliance from Neil, compromised by the lighter-textured voice of Vince Martin, who almost always seems like he's trying hard to keep up with Neil and measure up to what his partner is doing. There are some brilliant songs, as the two slip into a serious blues groove on "Weary Blues"; soar together on the exultant, extended duet of "Baby" (which plays like an Indian raga with vocals); the darker-toned "Morning Dew"; and the driving, crunchy "Linin' Track," which leads into "Wild Child in a World of Trouble."
The Best Neil Young Albums of All Time
'On the Beach'
For many, many years, On the Beach was Neil Young's great lost album. The LP didn't generate a lot of heat when it came out in 1974, and Young didn't release it on CD until 2003. Its absence from the marketplace turned it into somewhat of a mythical album, and those who dug it up in the pre-Internet days discovered an incredibly depressing album about the perils of fame. The opener "Walk On" confronts Young's critics, while the creepy "Revolution Blues" is told from the perspective of a Charles Manson-like serial killer. Side two is a more serene affair. "Ambulance Blues" and "On the Beach" are two of the strongest songs Young has ever written, and two of the saddest.
Taped on February 7, 1993, and first broadcast on MTV on March 10, Neil Young's Unplugged appearance was released as a home video to coincide with the release of an audio CD version. This 73-minute tape ran seven minutes longer than the album, the extra time consisting of applause, guitar tuning, and a few scattered asides ("Aw, it's nothin', really," Young said, for example, after an audience member called out, "Thank you, Neil")…
Neil Young's 2000 summer tour brought forth Road Rock, Vol. 1, a live album recorded on September 19 and 20 at the Red Rocks concert venue in Denver. The eight-song set features one previously unreleased track "Fool for Your Love"; other highlights include an 18-minute version of "Cowgirl in the Sand" and a duet with the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde on Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower." (The Pretenders served as opening act for several of the dates on Young's Music in Head tour.) Road Rock, Vol. 1 also includes rarely performed songs resurrected for the tour, including "Walk On," "Words," and "Motorcyle Mama" from his 1978 album Comes a Time. The album is being credited to "Neil Young Friends and Relatives," most likely a reference to the fact that his wife Pegi and sister Astrid perform as backup vocalists in the group, which also includes longtime associate Ben Keith on steel guitar, Booker T. and the MGs and Blues Brothers bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn, soul legend Spooner Oldham on keyboards, and session drummer Jim Keltner.