Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Americana (Reprise)

 |   |  1 min read

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Get a Job
Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Americana (Reprise)

The thing about unpredictable Neil Young is just how predictable he has become, shuffling the deck of acoustic, country, self-referencing and noisy rock.

Here he again links up with Crazy Horse for the first time on record in almost a decade and they, predicably, deliver most things here with their loose, open rehearsal feel.

Behind the provocative title -- a swipe at the whole alt.country/roots/Americana scene perhaps? -- he offers rewritten or the unedited original versions of American classics such as Oh Susannah, Clementine (the important verse dropped from school hall versions here reinstated), Tom Dula (often known as Tom Dooley), Gallows Pole, This Land is Your Land (opening with the verse usually missed out) and so on.

Guests include Young's wife Pegi, Stephen Stills and a "choir".

On paper this sounds like an interesting idea but regrettably, with few exceptions, everything is delivered with the archetypal Crazy Horse neanderthal thunk which can be boozy fun but actually strips the album of nuance.

Into this context they also throw the doo-wop classic Get a Job which is so reductively stupid it is quite amusing, and would be great to have seen it when they got drunk at a wedding and tossed the hired band off the stage and did an impromptu jam. That's what it sounds like. But on album?

It's like that version of Farmer John on Ragged Glory. You listened and went, yeah you must have enjoyed knocking off that song you loved in high school. But . . .?

The final song is a take on God Save the Queen -- written in the 17th century and sung in pre-indepedence America -- which is rejigged to give it further American relevance. Can't imagine he'd be invited to sing it before a football game in Britain on the evidence of this shonky workout. 

In the US, critics come over rather sweaty under the armpits about most Young albums these days -- the claims made for the leaden Living With War were extraordinary -- but this time even the early verdicts are ho-hum.

It's just another grinding Young and Crazy Horse album which travels their familiar furrow at the side of the highway. Many derided Young and Pearl Jam's Mirror Ball album, but it really shines in the comparison.

Unless you really, really liked Living with War, my guess is you won't play this twice, let alone look at its cover in a month's time.

Witless. 

Share It

Your Comments

Fraser Gardyne - Jun 5, 2012

Thanks Graham,

As a forty plus year fan of the man, I stand well warned!

Cheers Fraser

Jeffrey Paparoa Holman - Jun 5, 2012

Hi Graham
I usually go along with you, but I really loved these retreads of primary school singalongs.
There you go...
cheers
Jeffrey

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Roky Erickson with Okkervil River: True Love Cast Out All Evil (Unspk)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 Roky Erickson with Okkervil River: True Love Cast Out All Evil (Unspk)

The most recent album by the emotionally damaged Daniel Johnston, Is and Always Was, found his often fragile and shaky acoustic pop placed in the context of a band -- and while it was fine to hear... > Read more

Jonathan Richman: Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild (Vapor Records)

Jonathan Richman: Because Her Beauty is Raw and Wild (Vapor Records)

Some people know Jonathan Richman for being the singer-songwriter in the terrific New York new wave band The Modern Lovers -- although their "terrific" period was short-lived, in truth... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

Jelly Roll Morton: I'm Alabama Bound (date unknown)

Jelly Roll Morton: I'm Alabama Bound (date unknown)

The origins of jazz are lost in the mists and of course few would be so bold as to say it started on any particular date. One who did however was pianist Jelly Roll Morton who claimed to have... > Read more

Ken Emerson: Slack and Steel Kaua'i Style (2007)

Ken Emerson: Slack and Steel Kaua'i Style (2007)

A few years ago when I was on the island of Kaua'i in the Hawaiian chain I went into a CD store in the pretty town of Hanalei on the north east coast. I was looking for some compilations of classic... > Read more