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17 Aug 2017

Bobby Messano “Bad Movie” 2017 US Blues Rock

Bobby Messano “Bad Movie” 2017 US Blues Rock
The #1 Billboard Blues CD "Love & Money". "Bad Movie" This CD is filled with the intensity of Love & Money and fueled by politics and relationship heartache. Bobby delivers a masterpiece in a time of personal turmoil........

Legendary Guitarist Releases “BAD MOVIE” on 180g Red Vinyl 
Get what will surely be a collectors item, Be One of Only 300 who will have the ability to own the Very First Pressing Ever on Vinyl from the Legendary Blues Guitarist Bobby Messano. Reserve your copy now because this will be the only time this release will be available. Bobby has decided to put his solo material on vinyl and “Bad Movie” limited edition seemed the right way to start. This album features a special tracking of songs, will be hand signed and numbered. This album has been Hitting Number One on all the blues charts and now you can get a very special release on 180g Red Vinyl . The Very First Pressing will be limited to 300 copies, numbered and signed and that is it. Future releases will be different...........

It’s been said that the best story about yourself is the story that someone else writes about you. I thought I had seen just about everything, but I learned yet again, that sometimes events happen that just can’t be explained. Now, this happens to everyone, and in my case, a very tough period in my life turned into a miracle, but sometimes, no matter how hard you try to make sense of it, you never can. “BAD MOVIE” is that miracle. Every artist is excited when they put a new project out with our babies, our songs, for the world to hear. If you are a songwriter, you pour your heart and soul into your work, and then when you get in the studio to record, “you leave a pint of blood on the tracks” as they say in the UK. My fans and the record buying public have seen the great liner notes that are written about me with stories of my angst, darkness and traumas. I am a Blues Artist after all, but “BAD MOVIE” was different. These songs came from a place that I have never been and what’s amazing is that the words were written by the best lyricist I have ever known, Jon Tiven, as he watched me try to find my way out of the depths of despair. 

As only an outsider can see 

As only an outsider can see, he told the story of a man broken, and a political system broken, from the perspective of a caring, but cynical place, with a positive sheen. His words and assessment of both situations were perfect. I cried and I laughed as he handed me song after song and his therapy pushed me musically and vocally to places I had never reached. In the year since “Love & Money” went #1, I had no creative spark or the impetus to write, but In a six week period, a period that I had sunk lower than I had ever been, Jon and I wrote fourteen songs, eleven with he and I, two with the great Larry Weiss (Rhinestone Cowboy/ Bend Me Shape Me) , and one with the tremendous Steve Kalinich (Brian Wilson/Beach Boys). On top of that, one of my idols Brian May of Queen offered a song he had co-penned with Jon. In eight weeks the album was recorded and finished, thanks to my great friend Juanita Copeland at Sound Emporium, and Adam Taylor, one of the best engineers I have ever known. Ed Canova, my wing man, played the perfect bass parts on every song and Nioshi Jackson, one of my favorite drummers in the world, worked his magic throughout while Pete Gallinari lent his tremendous keyboard playing. The highlight was a duet with one of the best singers I have ever known, Alecia Elliott, and the result was the album I have wanted to make my entire life. I had been at the precipice and ready to go over the proverbial cliff but my friends and fans kept pulling me back until I was out of danger and “BAD MOVIE” is the result of their valiant efforts. I have always said that when you love someone more than life “You Never Let Them Fall”. Twice I have been unable to follow that belief through circumstances beyond my control BUT the loving folks surrounding me carried those words through for ME. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart and I present you my gift in return…“BAD MOVIE”......Bobby Messano...........

Guitarist, singer and bandleader Bobby Messano has many years experience of working with rock artists like Steve Winwood and country artists like Jimmy Wayne and Rodney Atkins. Yet in his own right he is known as a contemporary blues artist, and certainly the first few tracks here point to him as an accomplished blues-rocker, with an influence from the British blues-boomers of the late 60s, and Jimi Hendrix (try ‘Why Water A Dead Rose’ for the latter). The vast majority of this album’s fifteen songs are written by Bobby and Jon Tiven together – and Jon’s name is an assurance of quality in itself these days. Elsewhere Bobby builds on the Mississippi hill country sound (‘Road To Oblivion’) and brings the Bo Diddley beat into the 21st century on ‘If The Phone Ain’t Ringing, It’s Me Not Callin’’. Contemporary country crops up with the beautiful acoustic based duet with Alecia Elliott from Muscle Shoals, an observation on the current political scene, whilst their other collaboration, ‘You Left Me No Choice’, is a reggae flavoured number. ‘The Girl That Got Away’ is moody and thoughtful, ‘We Need A Blessing’ is a pleas for a more equal society, and the set closes out optimistically with the Springsteen-esque rock anthem that is ‘American Spring’. Give it a listen! Darwen..........

Bobby Messano has been up and down the scale a time or two in a lot of years of playing music. He has been music director for Steve Winwood and Lou Gramm and for county artists Jimmy Wayne and Rodney Aikens. For his own solo work, he chose to play and sing the blues and he has released seven albums. Every album seems to me to be the best, but I truly believe Bad Movie tops them all. 

Great blues comes from real and powerful emotion and requires an artist wiling to reveal his whole soul to his listeners. Bobby is that sort of artist. He wrote or co-wrote all but one of these songs and some of them are heartfelt political commentary, but like many musicians, life on the road has led to some romantic misadventures and they do indeed, sound like a very bad movie. And like blues men do, he weaves these bad experiences into song, often with a mix of heartbreak and humor. 

All of these songs are great by themselves, but Bobby has stressed to this writer that you should really listen to them in order. So let us begin with the opening track, which builds like it should be over the opening credits and then bursts into a raucous Texas-style rant (which has spawned a deeply entertaining video as well.) 

The next song, “Come To Your Senses,” is a soulful plea for a lover to come back. It is the only song Messano did not have a part in writing. It was written by Brian May of Queen and Jon Tivens, and it is perfect for Bobby’s voice. He then delivers a beautiful, brooding ballad, which also showcases the sensitive side of his guitar playing and gives us the first real glimpse of Bobby’s battered heart, “Why Water a Dead Rose?” This is one of my two favorite tracks. 

The blues then turns more country as Bobby treats us to some tasty acoustic dobro, adding a light touch to a trip down “The Road To Oblivion,” stepping momentarily away from the bad romance to broaden the scene and let us know what else is bothering him: the state of the country. He takes a catch phrase and makes it actually mean something in the rocking “Unconventional Wisdom,” a full-out cry for an explanation that actually makes sense for what’s going on.. From the “Bad Movie” point of view, this placement makes sense. Messano’s life is going through great change and so is the country. The best tools he has to make sense of anything are honesty, humor, and the blues. 

“Too Good To Be True” returns us to Bobby and that really bad girl, with some funky guitar and Memphis soul. Plot-wise, we are moving into bitterness here and in the cleverly titled “If The Phone Don’t Ring, It’s Me Not Calling,”he gives us enough information to understand why, with a fine cinematic twist on Bo Diddley as well. 

“Never Too Late To Break a Bad Habit” introduces some hard-earned wisdom in a solid rock song. “I Thought We Had This” has a slight swing and some very clever lyrics. 

“Water Under The Bridge” is an album highlight as Alicia Elliott joins Bobby for this acoustic ballad about what we all need to do to save the world. Taking a sharp emotional turn, Messano gives us more of his dreadful relationship with the brutally honest “You Left Me No Choice,” buffering the blatant heartache with the light reggae style. “The Girl That Got Away” is a smooth jazzy lament and testimony to despair but the listener can hear the beginning of acceptance and the start of moving on in its nostalgic tone. 

The last few songs turn us back to politics as Bobby addresses further what he believes, tackling the immigration issue in “we Need A Blessing” and then asking “Is It Too Late To Ask For a Miracle?” 

The album ends on the optimistic “American Spring,” in which Bobby gives us his answer to overcoming anything,”This boy is going to stick around and sing.” And lucky for us,too. 

it just proves a Bad Movie can make a brilliant album!....BY RHETTA...............

*Bobby Messano : All guitars, lead and background vocals. 
*Ed Canova : Bass guitar, background vocals and hand claps. 
*Nioshi Jackson : Drums, percussion, background vocals and hand claps. 
*Alecia Elliott-Fisher : Duet vocal on “Water Under The Bridge”. 
*Jon Tiven : Saxophones on “Unconventional Wisdom” and “American Spring “. 
*Pete Gallinari : Organ and piano.

01. Bad Movie 04:33 
02. Come To Your Senses 04:05 
03. Why Water A Dead Rose 05:15 
04. Road To Oblivion 03:02 
05. Unconventional Wisdom 04:32 
06. Too Good To Be True 03:40 
07. If The Phone Ain't Ringin' It's Me Not Callin' 02:20 
08. Never Too Late To Break A Bad Habit 04:05 
09. Water Under The Bridge 03:55 
10. You Left Me No Choice 03:57 
11. The Girl That Got Away 03:39 
12. I Thought We Had This 04:57 
13. We Need A Blessing 03:28 
14. Is It Too Much To Hope For A Miracle 04:25 
15. American Spring 03:52

Neil Young “After the Gold Rush"1970 Canada 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (Rolling Stone)

Neil Young “After the Gold Rush"1970 Canada 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (Rolling Stone)

For his third album, Neil Young fired Crazy Horse (the first of many times he would do so), picked up an acoustic guitar and headed to his basement. He installed recording equipment in the cellar of his Topanga Canyon home in Los Angeles, leaving room for only three or four people. There, Young made an album of heartbreaking ballads such as "Tell Me Why" and "Don't Let It Bring You Down." The music is gentle, but never smooth (check the bracing "Southern Man"). Nils Lofgren, then a 17-year-old hotshot guitarist, squeezed into the sessions, but Young assigned him to the piano, an instrument he had never played in his life; it was a characteristically contrary move that worked out beautifully.....Rolling Stone......

Neil Young's third solo album followed his Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young masterpiece Déjà Vu. Top 10 and double platinum, with the Top 40 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' and his condemnation of racism in 'Southern Man,' 1970's After The Gold Rush has been ranked among the '100 Greatest Albums Of All Time' by both Rolling Stone and Time magazine.
After labouring in Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Neil Young finally hit perfect pitch--if his endearing off-centre whine can be called "perfect"--with his third album. He's equally passionate with trippy riddles (has anybody figured out what "We've got mother nature on the run" means in the title track?) and pointed protest (after 30 years of rock-radio overplay, "Southern Man" still rings with truth about redneck racism). His creaky ensemble, including pianist Jack Nitzsche and rotating members of Crazy Horse, transforms ramshackle country and folk songs into soulful hippie hymns. --Steve Knopper --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this

In the 15 months between the release of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold Rush, Neil Young issued a series of recordings in different styles that could have prepared his listeners for the differences between the two LPs. His two compositions on the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young album Déjà Vu, "Helpless" and "Country Girl," returned him to the folk and country styles he had pursued before delving into the hard rock of Everybody Knows; two other singles, "Sugar Mountain" and "Oh, Lonesome Me," also emphasized those roots. But "Ohio," a CSNY single, rocked as hard as anything on the second album. After the Gold Rush was recorded with the aid of Nils Lofgren, a 17-year-old unknown whose piano was a major instrument, turning one of the few real rockers, "Southern Man" (which had unsparing protest lyrics typical of Phil Ochs), into a more stately effort than anything on the previous album and giving a classic tone to the title track, a mystical ballad that featured some of Young's most imaginative lyrics and became one of his most memorable songs. But much of After the Gold Rush consisted of country-folk love songs, which consolidated the audience Young had earned through his tours and recordings with CSNY; its dark yet hopeful tone matched the tenor of the times in 1970, making it one of the definitive singer/songwriter albums, and it has remained among Young's major achievements. William Ruhlmann..........

The Story Behind The Song: Neil Young - After The Gold Nick Hasted............

Influenced by an end-of-the-world screenplay and feverishly crafted while on tour with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, it was a leap of faith that became one of Neil Young's most enduring songs
Neil Young’s most mysterious song has its beginnings in the wilds of Peru in 1969, where an out-of-control Dennis Hopper was directing The Last Movie, his follow-up to Easy Rider. With Hopper was his friend Dean Stockwell, a minor child and teen star of the 1940s and 50s, later famous for the 90s time-travel TV hit Quantum Leap.
“In Peru, Dennis very strongly urged me to write a screenplay,” Stockwell recalls, “and he would get it produced. I came back home to Topanga Canyon [in the mountains outside LA] and wrote After The Gold Rush. Neil was living in Topanga then too, and a copy of it somehow got to him. He had had writer’s block for months, and his record company was after him. And after he read this screenplay, he wrote the After The Gold Rush album in three weeks.”

Stockwell’s screenplay is long lost. Young’s biographer Jimmy McDonough was told that it was “an end-of-the-world movie”, which ended with a tidal wave crashing towards its hero as he stood in the parking lot of the Topanga hippies’ favourite hang-out, the Corral, whose regulars included Young and Joni Mitchell. Stockwell’s friend Russ Tamblyn was set to play a rocker recluse living in a castle, and wild-haired local artist George Herms was meant to haul a “tree of life”, like Christ with his crucifix, across the Canyon.

“It’s not a linear, regular storytelling kind of film,” Stockwell explains. “Really what was in my mind was that the gold rush in effect created California. And the film took place on the day California was supposed to go into the ocean. So that’s what happened after the gold rush.”

“I read the screenplay and kept it around for a while,” Young wrote in his 2012 autobiography Waging Heavy Peace. “I was writing a lot of songs at the time, and some of them seemed like they would fit right in with the story.”
Stockwell brought producers from the company Hopper was contracted to, Universal, to Topanga, introducing them to potential local cast-members such as Janis Joplin, and Young, who was keen to write the soundtrack. But the execs were having enough trouble with Hopper, and ran a mile from the chaotic hippie utopia.

Undeterred, Young went ahead with the music. The After The Gold Rush album was recorded between legs of Crosby, Stills Nash & Young’s massive 1970 US tour, and immediately after Young’s shows that March with the grungier Crazy Horse. After early sessions in Hollywood’s Sunset Studios, most of it was recorded in the lead-lined basement of his house in the Canyon. There was barely space in the cramped room for CSN&Y bassist Greg Reeves, Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina, Young and his newest recruit, teenage guitarist Nils Lofgren.

“I was an eighteen-year-old who was with these twenty-three, twenty-four-year-old people, and it was all overwhelming to me,” Lofgren recalls. “I was the kid who tagged along. We did it in this little studio, with a little side control room that [producer] David Briggs managed the sound on, with a remote truck out in the driveway. Neil didn’t mind rehearsing a bit, but we didn’t belabour stuff.”

Southern Man would become After The Gold Rush’s most infamous song after Lynyrd wrote Sweet Home Alabama in response to it. But the album’s true centrepiece was its title track. Young sings alone at the piano for its first two minutes, after which he’s joined by session player Bill Peterson’s mournful flugelhorn.
Its three verses set out contrasting scenes. The first is a medieval panorama of knights and peasants. In the deeply evocative second, Young is ‘lying in a burned-out basement’ when the sun suddenly rips through the night. ‘There was a band playing in my head,’ Young responds wearily, ‘and I felt like getting high.’ In the final verse those chosen take humanity’s ‘silver seed’ into space while others are left behind, as the world dies.

“The song was written to go along with the story [of the film],” Young reflected in Waging Heavy Peace, “and the main character, as he carried the Tree of Life through Topanga Canyon to the ocean.”

“It relates to the screenplay in an artistic way, not directly, in dialogue or anything,” says Stockwell, who Young invited to watch the sessions. “That’s how he found himself in it, which coincided beautifully with what I had in mind. Neil’s rush of writing then has something to do with the film – with the exception of Southern Man. If you could calculate the amount of human energy that goes into the making of one of his songs, you would have a really fucking high number, man.”

“Neil never told me what the song was about,” Lofgren says. “I’d love to bend his ear about it. It’s like it’s all our own fantasies, as we hear the words. But look, man, I was standing there in the control room, looking through the glass watching him play that thing on the old upright piano, and it’s still on the road with him. We took it on the Trans tour and I got to play it a lot, and at some of the Bridge School benefits too. It’s a very historic piano, certainly in my life.”
“After The Gold Rush is an environmental song,” Young said, trying to finally nail its meaning for McDonough. “I recognise in it now this thread that goes through a lotta my songs that’s this time-travel thing… When I look out the window, the first thing that comes to my mind is the way this place looked a hundred years ago.”

Rolling Stone ripped the album apart at the time of its release in 1970. But it would be the first of Young’s solo albums to hit the US Top 10, paving the way for its chart-topping follow-up, Harvest.

“And even then, though I had the album,” Stockwell reflects ruefully, “I still couldn’t get that screenplay produced.”....Classic Rock #199.........

The ’60s were barely over and the ’70s just starting when Neil Young recorded a requiem for the era. The mournful title track to his third album, After the Gold Rush (which was released on Sept. 19, 1970), is ostensibly an ode to the environment, but viewed from other angles, deeper implications surface. 
It’s also the end of an early chapter in Young’s career. After breaking from Buffalo Springfield and releasing his debut solo album in 1968, the singer-songwriter would begin what would become the first of many career left turns. On 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, he plugged in and scraped away at the scabs with the young Crazy Horse. 
But by the following year, when he was set to make a follow-up LP, he had fired them (but retained a few songs they had already laid down) and retreated to his basement in Topanga, Calif., where he started recording tracks for the follow-up record, a 360-degree turn into acoustic country and folk music with a group of musicians whose approach was a bit more delicate. 
Rubbing against the plugged-in numbers left over from the Crazy Horse sessions, the new songs — which featured 18-year-old Nils Lofgren on guitar and piano, an instrument he was mostly unfamiliar with — helped create a ragged and almost disjointed record that’s never quite sure if it’s electric or acoustic, part of the ’60s or part of the ’70s. 
And it’s a brilliant juxtaposition, one that gives After the Gold Rush a feeling of frustration and resignation. It’s a romantic album too — the soft “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” is a highlight — but the sting of “Southern Man,” which immediately follows in the track listing, tempers the mood. 
The entire album is like that: soft, hard. Quiet, loud. Acoustic, electric. It’s almost as if Young was carrying around too many ideas — his first album with Crosby, Stills & Nash, Deja Vu, had only come out in March — and decided to pour them all out onto a 35-minute LP that serves as both a literal and metaphorical link between the abrasive Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and the plaintive Harvest. 
But more than any of this, After the Gold Rush puts an end to ’60s idealism through a mix of songs that cut specifically — the meditative title track, a piano-driven ballad that ranks among Young’s very best — and more abstractly (the album’s opening cut, “Tell Me Why”) into the deep, overriding sorrow that runs throughout the record. “Look at Mother Nature on the run in the 1970s,” he sings on “After the Gold Rush,” pretty much sealing a fate nine months into the new decade. 
After the Gold Rush became Young’s first Top 10 album, making it to No. 8 (he’d score his only No. 1 two years later with Harvest). Two singles were pulled from the record — the acoustic waltz “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “When You Dance I Can Really Love,” recorded with Crazy Horse — but neither cracked the Top 30. It eventually sold more than two million copies. 
And it remains one of Young’s greatest works, a summation of his career up to that point and a sign of things to come. He’d explore the album’s two opposing sides many times over the years, sometimes together (like on 1979’s Rust Never Sleeps) but more often on separate projects that occasionally struggled to make sense of his whims and genre jumping. Here, it all comes together to pay tribute to the era that helped define him. ....By Michael Gallucci.........

To my surprise, Neil Young's best album is his prettiest: After the Gold Rush. I say this for two reasons: 1) because of his reputation as "the Godfather of Grunge," and; 2) because I am not a fan of the California folk-pop sound that dominates the album. Musically it is too self-consciously pretty, too wedded to academic notions of musical composition. As a result, its lyrical matters--often a key component of this type of music--are either completely undermined or, by necessity, childishly goofy. Historically, it is also the cultural moment when we can begin to see the hippie counterculture slowly transform into the 1980s mainstream yuppie with its advocacy of relaxation, new age spirituality, expensive taste, and inoffensive pleasantness. Young, who had perfected a brand of the California sound during his stint with the Buffalo Springfield and his concurrent tenure with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, had diverged wildly from this milieu on his first two solo albums, Neil Young, a strange baroque pop/folk/rock album, and Everybody Knows This is Nowhere, an equally strange but superior collection of country-rock jaunts and long jams that steadfastly revoked the psychedelic era. For his third album, After the Gold Rush, he changed paths once again, this time diving headfirst into the California sound. The album is aided by a fantastic collection of compositions. There are no bad cuts here. While "I Believe in You" and a dour rendition of Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me" don't dazzle as much as some of the other tracks on the record, they still work well within the record's modus operandi: to examine love in all its permutations. Even the filler cuts like "When the Morning Comes" and "Cripple Creek Ferry" are irresistible, even if one wishes they lasted longer. One can safely argue that Neil Young's warbly voice never sounded better. As such, the more sinister numbers on the album, like "After the Gold Rush" and "Don't Let it Bring You Down," have perfect balance. Lyrically, Young was never more cryptic. The aforementioned numbers represent the peak of his poetic powers. Another highlight is "Only Love Can Break Your Heart," a simple number that looks forward to the popularity of this album's follow-up, Harvest. "Southern Man" is one of the record's two rockers (along with "When You Dance You Can Really Love"). Though its lyric is not one of Young's better forays into "message rock" (its a little too reductive and reliant on a geographical stereotype), the lyrics are merely a backdrop to some of Young's best guitar work to date. Over forty years later, After the Gold Rush still appeals to listeners because of the quality of the songwriting, the performances, the relatively unadorned production aesthetic, and its lyrical variety. There is nothing groundbreaking about After the Gold Rush: it is just a good old fashioned record with a bunch of really good songs on it. And though some may disagree with me, Young--who has made several brilliant albums--has never made a record better. For someone like me who generally abhors this particular segment of rock history, that is the highest of

The location of Neil Young’s “After The Gold Rush” album cover in New York, NY.

If you are new to Neil, I'd probably suggest trying this album first to understand how truly gifted he is. This album is so warm and ernest feeling, it's sort of like an older wise friend entertaining on his guitar as the sun goes down on the farm. The style here is definitely folk oriented with hints of country but just plain well written material sums it up well. Nils Lofgren joins Young on this album providing some lovely piano work to accompany Neil's guitar work. Considering so many complain about Neil's voice I have to say it sounds achingly beautiful on this album, I couldn't imagine anyone else singing these songs. "Southern Man", "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", "When You Dance I Can Really Love" and "After the Gold Rush" were probably my favorites but I did love every last song on here. Considering I was someone who just liked Neil Young's songs here and there when I caught them I never thought I'd be an album fan. When I got to listening to this I was instantly sold and a journey has begun, I'll definitely be going through his releases especially if there are more as perfect as this one. Being from Canada much ado has been made about Neil and I finally understand why, he is one of the best with absolute .....

Ah Neil oh Neil! Is there anything about you that sucks? Well, no, nothing about HIM persay that sucks, but he has had a few stinker albums (although many won't agree with me there). Luckily, this is certainly not one of them. This is probably my favorite Neil Young album, come to think of it. I never gave Neil too much of a thought when it comes to ranking and choosing the best albums from him, but alas here I am proclaiming this to be the favorite. That's a bold statement, wouldn't you say? I'm sure anybody who knows this album is probably not against me saying something that strongly, since this is one of the best folk albums that ever graced the ears of the 70s.

Where do we begin? I guess I'll start by saying that this is like one tremendous song to me. No, that's not right, because of "Southern Man". NEW ANALOGY! This is like a family. After the Gold Rush is a big happy family. Let's review exactly why, shall we? We see the opener of "Tell Me Why", which is clearly the grandfather of the whole operation, giving sentimental and nostalgic views about everything. It also have a very warm feeling about it that cannot be matched with any other song from any other album. Remarkable. "After the Gold Rush" is definitely the (dying) grandmother, reminiscing about life and death (mostly death) as she fades away into the opaque realm of oblivion. This is definitely the saddest song here, and I find it hard to believe that I once did not see the beauty in it. Forgive me for being wrong.

"Only Love Can Break Your Heart" is the father, imparting his values and his wisdom upon his child. (On a random side note, I was informed that this song was "ancient". Are thirty-eight year olds considered ancient nowadays?) Not really a whole lot for me to say about this one, but I do like it a lot. The next song is the one that does not fit on this album even a little bit, and at the same time it is my FAVORITE song that this album has to offer: "Southern Man", our great grandfather (nicknamed Pappy). All he does is complain and talk about when things were better in 'the good 'ol days'. Gotta love Pappy, that crazy kook. This song really brings out the best in an angry Neil, exhibiting some of his angriest words and musicianship in a nicely compact five and a half minute track. How more outstanding can you get?

"Till the Morning Comes" is the short, gossipy aunt that NOBODY LIKES. At the same time, everybody invites her to the family gatherings because it's only right. She's not even related to you by blood! Why should I respect her? Haven't we all had those people in our lives? It's only fitting that this family album has one, right? I don't like this song at all, and I don't see any reason to keep it around. It's drivel that needs not be heard. Same goes for "Oh, Lonesome Me". This is the always depressed and single uncle that insinuates that his life is a terrible wreck (and let's face it, it is). Of course, the two people that nobody likes usually go at it every Thanksgiving, and the two contrasting styles of these songs mimic this reality all too well.

Anyway, back onto track with the cool members of the family. "Don't Let It Bring You Down" is the older brother that always seems to know exactly what to say. They always know exactly the right analogies or comparisons to make, and each time they do that, it ends with a big hug and a light noogie. It's only fitting that this song has one of my favorite Neil lines ever, being "It's only castles burning". The irony in that statement always gets me. How I love it. Then we're faced with probably the most prominent members of the family, the mother, "Birds". "Birds" has one of the sweetest and most nurturing of all Neil melodies that have graced my ears, and it always managed to bring a smile to my face. Like a mother, it starts gently, acts gently, and places down gently. This is in every way a remarkable song that I find myself underrating way too often.

"When You Dance You Can Really Love" was a hard one for me to pinpoint, but this is clearly the attractive older sister, who everybody praises for her beauty, who gets straight A's, and who gets millions upon billions of invites to dances and formal social events by boys; she's a very pure and modest person (at least, if I were to base her persona off of this song, she would be), and she's known as the family's highlight. Perhaps the only thing about her that's off is the fact that protective mama "Birds" doesn't allow her to date (although our "Southern Man" pops has no problem with it). Oh well, poor sissy. "I Believe in You" serves as the cousin who nobody doesn't get along with. Everybody in the family seems to revere the cousin as a bit mysterious at times, but at the same time they are a member of the group just like everybody else. Nothing noteworthy to point out, but nothing to decree the idea of taking down points for vague quality. It's an all-around nice song...which leads us into the last song, and the very final addition to the family. "Cripple Creek Ferry" is our baby brother, whose barely a year old, but he's speaking full sentences. Of course he's considered as the cute and sweet ending of the family's generation, as is the song itself. It closes things in this family all too perfectly and rightly.

After the Gold Rush, like a family, requires full participation from every member (although the aunt and uncle can be excluded with glee), and as I've stated before, Neil Young knows how to convey emotion. This album is a gigantic accomplishment for Neil, and for 70s music as a .

So many of my early musical experiences were overshadowed by the War in Vietnam ... I used to envy those who discovered this album while in college, or on the road, sunk deeply into some overstuffed chair, a head full of weed, candles flickering in the darkness, wrapped in the arms of a lover or a friend. After The Gold Rush was first played for me by another Nurse who'd just returned from R&R. It was in the wee small hours of the morning, in one of many Evac Hospitals that dotted Southeast Asia, and she stood quietly, arms filled with new records, as I sat lost in needlework, patching the ripped uniforms and darning the socks of my boys. "This is for you," I remember her saying, and I laughed seeing the album jacket, with the patches sewed onto Neil's jeans. But the album did quickly become my personal record, especially side two, laced with lo-fi songs of distant places, double meanings, heartache, and change ... yet through it all, Neil cracked the door, leaving room for a breath of hope ... something that was in short supply in my corner of the world. 

After all these years, I know exactly what these songs are actually about. I know that most were inspired by the Dean Stckewell and Herb Berman screenplay by the same name ... I also know that each song was personally written just for me, and the place I was in. They were daring dramatic songs, they were songs as good as anything I'd heard from Bob Dylan or The Beatles, because while The Beatles wrote introspective personal songs, and Dylan was creating surrealistic visions, Neil Young captured my heart with an honest voice, delivering songs that I could sing, songs that belonged to me. 

As emotional as this album is, especially "Birds," "Tell Me Why" is incredibly cheery, and resoundingly uplifting, as is "Till The Morning Comes," which like all wonderful things, is far too brief with that catchy horn arrangement. Yet with both of these songs, as pleasant as they are, if one reads between the lines, there are veiled threats of misfortune, suggesting the notion of the protagonist having no control over his problems wandering through nearly all of the tracks, but through it all Neil seems to infer, if unwilling to admit, that we are actually in control of our own collective destiny. 

I'm not a religious person, matter of fact, I'm an Atheist, but I truly feel blessed in my way, that this album ebbed its way into my life in the manner it did. I still see the faces, I still get the chills, and I still swallow with a deep sense of satisfaction each time this bit of plastic finds its way onto my

It's hard for me to even express how much this album means to me - how much it connects with me. I don't listen to it frequently now (because I don't want to overplay it), but if pushed I would probably have to say I think this is the best original album of popular music ever made by anyone. 

Neil's singing here is otherworldly. Except for two songs ("Southern Man" and "When you Dance I can Really Love") everything here is acoustic, so you don't even get too much of Neil's amazing electric guitar work. Doesn't matter - you don't need it. The beauty of these songs just defies description - "Tell Me Why", "After the Gold Rush", "Only Love Can Break Your Heart", "Don't Let it Bring You Down", "Birds", "I Believe in You" - these are songs of spare, haunting beauty. The music is completely intuitive and everything just feels right - the playing is not super tight, but why would you care? That would be like criticizing Starry Night for sloppy brushwork! 

When I'm in the mood for this, I have to struggle not to cry listening to many of these songs - there's great sadness here, and there's no simple, facile answers. Listen to the lyrics on "Birds" - a man has outgrown his lover and he's leaving her to fly to greater heights. He knows this will devastate her, but he does it anyway. It's intensely sad - pathetic in the ancient Greek sense (but not at all in the modern sense of the word) - and just rips you apart a little inside because you know it's really happened so many times and maybe there is no answer - everything will not just be OK. That's the power of these songs - the lyrics work with the music and arrangements to push your emotions over the edge. This is intense, serious, difficult but strikingly beautiful music. 

Neil gives you some breaks between the peaks of intensity with the more lighthearted "Till The Morning Comes" and "Cripple Creek Ferry". If I wanted to nit pick, I would say "Oh, Lonesome Me" is a little weaker than the rest of the album. I can see someone being turned off by the simplicity of many of the songs and lyrics, so if you love complexity in your music, this might not be for you. Otherwise, if you have any taste for acoustic rock/pop, you absolutely must have this ..

The record begins with "Tel Me Why", an acoustic song with some very fine vocals on it.Then comes the classic title song "After The Gold Rush" which only contains Neil Youngs moving voice, some beautiful piano playing and a horn solo."Only Love Can Break Your Heart" is of course a (very nice) love song."Southern Man", one of the albums rockers, has got again Youngs beautifully high vocals and a very express guitar solo. The tempo change from the verse to the solo is pure genius."Till The Morning Comes" is a very short but lively piano ong."Oh,Lonesome Me" is not my favourite Neil Young track, but it fits very well on the album. "Don't Let it Bring You Down" shows again that Young is a master in the writing (and the recording) of very catchy melodies.His singing is marvelous."Birds" (see "Oh Lonesome Me) is a bit too mellow."When You Dance You Can Really Love" is musically the most powerful song on the album, a track with perfect vocal harmonies and quite a simple but great bass line! "I Believe In You" is a very touching song, with a first class chorus."Criple Creek Ferry" makes a short but suitable close to record. 

_After The Gold Rush_ found a unique balance between acoustic songs and electric rockers (but always with same taste for song structure and poetry) and it is without any doubt a 'Top 3' Neil Young record. 
The album was recorded by Neil Young with Crazy Horse, Stephen Stills and the young and very talented Nils Lofgren and therefore it might possibly be one of the most successful collaborations in the history of 

A fantastic album, probably Young's best. Though it's hard to deny his voice grates on the nerves after awhile, songs like "Tell Me Why" and "Only Love Can Break Your Heart" are beautiful but get their points across very effectively. "After the Gold Rush" is one of the prettiest fuckin songs I've ever heard, with Young showcasing that poet in him unlike ever before. The simple piano harmony in that song is so beautiful, the whole song becomes surreal. "Southern Man" is a dark, brooding masterpiece in which Young gives his two cents about a debt the south must carry for the rest of eternity and shows us that I-don't-give-a-flying-fuck-what-you-think,-I'm-getting-my-point-across we all love so much. This album is Young's acoustic masterpiece in 

Despite the one throwaway (“Till the Morning Comes”) and the one half-finished piece (“Cripple Creek Ferry”) that close each side, Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush is one of the best albums of his solo career. Unlike the heavy-handed production that mars his next album, Harvest, After the Gold Rush features a stripped down, mostly acoustic sound and contains an inspired mix of rock, country, and folk music. The theme of the album seems to be about despair, both social and personal. 

The title track is one of the most effective mystical pieces that Young has written. The song imagines the end of the world, either from nuclear war or through neglect of the environment and is told in a mournful tone, with Young's voice a near falsetto backed only by piano. A flugelhorn solo gives the song a regal feel. "I was thinking about what a friend had said/I was hoping it was a lie," sings Young, without revealing what was said or if it came to pass. 

By contrast, “Southern Man” is one of Young’s nastiest early rockers due to its politically charged images of bullwhips and burning crosses. On the surface, it seemed to reflect a geographical area out of touch with the rest of the country as viewed through the eyes of an outsider. Having never grown up in the South myself, I couldn't tell you how accurate those images were, and as a Canadian, I don't know how much exposure Young had to the South, if any. However, a Georgia friend of mine swears that by 1970, the time of this album's release, the South had cleaned up its act considerably. (Perhaps that is why Lynyrd Skynyrd felt the need to record their answer record, “Sweet Home Alabama.”) 

Other songs like “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “Birds” explore the human psyche in response to lost love. The first song is in the tempo of a waltz, a curious but somehow effective choice considering how a relationship can be viewed as a dance. "Birds" is in a similar sorrowful tone as the title track, with just a piano for accompaniment. It is a breakup song where Young tries to comfort his lover from the opening line. "There will be another one," he reassures her before uttering the finality of it all, "It's over, it's over." Also, Young is in fine form on the country song, a Don Gibson cover version of “Oh, Lonesome Me.” His desolate harmonica playing opens the song and follows him after each verse. 

Meanwhile, “Don’t Let it Bring You Down” is a song about broken dreams and trying to pick up the pieces afterward, told as a meandering story of an old, blind man "with an answer in his hand" who gets hit by a bus in the night and isn't discovered until the next day. 

Perhaps as a method of relief for what has come before it, Neil Young and his backing band, Crazy Horse, plug in for the more optimistic “When You Dance I Can Really Love.” Here, as on much of the album, the group is accompanied by a young Nils Lofgren, whose piano playing is a welcome addition to the guitar-heavy sound. 

After the Gold Rush ends rather abruptly. After the affirming but tentative “I Believe in You,” the final track, “Cripple Creek Ferry,” starts to tell a story of a gambling boat being tossed about the water before fading out after the first verse. Metaphorically, the song could be about a relationship going bad (either personally or professionally—he had a tumultuous working relationship with Crosby, Stills & Nash) albeit one that brought him success, but the song has a cheery, almost sing-a-long feel to it that belies its lyrics. Funny way to end such a good album, but then Neil Young has always been something of an .

Neil Young's first masterpiece containing some of his best folk-tinged ballads. My favourite Neil Young album. Acoustic, melancholic, poetic and bittersweet. Lovely. Plus one of his finest rockers; "Southern Man", which prompted Lynyrd Skynyrd to answer with the fantastic "Sweet Home Alabama". .

Neil Young, much like Tom Waits, has always felt like an artist I should have had an obsessive phase with where I listen to nothing else and end up granting several of his albums top marks. It happened with Dylan after all. As it is, and despite me being a fan of everything he recorded from Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere through to Rust Never Sleeps, there are only two Young albums that are really dear to me. And in recent times this one has crept past On The Beach to become the dearest of all. 

After The Gold Rush is pressed from the same mould as Harvest, which is the first Young album I heard (long before I ever got into his work). But while the arrangements on Harvest are a little overwrought this album feels comfortably scaled-down. The two tracks which bookend this album's second side are so slight as to risk appearing inconsequential, but they are instead in possession of a most undeniable charm. The whole album is charming. "Tell Me Why" has the power to stop you in it's tracks with it's beauty. I want to hug this track the moment I hear "Sailing heart-ships through broken harbours...". And the album reciprocates, offering plenty of hugs of it's own. It feels your pain on "Only Love Can Break You Heart" and sees a way out for you on "Don't Let It Bring You Down". Anyone who's ever spent a warm Summer's day indoors feeling sorry for themselves can relate perfectly to the sentiments expressed in "Oh, Lonsesome Me". And it's that honest-to-goodness humanity that makes After The Gold Rush his best album by a

Released in the fall of 1970, Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush has over the course of the past 40 plus years become widely known as a benchmark record of the country-folk genre. Partly inspired by Dean Stockwell-Herb Berman’s screenplay of the same name, After The Gold Rush was Young’s third solo album as well as his commercial breakthrough. 

Due largely in part to the recent notoriety he had acquired in connection with both Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - the latter of which also had two singles, “Teach Your Children” and “Ohio,” on the charts at the time of the album’s release- After The Gold Rush saw Young returning to his roots to hone in on the simple, heart-wrenching and raw confessional style that was both characteristic of his early work and of the country/folk genres at the time. 

Though much more toned down than Young’s second album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Gold Rush displayed a wider-range of songs and introduced what would become a life long exploration of topics such as relationships, drug addiction, politics and the environment. 

Initial sessions for the After The Gold Rush took place at Sunset Sound Studios in Hollywood, while the majority of the album was recorded at a makeshift studio inside Young’s Topanga Canyon home. For his third album, Young enlisted the help of CSN&Y bassist Greg Reeves, Crazy Horse drummer Ralph Molina and a then burgeoning young musical prodigy by the name of Nils Lofgren on piano. As a result, After The Gold Rush produced two charting singles, the simple yet poignantly delivered “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” which was allegedly written after Graham Nash’s breakup with Joni Mitchell and became Young’s first Top 40 hit as a solo artist, and “When You Dance I Can Really Love.” It also featured a self-titled track and the well-known acoustic opener “Tell Me Why,” which immediately set the tone for the album and marked a shift away from the hard-rock appeal of his previous release and into more serious singer-songwriter territory, effectively laying the groundwork for his 1972 album, Harvest. 

But, it was Young’s controversial “Southern Man” that garnered him the most attention. As one of the only real hard, driving tracks on the album, it held a bright light to the racism experienced by blacks in the Deep South, and prompted much repugnance from Southerners during a time of desegregation. It has been said that Lynyrd Skyndyrd wrote their 1974 hit “Sweet Home Alabama,” partially in response Young’s “Southern Man.” 

Interestingly, at the time of After The Gold Rush’s release, critics were unimpressed by Young’s songwriting. Rolling Stone even called the album uniform, suggesting that none of the songs rose above their “dull surface.” Though it took some time to reach critical mass––it wasn’t until a half-decade later that the media began to change their tune and praise the album calling it a “masterpiece.”These days, with more than thirty-five studio albums under his belt, it is almost endearing to revisit a time during which a songwriter of Young’s caliber was dismissed as being lackluster. After The Gold Rush has become widely known as a classic of the era and a staple of Young’s recording career......Juliette Jagger....

This album does not rock as hard as some of his other albums, although it does contain When You Dance and Southern Man, which are fine rockers, and the only ones on the album. There are no duds on this album though, and lyrically he's at his poetic best. You have folk on Tell Me Why, a piano ballad on the After the Gold Rush, harmonizing with his friends on the Only Love, a little angry revisionist history on Southern Man, a romantic steamboat song on Cripple Creek, the high lonesome sound on Lonesome Me (easy to parody to witty effect), a look into darkness on Don't let it Bring You Down, exhiliration on When You Dance, and nice melodies on Birds, I Believe in You and Til the Morning Comes.....BySouthpaw68...

The song "After the Goldrush" was 1st introduced to my ears while listening to the radio in my dad's pickup truck when I was 9 years old. Twelve years later my feelings for that album have not wavered. I have seen reviews by Rolling Stone magazine that say that this album was released prematurely. Upon reading Neil Young's biography and listening to many of his other albums, you will discover that whatever Neil releases is EXACTLY what he wants people to hear. 
After the Goldrush is an album with mixed emotions. I am not a professional reviewer, but I know that the album brings out emotions of both reflection and love. It's an album of great contrast as well. Some songs like "Tell Me Why" and "Cripple Creek Ferry" are sort of light hearted and uplifting while the songs "Don't Let It Bring You Down" and "Oh Lonesome Me"...I think the names speak for themselves. 
Do yourself a favor and get this album. You will never forget it....ByJoel...

Artistic freedom is a concept that appeals to all performers, musicians, and practitioners of the fine arts. Being a painter myself I can really sympathize with this aesthetic journey of one’s own design. A journey to do whatever you desire in your work. When your work embodies your vision, the feeling you get of knowing that it’s purely your design is majestic. 

Sadly not everybody will experience this spiritual release with everything they labor over. Sometimes not everyone can relate to your mind’s eye and certainly nobody thinks like we artistic types do. We are a bit weird at times eh? And when they don’t think on the same wavelength as you do something horrific happens. Your work doesn’t sell. Your quest for individuality was a self-indulgent one, which yields no praise. Many artists fear this stigma and they do their work with other people in mind: Art for the public. They compromise their own dream for a chance at success. 

Some artists however continue their “own” work no matter what the cost. Neil Young is one of these brave artists. His career is laden with examples of his disdain for those who try to chain his artistic freedom like his battle with Geffen and even the creation of this album, which Rolling Stone initially declared to be horrendously dull. 

This album is far from dull. Though it contains a large amount of slow, piano based they sometimes serve as cool-down songs like Till The Morning Comes and Cripple Creek Ferry. Other tracks are emotionally proactive times for Young to share his introspective lyrics with his audience and play good old-fashioned music, without unnecessary distortion and experimentation. I Believe In You is a frank and open piano ballad accompanied with Young’s trademark higher pitched nasally voice. His voice however carries through the track in a surprisingly comfortable manner and blends with the music. Only Love Can Break Your Heart is almost identical but far less interesting. Birds is haunting track about a break up, hidden in a creative metaphor. Don’t Let It Bring You Down is a much more depressing song which follows a similar format. The lyrics are crushingly sad: 

Old man lying 
by the side of the road 
With the lorries rolling by, 
Blue moon sinking 
from the weight of the load 
And the building scrape the sky, 
Cold wind ripping 
down the allay at dawn 
And the morning paper flies, 
Dead man lying 
by the side of the road 
With the daylight in his eyes 

The last three tracks can be viewed as the “standard” songs on this album and all three are very good. But they are completely daunted by the more signature tracks of the album. Tell Me Why is a track with some nice guitar with Young’s best country twang to it. When You Dance You Can Really Love is a great high-energy track with some of the “harder” guitar on the album. The lyrics take back-stage on this track and the musicianship on Young and co. Near the end of the track there is a total stop to the singing and the band just jams, with Young playing a quick solo, the piano becomes erratic, and it flows on in this manner until the songs final second. It’s a brilliant track. Oh, Lonesome Me is a depressing song with some pleasant harmonica and a country feel to it. A VERY country feel…this is however not a bad thing and the song is actually one of the better ones on the whole album. 

Among this whole album however stands to tracks of mammoth proportions. They are the tracks, which stand above all others on the album and as two of Young’s greatest songs period. Yes I am talking about Southern Man and After The Gold Rush. Southern Man is a monumental politically fueled song that lashes out against the racists and segregationists of the south with an acid tongue. He really unloads a shotgun blast at the hypocrisy and injustice of so-called god fairing men. 

Southern man 
better keep your head 
Don't forget 
what your good book said 
Southern change 
gonna come at last 
Now your crosses 
are burning fast 
Southern man 

Lily Belle, 
your hair is golden brown 
I've seen your black man 
comin' round 
Swear by God 
I'm gonna cut him down! 
I heard screamin' 
and bullwhips cracking 
How long? How long? 

Even though I am from the South I still hail this song as Young’s greatest musical achievement and agree with the way he depicts the racism of the South. How can these men sleep at night while they go to work in the morning as preachers, lawyers, teachers, etc. and secretly carry clansmen hoods in their back pockets? How in God’s name can they justify that? I’m not religious either but I’m sure God doesn’t think that the African Americans are less than human. The hatred of men like George Wallace and Jim Crowe will forever be branded on the South, and I am sure that some of these good old southern boy racists are still alive today. Some may claim they are not responsible and that they were brainwashed like Nazi Germany. What a convenient excuse to free them from their shame. This song is strong musically as well, with plenty of impressive guitar solos to boot. 

After The Gold Rush is another song with a heavy meaning behind it. It’s a tear jerking piano ballad sung in an abnormally high pitch, even from Young, about how we developed countries have raped the land for all it’s worth. Urbanization runs it’s course too quickly and leaves too many damaging ramifications to our planet. A good American example of this is our rampage to the western coast of the U.S. and how we mowed down land, ravaged wildlife, and annihilated the Indians in the name of “Manifest Destiny”, the concept to control our continent no matter what the cost. Thank god we stopped before we took over Mexico and Canada as well. On a side note, I am sure this song really spoke to the hippie nation of its time as well. 

Yet even through this criticism Neil Young stands as an immensely successful artist who never compromised his vision. Even Rolling Stone finally yielded to this albums power and rated it as the 71st greatest album of all Spence D. .....

After The Gold Rush is one of four high-profile albums released by each member of folk rock collective Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping 1970 album Déjà Vu. It consists mainly of country folk music, along with the rocking "Southern Man". 

For After The Gold Rush, Neil Young embraced the Country/rock fusion style for which he would become best known. It’s a moderate to slow paced album, which may require a certain type of mood to enjoy, but once tuned in, the music is an infusion of genres a nice variety of electric and acoustic guitars along with steady rhythms and just enough intense edge to make it artistically viable. 

Every track is good, all showing some value with very little filler, making the album solid as a whole. 

Much of After The Gold Rush was recorded in Young’s basement studio in California, with Young setting out to find a middle ground between the Crazy Horse and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. 

The album got its title from an unpublished screenplay by Dean Stockwell-Herb Berman, for which Young wanted to write the soundtrack. However, the film was never produced and the actual script has been lost to time. 

The acoustic track with plenty of hammer-ons along with bright strumming guitar action drives the opening track “Tell Me Why”, which also includes some sparse but nice harmonies. The indelible title track is a classic ballad, simple and measured with the sparse arrangement of a distant piano and near lead vocals, with session man Bill Peterson adding a pleasant flugelhorn lead. The lyrics to “After The Gold Rush” are at once disparate and yet very poetic in a song that reflects contemporary life. 

“Only Love Can Break Your Heart” was the only real radio hit on the album, as it returns to the Country sound with strong pop elements. This Tin-Pan-Alley like song has a wistful melody and a waltz-like beat with a simple arrangement. In contrast, “Southern Man” contains a solid rock groove featuring Young on electric guitar and then-18-year-old Nils Lofgren on piano. There are harmonized vocals during hook, solo vocals during the verses and an extended jam in the middle. The lyrics vividly describe the racism towards blacks in the American South, with a sweeping accusation which sparked a direct response by Lynard Skynard on their later hit “Sweet Home Alabama”. 

“When You Dance I Can Really Love”, a very Byrds-esque jangly rocker, which seems to work a bit too. “I Believe In You” is one final, sweet Country ballad with complex harmonies and plenty of mellow sonic treats dispersed throughout the straight-forward, traditional love/heartache song. The album concludes with “Cripple Creek Ferry”, a way-too-short song which is nonetheless deep and effective. 

Critics were not immediately impressed; the 1970 review in Rolling Stone magazine by Langdon Winner was negative, with Winner feeling that, "none of the songs here rise above the uniformly dull surface." Critical reaction has improved with time; by 1975, Rolling Stone was referring to the album as a "masterpiece", and After The Gold Rush is now considered a classic album in Young's recording career..... by Captain Stomp....

Klinger: It’s curious that After the Gold Rush is Neil Young’s first visit to the Great List. Not only has he been recording for over 40 years, but I think it’s safe to say that just about everybody likes at least some aspect of Neil Young’s music. For the grunge/alt-rock types, there’s his Crazy Horse output. There’s loads of acoustic strummery for the folkies and alt-country types. Non-alt-anything people always have his Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young/Harvest work. For people who like records sung by robots, there’s Trans. Why, even your beloved Radiohead is on the Neil Young trolley, Mendelsohn.

Much of what Young has done throughout his career (Trans notwithstanding) can be found crystallized right here on After the Gold Rush. In fact, that becomes clear from the opening track, “Tell Me Why”—just listening to that makes you realize just what a difference there was between CSN and CSNY. As a template for what was to become a career, this is a pretty remarkable album. So remark away, my friend.

Mendelsohn: I don’t know, dude. I’m a little leery of this record. The thing that sticks out in my mind is the fact Rolling Stone panned this record after it came out. And this is coming from the Rolling Stone that was still a semi-reputable source for music criticism. But then, ten years later, they did a complete reversal and hailed After the Gold Rush as one of the highlights of the decade, effectively drinking the Kool-Aid, and joining the chorus of praise. I want to know what happened. Who got to them? Was it the FBI? The aliens? Reptoids? Because right off the bat, I was inclined to agree with the Nixon-era Rolling Stone. Not worthy. So pour me a cup of Kool-Aid, Klinger, I’m getting thirsty.

Klinger: You’re always thirsty. But even though I’ve developed a reasonably solid appreciation for this disc (especially after that delightful afternoon with the Reptoids), I’m not sure I’m the right guy to be ladling out anything. Again, I believe that After the Gold Rush is Neil Young in quintessence, with all of the pieces and parts that make up his sound captured in one place. You want minor-key electric rantings? “Southern Man”, baby. Sweet folkie stylings? “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” is the tune for you, sir. Apocalyptic doom-saying juxtaposed with delicate piano? The quite-nearly-perfect title track. Young’s own perverse appreciation for roots music, which he’s returned to again and again throughout his career, is on display as he transforms Don Gibson’s jaunty 1958 country classic “Oh Lonesome Me” into the moper’s lament that it probably always was under the surface.

It’s all in there, and I maintain that what really happened in the example you describe is that Neil Young beat Rolling Stone by forcing their hand. Throughout the 1970s, Young worked actively to defy everyone’s expectations. After the Gold Rush gave way to the more commercial Harvest, and after that all bets were off. He proved himself as a commercial force, and then demonstrated his commitment to his muse time and again. If he had just faded away (pun intended), the critics could have forgotten all about him. But by the end of the 1970s, no critic could deny Neil Young the artist, and the safest place for them to land was right here—After the Gold Rush hits the sweet spot between his “popular” work and his “difficult” work.

Mendelsohn: So what, is this entry just a case of the critics refusing to take either the high road or the low road? Middling, if you will, with indecision on where to place an artist due to his wildly varied output? Is After the Gold Rush just the place holder for the genre that is Neil Young?

At this point in the list we are transitioning out of the iconic albums and starting to see some interesting records pop up, the type of records that don’t necessarily make sense by themselves but for whatever reason are highly regarded enough to push them into the top 100. Maybe I need another cup of Kool-Aid and a couple more spins through this album.

Klinger: You’re right that the albums at this level are less culturally game-changing, but they still serve as solid representations of the form, even beyond their own merits. I’m a relative latecomer to Neil Young’s work, having opted out of the full-on Neil embracing that went on in about the mid-1990s (no way was I going to let Eddie Vedder boss me around). For a long time I used to say that I understood that Neil Young was a great artist, but I had virtually no interest in ever listening to his music. Obviously I’ve softened on that point, and that happened mainly as a result of recognizing that the so-called outliers in his career were part of a bigger picture—that yes, there kind of is a genre that is Neil Young.

While I appreciate much of Young’s output now, and I think After the Gold Rush is indeed a particularly compelling centerpiece to the genre, I can also understand why some people are put off by his work. So I reckon that before I can dispense any flavored drink mix, I think I should know why you need it. What about After the Gold Rush isn’t moving you?

Mendelsohn: There’s nothing I can put my finger on. Perhaps I just don’t know how to listen to Neil Young yet, because I’m still not on the Neil Young bandwagon. The songs I can connect with, “Southern Man” and “When You Dance You Can Really Love”, are the songs with a harder edge and satisfy my rock lust. I even have an ironic appreciation for the title track because Young makes an allusion to the Reptoids and their “silver spaceships”. The rest of the album seems to come off as too folksy. Plug your guitar back in, Neil.

Klinger: Ah, see now, I have the exact opposite reaction to Neil Young in general and After the Gold Rush in particular. Call me a softie—you wouldn’t be the first—but I usually find that his electric excursions come across as too minor-key and dirge-like for my tastes. I know Young’s a nut for those skronk-dafied guitar jams, but I can’t help thinking it gets in the way of his true gift, which is his way with a melody. Much like Bob Dylan, Neil Young has a not-conventionally-attractive voice, and both of them have an ability to write the kind of indelible melodies that make their songs pop even when the singer’s larynx falls short. Plus those electric tracks usually mean that a long guitar solo is coming, and I tend to view long guitar solos the same way I view lengthy battle scenes in summer blockbusters: it’s going to end eventually, and everything’s going to turn out OK, and knowing this I’ll be darned if my mind doesn’t start to wander the whole time it’s going on.

And my appreciation for the title track is anything but ironic. It might have some odd references to science fiction-y stuff, but to me it evokes perfectly the circa-1970 shift between the naiveté of the hippie dream and the paranoia that would come to strike even deeper. And again, that melody. (Of course, you’d think that once the Harry Dean Stanton post-apocalyptic film deal fizzled out that Neil might have rethought the spaceship lyrics, but then he wouldn’t really be Neil Young, then, would he?)

Maybe if you gave a listen to Thom Yorke singing “After the Gold Rush” you might get filled with Kool-Aidy goodness?

Mendelsohn: Your dislike for the things I like about this album is helpful. I can now think of some of Young’s material as a sort of proto-alterna-rock and in that light, this album starts to make much more sense to me. If I had simply thought of it as folk-based classic rock in the same realm of Dylan or CSN&Y, I may never have been able to get a grasp on it. Plus, I like well-choreographed fight scenes and long guitar solos. Hell, I’ll sit through an hour of exposition and subtitles just for five good minutes of someone getting punched in the face. So sign me up for more of that. And if Thom Yorke is Neil Young fan (which must make him a Reptoid as well) then I stand little chance of resisting.

In the end, I think this is one of those albums that is going to grow on me. One day I’ll wake up with “After the Gold Rush” spinning in my head and I’ll be a Neil Young fan. Strike that. I’ve just been informed by my kindly reptile overlords that today is in fact that day, and from now on I will fully appreciate all facets of Neil Young, be it his folksy, warbling melody or his minor key skronk. Do I have to enjoy Trans as well? No? Thank you my benevolent lizard rulers, you are as wise as you are powerful.

Suddenly I’m not thirsty anymore.....By Jason Mendelsohn & Eric Klinger....Pop Matters.....

Neil Young devotees will probably spend the next few weeks trying desperately to convince themselves that After The Gold Rush is good music. But they'll be kidding themselves. For despite the fact that the album contains some potentially first rate material, none of the songs here rise above the uniformly dull surface. In my listening, the problem appears to be that most of this music was simply not ready to be recorded at the time of the sessions. It needed time to mature. On the album the band never really gets behind the songs and Young himself has trouble singing many of them. Set before the buying public before it was done, this pie is only half-baked. 

"Southern Man" is a good example. As a composition, it is possibly one of the best things Neil Young has ever written. In recent appearances with Crosby, Stills and Nash, the piece has had an overwhelmingly powerful impact on audiences. But the recording of "Southern Man" on After The Gold Rush fulfills very little of this promise. By today's standards, the ensemble playing is sloppy and disconnected. The piano, bass and drums search for each other like lovers lost in the sand dunes, but although they see each others' footprints now and then, they never really come together. Young tries to recover the dynamics of the piece with his voice alone, but can't quite make it: On this and the other really interesting tunes on the album -- "Don't Let It Bring You Down," and "I Believe In You" -- the listener hears only a faint whisper of what the song will become. 

Another disturbing characteristic of the record, oddly enough, is Young's voice. In his best work Young's singing contains genuine elements of pathos, darkness and mystery. If Kafka's story "The Hunger Artist" could be made into an opera, I would want Neil Young to sing the title role. But on this album this intonation often sounds like pre-adolescent whining. The song "After The Gold Rush," for instance, reminds one of nothing so much as Mrs. Miller moaning and wheezing her way through "I'm A Lonely Little Petunia In An Onion Patch." Apparently no one bothered to tell Neil Young that he was singing a half octave above his highest acceptable range. At that point his pathos becomes an irritating bathos. I can't listen to it at all. 

There are thousands of persons in this country who will buy and enjoy this record. More power to them, I suppose. But for me the test of an album is whether or not its quality is such that it allows you to grow into it a little more with each subsequent listening. And I find none of that quality here. To the 70 or 80 people who wrote to Rolling Stone in total rage that I could be anything but 100% delighted with Deja Vu, I will simply say: this record picks up where Deja Vu leaves off. .....By Langdon Winner....Rolling Stone.....

Backing Vocals – Stephen Stills 
Bass – Billy Talbot, Greg Reeves 
Drums – Ralph Molina 
Guitar, Harmonica, Piano, Vibraphone, Vocals – Neil Young 
Guitar, Vocals – Danny Whitten 
Piano – Jack Nitzsche 
Producer – David Briggs, Kendall Pacios, Neil Young 
Vocals, Piano – Nils Lofgren 
Written-By – Neil Young (tracks: A1 to A5, B2 to B6)

A1 Tell Me Why 2:54 
A2 After The Goldrush 3:45 
A3 Only Love Can Break Your Heart 3:05 
A4 Southern Man 5:41 
A5 Till The Morning Comes 1:17 
B1 Oh Lonesome Me 
Written-By – Don Gibson 
B2 Don't Let It Bring You Down 2:56 
B3 Birds 2:34 
B4 When You Dance I Can Really Love 3:44 
B5 I Believe In You 2:24 
B6 Cripple Creek Ferry 1:34 

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