I’ve done things I know you’ll never understand…

Some days are just so weird, a day of interviewing therapists and all the odd questions that entails, boundaries, philosophy, modalities and other made up words that defy meaning outside the jargon encrusted books of the ‘ologies.

How to deal with this, pick something left field and go for it.

img_5758In 1985 Neil Young was having something of an odd moment. He was extolling the virtues of Ronald Reagan and declaring that he had given up the rock and was becoming a country singer. Now those who had been paying attention may declare that he had always been a country singer. Thankfully this decision had more to do with pissing off David Geffen than anything else and he picked old black up again and grunged out within possibly weeks.

What this left us the fan with was one of the funnest records of Young’s lost Geffen years in Old Ways. Featuring contributions from Waylon and Willie and a piano player called Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Marty Robbins and Bela Fleck turn up plucking away we have here a joyful celebration of what country music sounds like if you are Neil Young. It’s kind of twisted and yet familiar and sounds like a whole lot of fun, especially if you can find a copy of the live album released of the tour A Treasure.

Misfits makes the whole album worthwhile. It’s a nightmare song that is more psychedelic than country. It’s a nightmare of the world seen through the eyes of a jaded rock star ending with the forbidding lines:

The voice of Houston callin’
Brought them back to the scene
Except the sky is fallin’
Do you know what that means?

No Neil we do not know what it means but it is terrifying. There were four more odd albums waiting for the fan before Neil finally found his way again, but those strange wilderness year albums of excursions and detours are still compelling listening. It requires a willingness to switch genre sometimes in the same song and a belief that something good is lurking there and the knowledge that eventually there is Freedom on the way.

Happy Trails indeed.

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