I was heading for the ditch and hit a detour.
There is no musician more ornery than Neil Young. Known for his rocking excursions into extreme feedback and his gentle acoustic meanderings he is fairly predictably going to do something that will confuse, anger and energize you. The bizarre wilderness that was the Geffen years was a period of pastiches and dead ends, variously hillbilly country, big band blues and rockabilly nightmares not to mention the computer vocals of Trans.
Which brings me to one of this weeks impulse buys, A Treasure, one of the Neil Young Live Archive releases. I may have bought four or maybe five this week. The tour prior to recording Old Ways in 1984/85 took place while Young was being sued for releasing music that was not representative of himself by his record company. A Treasure is taken from this tour and it sounds like it was a whole lot of fun, especially as he was on tour with no album and no support from the label.
So what we have is a rock musician playing with some ace country session players and the rest of the band being made up of the usual suspects like Ben Keith and Spooner Oldman. What really changes the sound though is the fiddle and mandolin, what makes it different from Harvest though is Young’s attempt to sound like a country band rather than country rock but that’s a country band with Young’s psyched out feedback drenched guitar firmly seated in the middle of the mess.
This is all brought to fruition on Grey Riders the last track on the album, this is psychedelic country at it’s best, fuzz guitar feed backing solo’s mandolins and fiddles and Young howling at the moon.