Thursday, February 23, 2006

Request lines are now open

For those of you who might not know, this is Macky Ole. Macky is a faithful reader of this humble little blog. Macky expressed several concerns in his last comment posted here:

Interesting RS piece. I haven't heard most of the stuff on
that list, with the exception of Razor Love, Big Time (love it), and Soldier (meh).

However, given your ownership of every damn Neil album ever, I'd like to see what kind of Lost Songs list you could put together. A future post? You're running out of albums dude, but the Neil content must live on. I'd also like to get your take on a potential greatest hits set - let's say 15 songs.

I linked to Rob Sheffield's Rolling Stone piece (to which Macky refers) in my post on SILVER & GOLD (2000), which was called something silly like "Y2K, Precious Metals, and 'New' Old Tunes". This RS piece was sort of an article within the featured article on Neil in the Jan. 26, 2006 issue. It was called "The Lost Songs", which is even sillier than my titles, since all the songs listed are readily available on commercially released albums. More on "Lost Songs" in a minute.

Unfortunately, Macky is 100% correct when he says that I'm running out of albums to review. More importantly, he's at least 100% correct (maybe more!) when he says "the Neil content must live on." I did already have a few ideas for future posts. Now, Macky has made a couple of requests, which I will certainly honor. But, first I want to comment further on "The Lost Songs".

Part of being a Neil Young fan is trolling through his bad albums in search of buried treasures. So here's the ultimate Neil Young mix CD -- seventy-eight minutes of stellar songs on not-so-stellar albums. Remember: It's better to burn CDs than fade away.

Rob Sheffield, you are certainly giving me a run for my money in the "I'm sooo clever"-department. However, I'm not ready to concede that these are all "bad albums". So, Mr. Sheffield, your premise is somewhat flawed. But, let's take a look at your list just for fun:

1. "I'm the Ocean" - Mirror Ball, 1995
2. "Razor Love" - Silver and Gold, 2000
3. "Big Time" - Broken Arrow, 1996
4. "Captain Kennedy" - Hawks and Doves, 1980
5. "Will to Love" - American Stars 'n Bars, 1977
6. "Slowpoke" - Looking Forward, 1999
7. "Soldier" - Journey Through the Past, 1972
8. "Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze" - Re-ac-tor, 1981
9. "Mideast Vacation" - Life, 1987
10. "Kinda Fonda Wanda" - Everybody's Rockin', 1983
11. "Goin' Home" - Are You Passionate?, 2002
12. "Slip Away" - Year of the Horse, 1997
13. "Out of My Mind" - Buffalo Springfield, 1967
14. "Stringman" - Unplugged, 1993

First off, I'll never include anything on any "best of Neil" type of list that wasn't performed by a band whose name started with the word "Neil". Sorry, Buffalo Springfield, CSNY, etc. are EXCLUDED by me. Sure, there are some great songs. But, if I start opening the door for them, where do I draw the line? I just can't handle that type of pressure. So, if the album was put out under "Neil..." (e.g., "Neil Young", "Neil Young & Crazy Horse", "Neil Young with Crazy Horse", "Neil Young and the Shocking Pinks", etc.) it's eligible. All apologies to the rest (e.g., "Stills-Young Band").

Beyond that, I still get pissed off reading the words "bad albums", and then right off the bat he goes to MIRROR BALL, SILVER & GOLD, etc. I'm sorry, but I do not consider those to be "bad albums". So, I'll use words like "underrated" and "underappreciated" instead. Otherwise, I just can't do this. So, I'll start by comparing which songs I would've picked from the "Neil" albums on Sheffield's list.

"I'm the Ocean" is a GREAT choice. However, "Act of Love" and "Downtown" certainly would've been fine as well. "Razor Love" is a great song, but so is every song on S&G. Here, I think he just really wanted to make his clever little comment about bootlegs, the @sshole.

If I were picking the "hidden gems" from B.A. and H&D, I probably would've picked "Big Time" and "Captain Kennedy" as well. The "Big Time" choice is fairly obvious, particularly since he nabs the YOTH version of "Slip Away" later on his list. However, the "Captain Kennedy" choice leads me to believe that he actually listened to HAWKS & DOVES. What a great song! And I quote myself (sorry) from my Feb 2, 2006 post, "Now, 'Captain Kennedy' is the hidden gem. This one really explores a Dylanesque style, early Dylan at that ('He worked 'til his fingers wore to the bone/To buy that wooden schooner and sail on his own')." -- But that's not to say that there aren't any other good songs on the album (e.g., "Comin' Apart At Every Nail").

On "Will to Love", I wrote the following in my Jan. 27th post: "'Will to Love' (May'76) is a 100% Neil solo effort, and seems to anticipate future songs like 'Pocahontas' and 'Ride My Llama', though this one is longer and slower." -- I do really like this song, but there's also "Star of Bethlehem", "Saddle Up the Palomino", etc. (I'll go ahead and assume that "Like A Hurricane" isn't eligible for a "lost songs list", but it's sure on AS&B!)

"Soldier"? It's on DECADE, which means it's certainly far from "lost". By the way, Macky, not to disappoint you (quote: "given your ownership of every damn Neil album ever"), but even I do not own JOURNEY THROUGH THE PAST! So, I'm guessing Sheffield's inclusion of this song was motivated by his desire to throw in the snide comment, "butt-ugly soundtrack to a self-directed movie nobody ever saw."

RE*AC*TOR?!! I'm going "on the record" (AGAIN!) in support of this entire album as a proto-grunge noise-fest of sublime proportions. "Surfer Joe..." is wonderful. No complaint there. But, how about "Shots" for example? Or, "Southern Pacific", for chrissakes...Just buy this whole damned album, OK?!

This post has grown beyond the point of decency. So, I'll cut it off here. TO BE CONTINUED(?)...


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