Thursday, July 13, 2006

Freedom Of Speech '06

"Freedom of Speech", the 2006 tour by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young is underway. I've been holding my tongue (and keyboard) long enough on this one. As has been well documented, particularly in the early days of this blog, I am a HUGE fan of Neil Young. In fact, I have gained quite a few pounds over the years. But, really the "HUGE" was meant to indicate an intensity of fandom on my part.

However, I've never made any secrets about CSNY being my least favorite of the many sides of Neil. I love "Ohio" as much as the next guy. In fact, I really don't have a problem with Neil's CSNY songs. It's the other three douches I can't quite tolerate.

I'm a bit hesitant to refer to Nash as a douche. He seems like a great guy (from my outside, looking in perspective). But, his song contributions (e.g., "Our House" and "Teach Your Children") are the worst type of overly sentimental tripe. "Our House" belongs on an instant coffee commercial, and "Teach Your Children" should probably be given to Barney, the children's purple dinosaur character.

Stills, on the other hand, has written some good tunes (e.g., "For What It's Worth" with Buffalo Springfield, "Find The Cost Of Freedom", etc.). But, he's a raging prick. And, he's written some shit too. "Love The One You're With" springs to mind. Good call, Stephen. If you can't infect the one you love with an STD, infect the one you're with...

Crosby. The name itself is synonymous with pretentious bullshit in my book. "Almost Cut My Hair"??? Are you fucking serious?! That's a song?! Man, the mere existence of that song cracks me up to this day. Why not "Almost Changed My Underwear"? Or, "Almost Didn't Eat All Of The Second Large Pizza By Myself"?

I'm not saying Neil is perfect. I was honest about which albums I preferred. Granted, it was almost all of them. But...

Anyway, I'm glad Neil is playing most of his new album live (all but "America The Beautiful" at the tour opener). I'm just not sure he needs the added baggage of CSN. It's so wild looking at the setlists, which are basically a CSN greatest hits with Neil's Living With War tunes and maybe "Rockin' In The Free World" as an encore. It just underscores the degree to which Neil keeps producing new material while CSN float along.

And those ticket prices...$95 to $255 or even more...HOLY SHIT!!! I'll pass.


Blogger Beth said...

*stands and applauds*

Whenever I think of CSNY, I always think of "which of these things don't go with the other?" I tried for years to like CSNY, but I, too, only like the Y tunes.

How many times have you seen Mr. Young live?

6:41 AM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Neil Young is an *amazing* live performer. I have stacks of "unofficial" live releases, including several with video on DVD. I also have all his official live videos.

That said, I've only actually seen him live in-person twice. Once with Crazy Horse in 1991 (the tour from which the live album WELD was drawn). And, more recently at FarmAid 2005, where he blistered through a version of "Southern Man" for the ages. Great stuff.


7:49 AM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

Look, obviously Neil is trying to help some old friends get back on their feet. Give him a break.

Sure, they're lame - but if Neil is there it at least gives a counterpunch to the harmonies.....

But I ain't goin' neither!

7:57 AM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

I've seen Neil three times.

One show he was backed by Booker T & the MGs -- Booker T, Steve Cropper, all of 'em. (Was this the Harvest Moon tour, or the year before? I think it was the summer before.) Anyway, most of the kids didn't get who his backing band was. As an encore, they played "Dock of the Bay" ... I jumped up and started dancing and singing after the second chord ... sadly, most of the kids at the outdoor amphitheater didn't know the song until several lines into it.

And I saw the Bridge School benefit in 1998, with R.E.M. and Phish and eels. Neil played "Harvest" and "Ambulence Blues" with R.E.M. F*cking awesome.

8:12 AM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Keith: I think you're in about the same place I am with this one. This tour does no permanent damage to my Neil-fan status. My only protest is by keeping my $$ and staying home.

Beth: Who are these people that would see Neil in concert and yet not recognize that classic intro to "Dock of the Bay"??! No students of pop music history, that's for sure. Neat line-up to see Neil with, by the way. And, Neil doing 2 of his classics with REM...I'm speechless!!! I might have to try to trade with someone for a recording of that show...

8:21 AM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

Especially when you're in Georgia, home of the late, great Otis Redding. Most of that audience were kids. I think it was the Sleeps with Angels tour, so it pulled in a lot of twentysomethings.

I have some of the R.E.M./Neil tunes; I'll dig them up. Do you MP3?

11:39 AM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Most certainly, I "MP3". I know all the true audiophiles out there could launch into dissertations about the evils of the mp3 format. I suppose my ears just aren't that discerning...I take whatever I can get!!!

By the way, Otis had one of my favorite "soul" voices of the '60s. Sam Cooke would make that short list, as well.

2:05 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

Bill Graham, the rock promoter, (and if you ever get a chance to read his biography - do it because it's amazing) said there of all the people he ever saw in person (and he saw EVERYONE)there were only two that were amazingly special.

Jimi Hendrix and Otis Redding.

He said that their very presence exuded sexuality. Regardless of race, gender or whatever - when they took the stage and plied their craft, everything stopped and you became engrossed in their mojo.

So long live Otis on the Dock of His Bay. And no matter what ever happens in my life - I will always wonder "what if 6 were 9".


4:31 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Dale said...

Your only solace may be that Stills doesn't seem to have a leg to stand on Haahnster.

Saw Neil once live and it rocked like nothing I'd ever seen, even the first act acoustic set.

8:06 PM, July 13, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

Haahnster, I'll get the MP3s ready for you. "Ambulence Blues" was included on an R.E.M. fan club CD (they send one every Christmas), so it's a good recording. I've looked for "Harvest" for ages, and I can't remember if I found a copy or not. When I have them (I'm dogsitting at my sister's this weekend, so I don't have the full 20,000+ MP3 collection with me), I'll let you know.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, ever performed "Try a Little Tenderness" better than Otis. Tears my heart out.

6:45 AM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Keith: I like the "if 6 were 9" reference. Axis: Bold As Love is an amazing album that many casual Jimi fans overlook. Of course, I'm still not sure how anyone can be a "casual" Jimi fan in the 1st place. I'm not claiming to listen to Hendrix all the time. But, when I do, it's *always* an intense experience.

Dale: Thanks for the link. I like your post. Sounds like Stills isn't quite the nimble guy I'm sure he once was...

Beth: Sweet! And, have fun with the dog.

7:12 AM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

Haahnster, one of these days we need to sit down (or type) to discuss starting our own music mag blog. Between your obsessions and mine, we'll be the coolest f*cking people on the blogosphere. Forget Stereogum!

11:56 AM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Now, that's ambition! I'm a fan of ambition. Unfortunately, my ambition is very seldom backed up by the requisite intestinal fortitude.

That said, tell me more about the idea, because I haven't the 1st clue how that would even work.

12:43 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

I'm older. Seen more stuff. I can be the editor of your ambitious blogospherical music mag.

12:47 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger Beth said...

We'll just have to write cool stuff. My Beck post was linked on Stereogum, and I got tons of hits from that. Let me think this through over the weekend ... because I'm rather serious. Keith, you're in?

3:58 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger Dale said...

Just promise to let me read it.

6:11 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger Old Lady said...

Okay, Twenty years makes a huge difference in understanding some things. The times that those songs were written were explosive, mind bending, descriptive times. Every issue in the closet for generations before us was outed by the music, the in your face protestations & hard hitting questions. "Almost Cut My Hair" was a big song-it represented going back to the way things were. Having long hair at that time was a statement-a strong statement. "Love the One Your With" does not translate to today's safe sex. It should be admired, as all period music, for it's quality and meaning for the time it was written. "Teach Your Children" references a times when we all questioned our government, our parents and what was truth as it was presented to us. "Our House" is representative happier times. CSNY were the final product of a group of very famous musicians who played and collaberated on songs together in California. Jim Messina, Jackson Brown, Linda Rhondstat, etc. They crisscrossed each other and played in various groups with each other, eg, Buffalo Springfield, Poco, Byrds, and so on. Neil Young was the rebel of the group and has always written biting commentary that was put to music, he is a true artist.

Music in the 50's and early 60's experienced a revolution that has not been equaled since. Creative license was not held back. Like an old victrola recording of Rudy Valle-early rock and roll is a signature of a time and descriptive of a way of life.

6:39 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

You rock, old lady! I like your post, and I even agree with most of it. I'll go a bit out of order here (it's a confusion technique I learned from watching political "debates").

1) "Love The One You're With" - OK, I freely admit that was an easy shot at Stills. Of course, he shouldn't have been expected to predict the onset of the AIDS epidemic. However, isn't his message still a bit naive? Did no one *anywhere* predict that there would be *any* consequences (physical or emotional) from such a reckless lifestyle?
2) "Almost Cut My Hair" - Yeah, I get the whole "freak flag fly" concept. The equivalent for a male in my age group (born 1970) would be "Almost Let The Piercing In My Left Ear Grow Closed". You'll just never convince me that Crosby isn't a self-important, bloated, pretentious douchebag. We'll just disagree on that one, I suppose.
3) I stand by my statements on "Our House" and "Teach Your Children" and feel they need no further amplification/explanation, except this single word: tripe. Historical context be damned. Those songs suck.
4) I read your list of names with interest. I know all that musical history. Trust me. Let me clarify for the record that Ronstadt has a helluva voice--great singer. But, she never wrote a song of which I'm aware. Great voice though...especially on Neil's HARVEST album. Yes, Nash was from the Hollies, Stills & Young from Buffalo Springfield, and Crosby from the Byrds. The late '60s were the great party, and the '70s were the hangover and general state of bloated incapacitation, musically speaking. Not for all, but for many artists, that is.

Check my archives for more on Neil Young. The first 2 months or so of this blog were almost exclusively dedicated to reviewing each of his 40 or so albums.

Finally, hey, I thank my lucky stars every day for Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, and everyone else that helped "rock and roll" build enough momentum in its early days to keep it going as a viable musical format. None of that changes my impressions of Stills and *especially* Crosby. I suppose I'm simply beyond reason...

7:27 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger Old Lady said...

For us there was so much variety and everything different was gobbled up as quickly as it could be aired. I do miss the album rock stations of the early 70's. My brother is the musicologist in the family. He managed and knew many of the bands out of Athens, Georgia. Brains, Devo, REM, Swimming Pool Q's, Black Crowe's, B-52's. When I take my trips down memory lane and remember all the various genres that came out during the '60s and how the music evolved and how quickly it evolved it "blows my mind". My parents weren't restrictive with us regarding the arts in any format and my brother spent all his money on "new" music. I get bored listening to the radio these days, hell, I was a Hendrix fan at the age of 14-the first song I heard of his was "Hey, Joe"(well not his song) and that was when the Stones "Satisfaction" was on the charts. But I digress.

Stills is definitely a player. But, if you listen to the songs from the past, alot of them are that way. But, I still enjoy them and put the lyrics in a place that reflects the mind set of the times.

I think Rohndstat was dating Jackson Brown, right? And that is why she was with that bunch. I have senior moments now and again.

I will read your archives for sure.

While I like formula songs-I also like songs that don't fit the standards of the industry.

Peace, love , Rock & Roll

10:31 PM, July 14, 2006  
Blogger Keith Kennedy said...

Wow - Old Lady rocks!

I used to write record reviews back in the old days and still remember trying to find the words to describe the emotions that music stirs in some of us. Tough duty.

And recognizing that most people don't give a rat's ass about any of that is what finally burned me out.

Now all I write for publication is sports stuff and that's getting old too.

SO - let's just all agree to rock on and agrue about who what when where and how.

12:29 PM, July 15, 2006  

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