Posts Tagged ‘Crazy horse’

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a great new album by the great guitarist, songwriter and member of no less than two legendary rock bands Neil Young’s Crazy Horse and Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band Nils Lofgren.  Don’t get me wrong, he’s put out some good albums in the interim but none of them really stuck with me like his 1985 album Flip did.  Given that Nils raised the bar pretty high early on in his career with some legendary song writing, such as the then-timely radio friendly hit “Keith Don’t Go” from 1975 some of us older fans have great expectations. 

In the late 1970s Nils collaborated with Lou Reed, the results of which were sort of scattered across a number of different recordings of by both artists. So unless you were intimate with Lou Reed’s album The Bells (1979) and Nils’ self titled album from that same year and 1995’s Damaged Goods, chances are most of you have not heard the songs. As it turns out there were several other additional tracks from that collaboration which never saw the light of day and Nils has finally decided to finish up those songs up, partly the basis of his new album called Blue With Lou. There’s much more to this record than just those collaborations, however.

At the heart of Blue With Lou is a great band that Nils assembled to work up the songs, all record in his garage home studio. In the finest Crazy Horse tradition, these songs rock madly and have that wonderful tight-but-loose feel that can only be generated by a group of musicians who are intimate with one another and the music they’re playing. And intimate they are:  Nils has played with drummer Andy Newmark and bassist Kevin McCormack for decades. These guys are kindred spirits and that comes through in the music which rings true as authentic as authentic rock ‘n roll gets.  All that great playing would be for naught if the songs were forgettable.

Happily, Nils seems to have found his melodic muse and those melodic hooks ‘n riffs he’s been known for — but not often celebrated — are back! A musician’s musician, the reason Nils is in bands with Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young is because he’s a brilliant guitarist with a distinctive sound and technique. You get that all over “Blue With Lou” but you also get some great songs! 

Tracks like “Attitude City” and “Rock or Not” deliver genuine ear-worms you’ll be tapping your toes or steering wheel as you rock along with Nils and his band. This album is a great one for driving on the highway, by the way. 

Blue With Lou is not without its soft spots though. There are touching moments including a tribute to Tom Petty (“Dear Heartbreaker”) and seemingly simple references to the great filmmaker Charlie Chaplin.  “Talk Thru The Tears” mashes up chord progressions akin to John Lennon’s “Starting Over” and “Isolation” with melodic springboards from Chaplin’s classic “Smile” (which itself is apparently based on melodies from Puccini’s Tosca!). 

I don’t know if this is a bit of conceptual continuity but Chaplin comes up in the lyrics to “City Lights” his legendary film from 1930; Lou Reed previously recorded this song for his 1979 album “The Bells” but this new version is much nicer, replete with a refreshingly unusual retro 1950s male choir backing up Nils’ lead vocals. 

The kicker for me on this album is the final song which is about Nils’ dog, “Remember You” is a touching sweet memorial that will leave you with a tear in your eye for his “forever friend.” I can so relate to this. If you haven’t listen to Nils in a while, Blue With Lou might be a good album to reacquaint yourself with what he’s been doing. 

If you are a fan of long playing records, Blue With Lou is also available as a two disc set!  This (probably) 180-gram dark black vinyl pressing is quiet, well centered and complimentary to the music, delivering significantly richer bass and round mid ranges.  The guitars and drums sound fuller on the LP version, delivering more of the punch of the band playing together than the CD. Nils’ electric guitar amplifier tone really benefits a lot from this presentation and his vocals are warmer overall. 

And if you’re not familiar with his older material I wholeheartedly recommend you seek out the albums “Cry Tough”, “I Came To Dance”, and his self titled debut, “Nils Lofgren”. Also look for the commercially released version of the album known as “Back It Up Live” which was initially a highly coveted and collectible promotional album in the mid 1970s  heavily pirated back in the day so beware of counterfeits which eventually saw official commercial release several years ago. It is a wonderful document of the artist on his ascent to rock ‘n’ roll legend.  

Nils and his band are often out on tour so you should definitely look for them in your town. And also I remember reading recently that he’ll be playing with Neil Young again soon in Crazy Horse.  And… by now many of us now that Bruce Springsteen has a new album, maybe coming next year in 2022 … perhaps an E Street Band tour with Nils on board.

Neil Young – Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 Image

In November of 1991, Neil Young told Rolling Stone about his ambitious plans to dig into his archives and release “eighteen to twenty albums’ worth of unreleased material” in some form or another. “We can’t put it all out,” Young said. “But it will be like an archive. There will be a lot of detail, things you wouldn’t usually find on a box set. I’m not so much concerned with how or when it comes out but that it’s in order. I want to do that myself. And I only have so much time to do these things.”

Well, it took him nearly 30 years, but Young’s vision has finally been realized on the revolutionary Neil Young Archives interactive website and app. Not only can fans hear every song in his catalogue with significantly better sound quality than the offerings on Spotify and Apple Music thanks to the Xstream streaming platform (which utilizes a 192-kHz/24-bit sample rate), but there’s also an interactive timeline packed with unseen video, photographs and lyric manuscripts from throughout his entire career. There’s also the Times-Contrarian newspaper where Young and his team post regular news updates and respond to fan letters.

The Neil Young Archives was initially free and anyone can still browse through it, but late last year he opened it up for paid subscribers ($1.99 a month/$19.99 a year) that allows complete access to the site and exclusive early access to concert tickets for all of his shows. Subscribers can also watch livestreams of select concerts and watch vintage Neil Young movies in the Hearse Theater, including films like Muddy Track and Solo Trans that are practically impossible to find anywhere else.

Ahead of his “Archives Volume 2″ box-set release, Neil Young has officially dropped a previously unreleased version of ‘Powderfinger’.  While we can access the era vicariously on various platforms and with tangible items like records, sometimes there’s nothing like new music, or a re-release. One of the latest pieces of re-release news comes from legendary rock artist, Neil Young, who in 2020 is continuing to keep on rocking in the free world.

Right now, a previously unreleased version of Neil Young’s ‘Powderfinger’ is available The ‘Powderfinger’ re-release further ramps up the hype of his upcoming special release, with Young recently announcing the complete track list from his highly-anticipated Archives Volume 2 Box-set. You can pencil the release date in for Friday, November 20th. Right now we’re still waiting on further details, but for now you can catch up on other great Neil Young music news here or listen to the previously unreleased version of ‘Powderfinger’ .

Neil Young - Archives Volume II: 1972-1976

The deluxe edition box set of Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 contains 10 CDs with 131 tracks, including 12 songs that have never been released in any form, and 49 new unreleased versions of Young’s classics—studio and live recordings, both solo and with Crazy Horse (Odeon Budokan), The Stray Gators (Tuscaloosa), the Santa Monica Flyers (Roxy: Tonight’s the Night Live), Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and The Stills Young Band. It also includes a 252-page hardbound book with hundreds of previously unseen photographs, additional archival materials, a partial tape database, a detailed description of the music, a fold-out timeline of the period.

In addition, each purchase includes the hi-res 192/24 digital files of all 131 tracks, as well as a free one-year membership to the Neil Young on-line archives. The box also includes a massive poster Box sets are strictly limited worldwide to 3,000 units and available exclusively from NYA’s Greedy Hand store only.

Neil Young Archives Volume II – 10 Disc Retrospective The Limited Edition, 10 Disc Box Set includes: 131 Tracks with 12 Previously Unreleased Songs & 49 Previously Unheard Versions 252 Page Hardcover Book with Hundreds of Photos Full-length Archives Poster Releases November 20th, 2020

Neil Young Archives

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

Neil Young has announced that he’s working on a new archival album based around material from the mid-to-late 1980s. The album will consist of music made with his band Crazy Horse during a 1986 US tour, combined with tracks recorded in 1989 with the band he would go on to perform with on Saturday Night Live.

The title track is an early version of what would go on to be released as the song ‘Eldorado’ on Young’s 1989 LP ‘Freedom’. In a post on his website reflecting on the period, Young said that he first “tried out” the song during a private reunion with his 1960s group Buffalo Springfield. “It was my fault that we didn’t get together at the time and have a reunion, tour and album,” Young reflected in a post on his website.

He said that he and Crazy Horse have a “monster take” of the track, recorded at a show in Minneapolis in October 1986 which will be included on the album. “How this song escaped is hard for me to believe,” he said. Three years afterwards, Young and a band consisting of Crazy Horse guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro, drummer Steve Jordan and bassist Charley Drayton “recorded some amazing music” while rehearsing for their SNL appearance, “all of which” will appear on ‘Road Of Plenty’.

“Niko [Bolas, producer] and I have been working on this project for a while and I think it will be a highlight of 2021,” Young said. A specific date next year for the album’s release is yet to be announced, with a number of archival Neil Young releases on their way in the intervening months.

His legendary ‘lost’ LP ‘Homegrown’, shelved in 1975, is finally coming out after 45 years on June 19th, followed by the release of a 2003 live performance ‘Return To Greendale’ on July 17th, a 1970s-spanning compilation ‘The Neil Young Archives Volume 2’ on August 21st, a 1990 Crazy Horse club gig ‘Rust Bucket’ on October 16th and a 1971 solo acoustic show ‘Young Shakespeare on November 27th.

Meanwhile the veteran singer-songwriter recently shared a new, re-recorded version of his 2019 track ‘Shut It Down’, prompted by fans “reaching out [and] expressing the elevated poignancy the song has come to represent during this pandemic”.

Neil Young, Neil Young Crazy Horse, Neil young Shut It Down, Shut it down, Neil Young Shut It down 2020, Neil young Crazy Horse Shut It Down, Neil Young Crazy Horse Colorado, Colorado

With sometime on his hands ever since he recognized the riskiness of scheduling a tour with Crazy Horse in the current climate, Neil Young has used that time to create an updated version of his song “Shut it Down,”  from their 2019 album,” Colorado” On April 9th, he released a video for “Shut it Down 2020.” In announcing the video, Young wrote: “These are uncertain times. I wish you all the best as you care for our sick, the young and old who we love so much.

“Sending the best wishes to all the health care and government workers all over the world, to all the scientists who will learn and share with us the best ways to ensure survival in our world challenged. Let’s all work together and stay positive that we will find a way. With love to all, in all walks of life, all political persuasions, all colors. We will succeed working together for the good of our world as we are here together, hanging in the balance of nature.”

In early March, just two weeks after indicating that he was considering a 2020 tour with Crazy Horse, the classic rock legend indicated that the “barn tour,” as he described it, was on hold, due to these “uncertain times.” Young was referring to the Coronavirus outbreak.

According to a March 7th post on his website https://neilyoungarchives.com Neil Young Archives site, the veteran singer-songwriter-musician noted, “We are looking at this uncertain world with our fully booked Crazy Horse Barn Tour, ready to announce the first stage.

“The last thing we want is to put people at risk, especially our older audience. Nobody wants to get sick in this pandemic.”
Young closed the post by writing, “Sending best wishes to all of the health care and government workers in all of the world, to all the scientists who will learn and share with us the best ways to ensure survival in our world challenged.”. From Young’s late February description, the shows would take place not in actual barns but in “old arenas.” The news of the possible tour came only days after announcing that he would not be touring at all in 2020.

Young’s full statement in late Feb. was as follows: “We have been looking at booking the Crazy Horse BARN Tour,” Neil wrote. “Many of the old places we used to play are gone now, replaced by new coliseums we have to book (sp) year in advance and we don’t want to go to anyway. That’s not the way we like to play. It sounds way to much like a real job if you have to book it and wait a year, so we have decided to play old arenas – not the new sports facilities put up by corporations for their sports teams. Largely soulless, these new buildings cost a fortune to play in.”

“We wanted to play in a couple of months because we feel like it,” Young added. “To us it’s not a regular job. We don’t like the new rules.”  Young then listed a number of arenas in which he used to perform but have since been demolished, and then listed arenas still in existence. “If you are looking for us on our Crazy Horse Barn Tour, we will hopefully be in one of the existing arenas,” he said at the end of his statement.

Hi, this is Neil. Link to the NYA info-card for this song with press, documents, manuscripts, photos, videos. Look around NYA for fun and listening! ALL my music in high resolution at https://neilyoungarchives.com/info-ca.

Official Movie Trailer for the new Neil Young Film – ‘Mountaintop’ IN THEATERS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA ON OCTOBER 22, 2019 AND IN EUROPE AND SOUTH AMERICA ON NOVEMBER 18TH.

The documentary goes behind the scenes of the making of ‘Colarado’, Young’s first album in seven years with Crazy Horse. Earlier this year, the singer-songwriter announced that he would be postponing the rest of his 2019 tour plans to focus on completing 15 unfinished film projects.

One of those films was a ‘making of’ documentary that was filmed to tie into the release of ‘Colarado’, which will be Crazy Horse’s first new album since 2012’s ‘Psychedelic Pill’, and according to Young, the record will stand up to some of his previous classics albums.

“We believe we have a great Crazy Horse record and one to stand alongside ‘Everybody Knows This is Nowhere’, ‘Rust Never Sleeps’, ‘Psychedelic Pill’ and all the others,” he said back in April.

Neil Young first revealed Crazy Horse’s return to the studio in April. He announced ‘Colorado’ would arrive in October, and feature “10 new songs ranging from around 3 minutes to over 13 minutes.” Besides CD and digital versions of the record, there will also be a double vinyl release comprising three sides of music and a 7” exclusive single not on the album.

Following songs ‘Rainbow of Colors’ and ‘Milky Way’, Neil Young and Crazy Horse released a short instrumental called ‘A letter from us’ last month.

With Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s new album “Colorado” arriving on October 25th, the reunited rockers have shared “Rainbow of Colors,” the second preview from the upcoming LP. It’s a bright, optimistic tune calling for unity in the age of Trump. Much like the previous Colorado single “Milky Way,” it is quite mellow by the usually loud standards of Crazy Horse.

“The idea of the song is that we all belong together,” Young wrote on his Neil Young Archives website. “Separating us into races and colors is an idea whose time has passed. With the Earth under the direct influence of Climate Chance, we are in crisis together needing to realize we are all one. Our leaders continually fail to make this point. Preoccupied with their own agendas, they don’t see the forest for the trees.”

Colorado is the first Neil Young and Crazy Horse album since 2012’s Psychedelic Pill, and the first since guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro retired from the group. He has been replaced by Nils Lofgren, who has played with Young going all the way back to After The Gold Rush in 1970. This new lineup of the band first played together on a California theater tour in 2018 and they cut Colorado at Studio in the Clouds near Telluride, Colorado earlier this year.

An arena tour was originally booked for later this year, but Young said he was pushing it back so he could focus on a series of archival concert films and documentaries. And in a recent note, Young hinted that he’s already looking ahead to Crazy Horse’s next record. “Another one is coming,” he wrote. “I can feel it. It’s a new generation for the Horse. Long live the Horse!”

Official Audio for “Rainbow of Colors” from ‘Colorado’ the new album from Neil Young with Crazy Horse available on October 25th.

Yes, Neil Young has returned with his legendary backing band Crazy Horse, for their first album together since 2012’s well-received Psychedelic Pill. “We believe we have a great Crazy Horse album,” Young wrote recently on his Archives website back in April. “One to stand alongside the albums Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Rust Never Sleeps, Sleeps With Angels, Psychedelic Pill and all the others.” Big talk, but based on first taste “Milky Way” — almost as haunted and vulnerable as Young’s unnerving recent New York Times profile — it’s at least got a shot at living up to it.

Official audio for Milky Way from Neil Young with Crazy Horse from their upcoming new album ‘Colorado’ Available on October 25th.

After The Gold Rush

By the end of the 1960s Neil Young was catching the ear of many influential figures – not least his old band mate Stephen Stills, who was now part of the Grammy-winning folk-rock super group Crosby, Stills & Nash. The band were keen to have him onboard as a sideman, but Young was insistent that he be given a full title credit as a condition for his contributions. Stills frequently found himself fighting with Young for control over the band’s songwriting, and has famously said that the latter “wanted to play folk music in a rock band.”

Young’s dogged self-determination, despite its interpersonal downfalls, was a major artistic virtue that fed directly into what was perhaps his first true masterpiece. After The Gold Rush had its beginnings in an unlikely place. Dean Stockwell, a former child star of the ‘40s and ‘50s, had been encouraged by his friend Dennis Hopper to write a screenplay whilst the pair were in the jungles of Peru producing a film entitled The Last Movie. Hopper assured Stockwell that he had the relevant connections to help get the film made, and once back in the US the latter retreated to his home at Topanga Canyon in the Los Angeles Mountains to commence the writing process.

A fellow resident of the canyon and a close friend of Stockwell’s, Young was suffering through a prolonged period of writer’s block and was under growing pressure from his label to record an album of new material. After learning of the writer’s creative endeavour he was intrigued to learn more and asked Stockwell if he could read a draft of the story. The script, which has since been lost, was an unconventional, non-linear narrative with religious and psychedelic undertones. It loosely detailed an end-of-the-world scenario centred on the local Californian environment, in which a biblical flood threatened to pull the state into the ocean. Captivated by this messy but intriguing tale, Young recalls: “I was writing a lot of songs at the time, and some of them seemed like they would fit right in with the story.”

Ironically Hopper’s proximity to the project scared off any interested executives, and before long the film seemed destined to remain in limbo. Nonetheless, Young was fired up and undeterred, commencing work immediately on what he imagined to be the soundtrack of this deeply counter-cultural Hollywood film. Finding time to write and record was difficult, as large swathes of 1970 were blocked out by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s huge US Tour and further live obligations with Crazy Horse. In the precious gaps between shows, Young made initial recordings at Hollywood’s Sunset Studios, yielding “I Believe In You” and “Oh Lonesome Me” but quickly realised he preferred the atmosphere of the Canyon, continuing the process at the home studio set up in his lead-lined basement. It was here that his ensemble of bassist Greg Reeves, drummer Ralph Molina, and guitarist Nils Lofgren assembled.

The studio was a small and sweaty space, adjoined to a side control room from which producer David Briggs kept an eye on proceedings. The youngest of the ensemble, eighteen year-old Lofgren was brought in to play keyboards despite being a relative novice at the time of recording, highlighting Young’s unconventional laid back approach. Accordingly the musician recalls that “Neil didn’t mind rehearsing a bit” but they “didn’t belabour stuff.” It’s often considered that Young was attempting to merge musicians from both Crosby, Stills & Nash and Crazy Horse on this album, and Stephen Stills even appears on “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” to provide backing vocals.

The basement’s make-shift setup influenced the stark and plaintive sound of After The Gold Rush. Young featured solo on piano throughout the album, most notably on the title track which is often praised as the centrepiece of the album. Charting a surreal and fantastical course through three verses, the song starts in a medieval era of knights and peasants and ends in outer space with the remnants of humanity, after the world has descended into apocalypse.

The song was designed to directly mirror the plot of the proposed film, and Young invited Stockwell to sit in on some of the album’s sessions. The writer was impressed: “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.”
Explaining his thoughts behind the environmentally conscious song Young recalls: “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.”

But stepping out of the failed film’s shadow, After The Gold Rush as a whole fits neatly into Young’s continued development as one of the finest songwriters of the North American tradition. Young’s ability to convey nuanced emotion through potently simple chord sequences and unvarnished yet poetic lyrics is exemplified on songs such as “Birds” and “Only Love…”, which highlight the often overlooked yet effortless sonic beauty of his music. The fact that the album allows such space for this aspect of Young’s work to blossom reveals why it remains one of the most beloved in his expansive catalogue.

Despite producing no major hits and suffering a ferociously critical review from Rolling Stone, the album truly kicked off Young’s celebrated solo career, preceding game-changing albums, such as 1972’s Harvest, and was quickly re-considered as one of the finest albums of the 1970s by the very publications who had tore it to pieces just a few years prior. It’s a testament to how swiftly Young’s career was ascending – from folk-rock’s resilient underdog to one of the standard-bearers of the great American songbook.

Nils Lofgren performs at the 30th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert at the Shoreline Ampthitheatre, in Mountain View, Calif30th Annual Bridge School Benefit Concert - Day 2, San Francisco, USA

Nils Lofgren was lounging by the pool of his Phoenix, Arizona, home with his wife Amy in April 2018 when the phone rang. “It was a Saturday,” recalls the guitarist. “I got a pad and paper out as I thought to myself, ‘Who is calling on a weekend? What will I need to take care of now? What business do I need to address?’ That was the cynic in me.”

It turned out to be Neil Young. “He said, ‘Look, we have these five Crazy Horse theaters shows booked in California to commemorate the release of the Roxy album Lofgren says. “[Crazy Horse guitarist] Poncho [Sampedro] can’t make it. Instead of canceling the shows, we’re wondering if you can walk in pretty much without any rehearsal and wing it with us?’”

The request left Lofgren completely stunned. He had got his first big break back in 1970 when Young invited him to play on After the Gold Rush when he was just 19. He went on to join Crazy Horse for their 1971 self-tiled LP (recorded without Neil Young) and two years later he cut Tonight’s the Night with Young and the Crazy Horse rhythm section of Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot. But besides sporadic charity shows and the 1993 MTV Unplugged special, Lofgren hadn’t really been in one of Young’s backing bands since the Trans tour in 1982.

Once he got over the shock, Young filled him on in the details. Three concerts were on the books in Fresno, California, and another two in Bakersfield, California. Lofgren was due to kick off an extensive U.K. tour on May 14th , just eight days after the last show  but if he rejiggered his schedule and missed just a single day of production rehearsal, it would be feasible for him to make it work. “I talked to Amy and looked at the calendar and said, ‘Man, count me in,’” says Lofgren. “He said, ‘Give me a day. I’ll call you back to see if I can make this happen.’ The next day he called back and said, ‘We’re on. Let’s do it.’”

In keeping with Young’s longstanding “Don’t Spook the Horse” rule, he decided they’d forego any formal rehearsals even though Lofgren hadn’t played a show with Molina and Talbot since the end of the Tonight’s the Night tour in 1973. “The first time we put on our instruments was at soundcheck,” says Lofgren. “It was really seat-of-your pants.”

It sent Lofgren’s mind right back to the Tonight’s the Night sessions, shortly after the death of original Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry. “We’d get together at dinner time and drink and play pool, smoke a little Thai weed and not worry about music,” he says. “It wasn’t until after midnight we’d go into the studio and play. Neil would sketch out three or four songs we really didn’t know. He said, ‘I don’t want you to know them. I want to do an anti-production record. I don’t want you to have a part for the chorus and a part for the verse. I don’t want you get to know them that well.

Opening night of the 2018 Crazy Horse run wasn’t quite that impromptu, but Lofgren still had to tackle songs like “Big Time” and “Scattered (Let’s Think About Livin’)” that he’d never played live in any capacity, with or without Young. But he’d done his homework and was able to feed off the energy all around him and deliver a killer show. “I knew songs like ‘Don’t Cry No Tears’ and ‘Like a Hurricane’ from the Trans tour,” says Lofgren. “And I’m grateful he included songs in the set from After the Gold Rush and Tonight’s the Night.”

Whenever they played a Tonight’s the Night song, it was essentially a complete reunion of Young’s backing band from that period minus the late Ben Keith. “We thought, ‘Four of the five of us are standing,’” says Lofgren. “‘That’s gotta be good. We’ll take it. We’ll miss Ben, but his spirit is with us.’”

There were no future plans for Crazy Horse after the mini-tour wrapped up May 6th, 2018, at the Fox Theater in Bakersfield, and Lofgren flew off to England thinking he may never play with them again. But then in December he got another call from Young. “He said, ‘I’m going to Winnipeg where I have such a long history,’” recalls Lofgren. “‘I want to visit old family and friends and do a couple of shows with Crazy Horse. Can you make it?’”

He happily accepted, though this time he had a little bit more time to prepare. While Young was busy playing solo shows in Wisconsin and Minnesota, Lofgren travelled to South Dakota to rehearse with Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot at the bass player’s home studio. It was at the peak of the polar vortex gripping much of the country and the temperature was well below zero. “Just walking across the ice and the howling wind in South Dakota to the studio was a big adventure every day,” says Lofgren. “Each time I was like, ‘We made it! Nobody fell and broke anything!’”

If that wasn’t frigid enough, the three of them then got onto a tour bus and drove more than 10 hours to Winnipeg for the shows. It was roughly 15 below before you even factored in the wind chill. “We were going right into the heart of the polar vortex,” says Lofgren. “Amy sat me down repeatedly and was like, ‘Look, you must promise that if the bus breaks down, before you do anything, before you call me, you call 911,’” Lofgren recalls. “‘This is not weather to mess around with. This kills people.’”

They managed to make to make it to Winnipeg without freezing to death or calling in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to rescue them. And once again, Young wanted the shows to be spontaneous. “He said, ‘I’m here with my old family and friends and I don’t want to even write a set list,’” Lofgren recalls. “‘Let’s just figure it out as we go. But don’t think. You guys rehearsed hard in South Dakota. Just don’t think. Let’s go and have an experience.’ The first night was a lot of rockiness in and out and the second night, man, we hit some groove and it felt kind of like flying or floating. It was very cool.”

The future for Neil Young and Crazy Horse is very unclear. Young has many shows on the books during the next few months, but all of them are either with Promise of the Real or solo. No explanation has been given for Poncho’s absence from the recent run of shows, but if Young decides to call up Lofgren again, he’ll be there. “It’s been a beautiful opportunity to play with dear friends that are still alive and well,” he says. “Look, I hope there’s more, but I’ll take it a gig at a time right now.”

SongsForJudyArt.jpg

Neil Young announced his plan to release “Songs for Judy”, a live album drawn from his November 1976 U.S. tour. The 22-song LP includes solo acoustic performances of all-time classics like “Heart of Gold,” “After the Gold Rush” and “The Needle and the Damage Done” along with a number of rarer selections, including one song, “No One Seems to Know,” that has not appeared on any previous official release.

Neil Young spent the majority of 1976 on the road with Crazy Horse or on the ill-fated Stills-Young Band tour, which he famously dropped out of midway through that summer. He also found time to make “Hitchhiker”, the lost solo acoustic studio album that he recorded in the August 1976 — three months before the shows documented on Songs for Judy but kept in the vault until last fall. At the November 1976 shows featured on “Songs for Judy”, Young performed a solo acoustic opening set before returning to the stage for a harder-rocking performance with Crazy Horse. These shows have been widely praised and discussed by Young fans for years, but this is their first official release.

Young released “Campaigner,” the first single from the album, Recorded at his November 22nd, 1976 show at Boston’s Music Hall, it’s a pristine performance of the politically puzzling ballad (“Even Richard Nixon has got soul”), which would see its first release the following year on his three-LP greatest hits set Decade.

“The tour had been so satisfying, and so different from all that rock would become in the ensuing years, something indelible was captured in our humble collection,” explains Cameron Crowe, who curated the compilation together with Joel Bernstein. “Listening to it today is a little like discovering postcards from home. It was a precious time in Neil Young’s journey, a breath of oxygen in between some of his biggest adventures.”

Songs for Judy is out November 30th on CD and digital platforms, and December 14th on vinyl.

Songs for Judy Track List (all dates are from 1976)

“Songs For Judy Intro” – Atlanta, GA – Nov 24 (late show)
“Too Far Gone” – Boulder, Colorado – Nov 06
“No One Seems To Know” – Boulder, Colorado – Nov 07
“Heart Of Gold” – Fort Worth, Texas – Nov 10
“White Line” – Fort Worth, Texas – Nov 10
“Love Is A Rose” – Houston – Nov 11
“After The Gold Rush” – Houston – Nov 11
“Human Highway” – Madison, Wisconsin – Nov 14
“Tell Me Why” – Chicago – Nov 15 (late show)
“Mr. Soul” – New York – Nov 20 (early show)
“Mellow My Mind” – New York – Nov 20 (early show)
“Give Me Strength” – New York – Nov 20 (late show)
“A Man Needs A Maid” – New York – Nov 20 (late show)
“Roll Another Number” – Boston – Nov 22 (late show)
“Journey Through The Past” – Boston – Nov 22 (late show)
“Harvest” – Boston – Nov 22 (late show)
“Campaigner” – Boston – Nov 22 (late show)
“Old Laughing Lady” – Atlanta – Nov 24 (early show)
“The Losing End” – Atlanta – Nov 24 (late show)
“Here We Are In The Years” – Atlanta – Nov 24 (late show)
“The Needle And The Damage Done” – Atlanta – Nov 24 (early show)
“Pocahontas” – Atlanta – Nov 24 (late show)
“Sugar Mountain” – Atlanta – Nov 24 (late show)