Neil Young: Neil Young and Bluenote Café

review young x1 cong

This live two-CD set offers up an unexpected side of Young, his blues and (almost) big band sound. It’s an intimate set that features seven unreleased songs. Standouts include the closing tracks on each CD, a smoky, jazz blues Twilight and a 20-minute version of Tonight’s The Night.
The recordings are from the Bluenotes tour in 1988, from nearly a dozen venues. Young’s band plays the blues with a big horn section (sax, trombone, trumpet). The tone is set with the opening song Welcome To The Big Room, a Blues Brothers-style showy number with brass and a swinging beat as Young sings: “Welcome to the Blue Room / cos everything’s all right”.
Track two Don’t Take Your Love Away is a big blues number (another standout) with organ and brass and BB King-style guitar noodling from Mr Young.
Fans of Young will be pleased to learn that there are heaps of extended versions, lots of guitar and even some railing against big corporations: “This ain’t for Pepsi and it ain’t for Coke” he sings at one point, as per his more recent observations.
The sound is gentler and crisper than the grungier or at least more complex live sound on Rust or Weld; while it doesn’t reach the peaks of those two live sets, it’s solid electric music all the way.
One of the better albums recently released from the Young archives.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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