Neil Young: Way Down In The Rust Bucket

Young is now 75 and more likely bang out a well-meaning but average political album or release an archivally relevant but otherwise pedestrian live album, but this was recorded way back in 1990 at what sounds like a warm-up gig for the Ragged Glory tour, his 18th studio album.

If you’re a Young fan and a bit frustrated over some of his more self-indulgent outings of late, three words and a number will tell you how good this is: Like A Hurricane, 12:56. And that’s not even the longest song: Love To Burn clocks in at 13:54, and Country Home, Over And Over and Dangerbird are not far behind.
Unlike Weld, with which you can probably compare this, it doesn’t feel like an “occasion” in a stadium staffed by road-eyes, it’s just Crazy Horse, relaxed and playing well, and Young in the mood for long sessions on his guitar. It’s easy to see why some say he invented grunge.

Clearly a fair few tracks come from the new album (also Farmer John, Mansion On The Hill, and F—g Up) but he lobs in the likes of Cinnamon Girl, Roll Another Number (For the Road) and Cortez the Killer (12-minute encore) from the back catalogue.
While there is some distorted guitar and it all sounds like fun was had, it’s as notable for a more melodic, country air to a lot of the solos. Crazy Horse are on top form, shuffling along behind Young presumably waiting to see where he takes them.
Basically: Young all-electric and at his best, and pretty well a joy from start to finish.

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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