Archive | June, 2018

Certain Songs #1249: Neil Young – “Revolution Blues”

Album: On The Beach
Year: 1974

Recorded at Sunset Sound, Hollywood on April 6, 1974

There’s a reason that “Revolution Blues” sounds different from most other Neil Young songs: rather than the more straightforward rhythm sections he normally worked with he got Rick Danko and Levon Helm from The Band to play on it, as well as David Crosby on rhythm guitar.

The result is a song that is nervous and jumpy and jittery, Helm hitting his snare drum at seemingly random moments throughout, while Danko & Crosby are continually riding along with him. It all sets up a song where Neil is singing in character as one of the most notorious figures in American history: Charles Manson.

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Certain Songs #1248: Neil Young – “Walk On”

Album: On The Beach
Year: 1974

Recorded at the Broken Arrow Ranch on November 30, 1973

A few months after the original Tonight’s The Night sessions in Hollywood, Neil Young summoned Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina & Ben Keith to his ranch to record a few more songs. Whether or not they were meant for Tonight’s the Night is unclear, as the songs recorded in this period — “Winterlong,” “Borrowed Tune,” “For The Turnstiles” and “Walk On” — ended up in different places: “For The Turnstiles” & “Walk On” ended up on On The Beach, “Borrowed Tune” is a highlight of Tonight’s The Night and “Winterlong” surfaced on Decade.

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Certain Songs #1247: Neil Young – “Tonight’s The Night (Roxy 09-28-1973)”

Album: Roxy – Tonight’s The Night Live
Year: 1973

Recorded at The Roxy, West Hollywood on September 28, 1973

This is where things get complicated. A couple of months after the ending of Time Fades Away tour ended, roadie — and brother of Jan from Jan and Dean — Bruce Berry overdosed, bookending that tour with a death that complimented the OD of Danny Whitten just before the tour started.

This sent Neil Young into a tailspin, and in August of 1973, he assembled a band consisting of bassist Billy Talbot, drummer Ralph Molina, pedal steel guitarist Ben Keith and Nils Lofgren to record a series of songs confronting the pain he was feeling. He dubbed them the Santa Monica Flyers, but they were also essentially Crazy Horse, too.

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Certain Songs #1246: Neil Young – “Last Dance”

Album: Time Fades Away
Year: 1973

Recorded at the Sports Arena, San Diego, March 29, 1973

I often wonder about the dude giving the peace sign on the cover of Time Fades Away. There’s no question in my mind that it was taken prior to the show actually starting. I’m just guessing that after the show, he’d only be showing half of those fingers: after all, dude made it all the way to the front of a Neil Young show, and instead of playing “Down By The River” or “Helpless,” Neil is playing the long, weird, difficult “Last Dance.”

And yet, that dude seems to be whom Neil wrote “Last Dance” for.

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Certain Songs #1245: Neil Young – “Don’t Be Denied”

Album: Time Fades Away
Year: 1973

Recorded at The Coliseum, Phoenix, on March 28, 1973

While it has a checkered history, Time Fades Away is actually a pretty important album within the context of Neil Young’s career.

First off, it truly marks the first time he defied expectations, in this case, the willful withholding of what the audience wanted, which was a follow-up to Harvest.

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