Happy birthday Adam Ant (1954) and Lulu (Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie) (1948).
Neil Young (1968 debut, HDCD)
I had forgotten this album begins with an instrumental song. The song “The Loner” had already appeared on a Warner / Reprise sampler LP, and – having been a Buffalo Springfield fan – I was inclined to listen. In 1969, the name Jack Nitzsche didn’t mean anything. It would after “Performance” (the film) got released, but that’s in the future.
The shorter songs on this album sound like Buffalo Springfield songs, so – for argument’s sake – let’s say I am 100% OK with anything under 9 minutes in length. I was mildly amused at a solo album from a member of Buffalo Springfield, as I probably hadn’t fully realized how those guys worked together.
The 2009 HDCD sounds pretty good, for a recording of this age.
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969, 2nd album, HDCD)
With the allure of the BIG HIT single, “Cinnamon Girl” – many people became aware of who Neil Young was, with this album. The 9 minute rule is now a 10 minute rule, why did he insist on making 2 such “epic” works on this LP? (I know, because he could). As I recall, this LP was $4.98 list price – not a more expensive $5.98 list price. So, Warner / Reprise wanted EVERYBODY to buy it. And with the BIG HIT single, that could be possible!
FM radio guys could put on one of the 2 x “epics”, and go out for a smoke!
After The Goldrush (1970, 3rd album, HDCD)
This is actually the album I am most familiar with. Having been propped up by “Déjà Vu” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, I was ready for this album. The writing / singing sounds a bit more ‘English’, despite it’s (obviously) Canadian roots. The electric music of “Southern Man” sounded pretty good, too. And no 10 minute songs! The LP I bought came with a large poster, which is presently in the booklet of the CD. Yes, people wondered about Young’s pants, displayed on the rear cover. Let’s just say it dovetailed nicely with “Déjà vu”. Decent stuff!
Harvest (1972, 4th album, HDCD)
Perhaps some hippie entitlement is in order here. Following Bob Dylan to Nashville was impressive, as Young was among the first to do it. I am not quite at peace with James Taylor being on this LP, but the lap steel guitar doesn’t sound bad. And a 2nd BIG HIT single! “Are You Ready For The Country?” sounds like a statement of ownership, for a generation. Anyone listening to The Band had to hear this album! And, unless I am mistaken, this album started life as a $5.98 list, so not a normal $4.98 album. I read that Young originally wanted the LP package to degrade, once the shrinkwrap was gone – and that’s why the album has always had a rough texture on the cover.
I am amazed that this album gets picked as the BEST early Neil Young LP, over “After The Goldrush” – there’s no CSNY stardust on this album! Just more Jack Nitzsche stardust.
And it certainly didn’t help things by Crazy Horse making their own album; how much of this stuff is there to buy? Will the dominance of US acts prevail? Or will other influences be at work?
I was not a huge fan of “Harvest” upon it’s initial release, so I guess you could safely say I was already wandering off to new destinations, forever forsaking US artists. It sounds better today than it did in 1972, but…