New Release (Reprise)
On paper this sounds mighty weird, a Neil Young/Crazy Horse album consisting mainly of traditional songs we all know as campfire sing-alongs, with a children’s choir tossed into the bargain. But on disc it simply sounds like Crazy Horse rocking out, making it totally irrelevant what songs they’re playing: Think of Ragged Glory, especially its cheerful demolition of “Farmer John.” A couple of the choices make sense, since “High Flying Bird” and “Travel On” are associated, respectively, with Jefferson Airplane and Bob Dylan; both are polished as this album gets. Everything else just gets pummeled into a Crazy Horse song, whether by rewriting the melody (“Jesus’ Chariot,” better known as “She’ll be Comin’ Round the Mountain”), ignoring the melody entirely (“Oh Susannah”) or by stretching out the guitar solos (“Tom Dula,” which sounds more like “Cortez Dula the Killer”). As for the kids’ chorus, it simply doubles the familiar group vocals. As the first-ever Neil Young album with no original songs, this can’t qualify as a major work; instead it’s just the crudest and most fun thing he’s done in a long while.
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