Sunday, July 29, 2007
Bar fly country blues
Recognising that the audience I enjoy here is a tad smaller, I think it is time to start a debate about American Stars n Bars as the greatest and yet, strangely, possibly one of the most ignored Neil Young albums (well apart from, justifiably, much of what he produced in the 80s). Aside from the penultimate track that everyone knows (Like a Hurricane), which still kicks ass, there is all the booze fuelled country rock, that tears up a storm on numbers like Saddle up the Palomino and Bite the Bullet, the sheer romantic joy of Hey Babe, and then one of the most affecting songs in the singer songwriter, declamatory, vein I have heard in a long, long while, Will To Love. Essentially this is Neil Young as a fish fighting against the odds to get upstream on an impossible quest for love, going half mad in the process, and knowing it and not caring. This and the inspired accompaniment provided by the band, including various sound effects, and the crack of the open fire against which this has been performed live (like much of the set I reckon) gets me every time. Oh, and there’s the ode to the greenstuff, Homegrown, and Star of Bethlehem, which is more the classic mid tempo acoustic Neil Young, and still a damn fine tune all the same. There, now I know this debate will run and run…..