Saturday, November 16, 2013

71 After the Goldrush (1970) Neil Young

  1. Tell Me Why
  2. After the Gold Rush
  3. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
  4. Southern Man
  5. Till the Morning Comes
  6. Oh Lonesome Me
  7. Don't Let It Bring You Down
  8. Birds
  9. When You Dance I Can Really Love
  10. I Believe in You
  11. Cripple Creek Ferry

I don't pretend to understand how this list works. I certainly don't understand how this could be so low in a list compared to some of the albums that are above it in the countdown but I'm also baffled as to why it's above Neil's other work.

Don't get me wrong, I love After the Goldrush, it's a great album full of fantastic music, but I'd never rank it higher than Everybody Knows This is Nowhere which languishes over a hundred places lower on the list. Goldrush has Only Love Can Break Your Heart and Southern Man but Nowhere has Cinnamon Girl, Down by the River and Cowgirl, all of which are among the best songs he ever recorded.

I'm guessing the appeal of this album lies in the fact that Neil turned his back on extended jamming and guitar work outs and focused on writing more concise and accessible pop tracks. Everybody Knows This is Nowhere has two tracks which push the ten minute mark and make them too long for radio and too loud for some listeners. Neil could write beautiful little tunes and extended rock and roll workouts. Part of his brilliance was also in his ability to transform one into the other. His massive jams could also work when stripped down and played on an acoustic guitar and his low-key numbers could survive a Crazy-Horse style ten minute freak out. Goldrush features none of his extended blowouts but is full of his prettiest melodies.

After the Goldrush is a great album but slightly frustrating. For some reason Neil decided to release throwaway tracks like the 80 second Till the Morning Comes and the 90 second Cripple Creek Ferry which are just there to take up space. They sound like things thrown together in a few minutes at the end of the session when everyone is drunk or stoned and suddenly nothing seems like a bad idea. I'd much rather Neil took the time to extend Southern Man into the jamming monster it wants to be. It might have deprived it of radio play but it would let it generate some of the excitement of Down by the River.

Tell Me Why, After the Goldrush, Only Love Can Break your Heart, Don't Let it Bring you Down and Birds are all brilliant examples of Neil's ability to write perfect folk/pop tunes. They're catchy and beautiful and have served him well for years as songs to play with an acoustic guitar or at a piano. Several of them might have slipped under your Neil radar and if you haven't heard one of them you deserve to check them out.

After the Goldrush is one of four albums released by the individual members of Crosby Stills Nash and Young after the huge success of Deja Vu. It's the only one of the four here which I have to say is an opportunity missed. David Crosby's If I could only remember my name, Graham Nash's Songs for Beginners and Stephen Stills self titled debut are all outstanding albums that deserve a lot more attention. What's truly tantalizing is the idea that these four solo albums could have been combined to make another CSNY release. They could have called it Deja Vu Two with the following track listing...

1. Southern Man
2. Love the one you're with.
3. What are their names.
4. Chicago
5. Tell Me Why
6. After the Goldrush
7. Music is love
8. Black Queen
9. Chicago
10. After the Goldrush
11. Don't let it bring you down

If they'd done that then I'd be writing about it in a year or so when I get to the top ten.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "As the author of the Jefferson Airplane book "Take Me To A Circus Tent" and a former radio disc-jockey, I am often asked to write and or discuss various music supplies and recordings from the 60's and 70's."

-Right everyone listen to me! Listen to me! I've written a book so my views are important! Listen to me because I used to be a disc jockey!

So is this Neil's best work or not? Let me know below.

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