Neil Young Album Reviews from FUNHOUSE!

The Cyberzine of Degenerate Pop Culture

The Rust@Death Mail List Evaluates Neil's Catalog

Neil Young News

The cyberzine of degenerate pop culture
vol. 1 - no. 5; October 20, 1994
Released on Bela Lugosi's would-be 112th birthday
editor: Jeff Dove (
associate editor: Jeff Frentzen (
back issues: ftp - or; gopher -

The Rust@Death Mail List Evaluates the Neil Young Catalog
When I put out a request for reviews of Neil's albums to the rust@death list members,
there were no rules. I simply asked that a commentator pick a record that
they have strong feelings about one way or the other - a positive disposition
toward the title was not necessary. It was no surprise, however, that each
person picked an album they liked a lot. In light of Neil's comments that
anyone who claims to like every one of his records must be crazy, there are
probably some members of Rust@Death who could use some therapy. With that in
mind, I believe these evaluations will help others sort through a diverse
catalog, in which Mr. Young puts his unique twist on varying musical styles -
from folky acoustic to hard and distorted, and from feedback-drenched to pure
country, big band R&B, rockabilly, synth and techno. So if you're into some
of Neil's stuff and want to know which titles in his vast back catalog might
be of a similar style, or if you're just trying to put it all into place, the
following should be a useful source. Only records on which Neil Young was the
principal artist are considered, which means nothing by Buffalo Springfield,
CSN&Y, or the Stills-Young band is included. You will, however, read about
Crazy Horse, the Stray Gators, the Bullets, the International Harvesters, the
Shocking Pinks, the Bluenotes, and the Restless. Booker T. and the MGs
haven't yet appeared on an official release, but hopefully that is something
we can look forward to.


Also, see fans favorite and best Neil Young albums.


1969 - Reprise 6317
The Emperor of Wyoming / The Loner / If I Could Have Her Tonight / I've Been
Waiting for You / The Old Laughing Lady / String Quartet from Whiskey Boot
Hill / Here We Are in the Years / What Did You Do to My Life / I've Loved
Her So Long / The Last Trip to Tulsa
by Ken Myers

I have always been impressed by the "sound" of this album. I have heard that
the CD release of Neil Young does not stand up sonically, but my vinyl
version, now over 20-years old, still sounds great. (Alright, alright, the
quiet passages, especially on "Quartet From Whiskey Boot Hill," are kind of
crunchy). This album has a lot happening on it, from the Hollywood Strings to the almost mechanical, almost inaudible whirring and buzzing
multi-tracked muted fuzz guitars. And then there's Neil's voice, haunting,
spooky, beautiful. His plaintive, arid, downright dangerous sounding vocals
are some of his best. I make no attempt to analyze lyrics here, but let me
say that it sounds like they're the words of a soul who has crossed to the
other side and wants us to follow him. Here are just some brief thoughts on
this album. Some may call this work overproduced, and I would dare say Mr.
Young would not disagree. I remember a Rolling Stone interview from the
mid-70's in which Neil referred to this album as "overdub city." Certainly
the presence of strings may put off many of his grunge followers today, but
taken within the context of its time, this album holds up remarkably well. I
hate the cover art. I've always loved the opener, "The Emperor of Wyoming."
Hell if I know what the title means, but this starts off as a loping cowboy
instrumental (I bet there are lyrics to this song somewhere) and segues nicely
into "The Loner." This is my favorite song on the album, it reminds me a lot
of "Mr. Soul," but with strings. It's got those great buzzing guitars too. I
think the background vocals work wonderfully on "The Old Laughing Lady," but
almost ruin "I've Loved Her So Long." "I've Been Waiting For You" has a great
guitar (there must be hundreds of them) intro. Then there is "The Last Trip To
Tulsa"!!! What a way to end this album - weirdness disguised as weirdness. I
love it, it's so different from what came before. The jangled and jarring
images, the paranoid, almost whining vocals - just Neil and his guitar.
However, the single most beautiful moment on this album is on "Here We Are In
The Years," when Neil sings the line "So the subtle face is a loser this time
around." It is absolutely beautiful and evocative, and is my all time
favorite "Neil moment."

More reviews on Neil's first solo album Neil Young


1969 - Reprise 6349
Cinnamon Girl / Everybody Knows This is Nowhere / Round and Round (It Won't
Be Long) / Down By the River / The Losing End (When You're On) / Running Dry
(Requiem for the Rockets) / Cowgirl in the Sand
by Lise R. Zawlocki

The year is 1969. The year of Woodstock, and of Neil Young's classic second
album, "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere." The album marked Neil's first of
many collaborations with a group that calls itself Crazy Horse, and that
featured a guitar player named Danny Whitten. Whitten's drug-overdose death
would later inspire Young's "The Needle and the Damage Done," featured on the
1972 release Harvest. The next Crazy Horse project wouldn't be until 1975's
Zuma, with Frank San Pedro replacing Whitten on guitar. Everybody Knows
This Is Nowhere has a stripped production sound; its beauty lies in the
guitar solos in "Down By The River," or in the childlike vocals in the title
track. The album's lyrics are simple and soulful, yet not fully understood,
even after listening to this album for over twenty years. But Everybody
Knows This Is Nowhere has clearly withstood the test of time, and has
produced some favorites that often get played live when one sees Neil Young
perform. The first selection on the album is one such standard at many of
Young's shows - "Cinnamon Girl." But what does this song speak of? On this,
and many of the songs on this album, the lyrics are almost an afterthought.
It is the music - the lead guitar, the rhythm guitar, the drums, that make the song a classic performance piece. In the second track Neil complains that he
wants to go home, but does he really? Is it complacency that keeps him from
going home or is he telling us sarcastically that "Everybody Knows This Is

"Everybody seems to wonder / What it's like down here / I gotta get
away / From this day-to-day runnin' around / Everybody knows this is
nowhere / (la la la, la la la la)"

That sweet, boyish harmony on the "la la la"'s send me reeling and wondering
what he's really trying to tell me. The third track is "Round and Round (It
Won't Be Long)," with a slow, lulling pace and more angelic harmony vocals.
Like the spider who comes out every evening to patiently repair its web, this
song evokes a feeling of time drifting by, of death approaching. The lyrics
are uncomplicated and intoxicating:

"It won't be long.../ How slow and slow and slow it goes / To mend the tear
that always shows / It won't be long / It won't be long..."

Then, just as you are ready to drift off to never-never land, the last and
longest song of side one hits you right between the ears. "Down By The
River," another brilliant vehicle for Neil's awesome guitar playing abilities,
explodes with unadulterated energy. A long, raw guitar solo is restrained
only by the steady backdrop of the rhythm guitar and bass line. The drums
beat a machine gun staccato in between each phrase of the chorus:
"Down by the river / I shot my baby / Down by the river/ Dead (shot
her dead)..."

"The Losing End (When You're On)" is one of Young's most obvious early forays
into country music, with a simple tune and earthy charm. He writes about
abandonment and self pity:

"It's so hard to make love pay / When you're on the losing end / And I
feel that way again... / It's so hard for me now / But I'll make it
somehow / Though I know I'll never be the same / Won't you ever change
your ways?"

It's easy to dismiss this little ditty, but it wears on you just the same,
like a shabby old coat that you just can't toss. Throughout Everybody Knows
This Is Nowhere, Neil Young is feeling sorry for himself, confessing some
dark crime, or simply a secret wish he harbors in his heart. By the time we
get to "Running Dry (Requiem For The Rockets)," it's not difficult to notice
that his apologies sound more like unrepentant, even proud, declarations. The
chorus is one massive rationalization:

"I'm sorry for the things I've done / I've shamed myself with lies /
But soon these things are overcome / And can't be recognized."
Yet the lilting, plaintive melody and woeful violin solo reflect the artist's
inner torture at having deserted his lover:

"Oh please help me, oh please help me / I need someone to comfort me /
My cruelty has punctured me / And now I'm running dry"

The truly fitting finale of this album is its longest song as well, "Cowgirl
In the Sand," a beautiful, lyrical, rocking and raw piece with long,
unrestrained guitar solos and soulful musicianship throughout. The song may
have additional significance for its mention of Neil's favorite state of
deterioration: RUST! Careful listening will reveal this lyric:
"Hello Ruby in the dust / Has your band begun to... "
You know the rest. Blow the cobwebs off *your* copy and give it a listen.
It's a great album, and after a quarter of a century, still holds up for its
powerful music, evocative lyrics, and historic significance as the first Neil
Young / Crazy Horse collaboration.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere - Crazy Horse - 1969


1970 - Reprise 6383
Tell Me Why / After the Gold Rush / Only Love Can Break Your Heart / Southern
Man / Till the Morning Comes / Oh Lonesome Me / Don't Let It Bring You Down /
Birds / When You Dance I Can Really Love / I Believe in You / Crippled Creek

by Runar Igesund

After the Goldrush is a "right" album. Right in the sense that it changes
and grows, along with the listener. The first time I listened to it, I
thought that "Southern Man" was the only cool track on the album. Maybe
because it, together with "When You Dance I Can Really Love", were the only
tracks that were with an electric band. But soon I learned to appreciate the
fine lyrics of "Tell Me Why," and the ingenious melody of "Don't Let It Bring
You Down." And "After the Goldrush" sums up the album, as a title track
should. A mostly acoustic album, it tends to be a bit soft, like on Neil's
cover version of Don Gibson's "Oh Lonesome Me." It's nice and calm, and
doesn't "tear up the neighborhood." But most of all, the arrangements
underline what might be Neil Young's finest collection of tender melodies.

Note: The "extra" tunes listed on the vinyl liner notes (some songs on ATGR, some not) are:

1) Oh Lonesome Me
2) Wondering
3) Everybody's Alone
4) Sugar Mountain
5) Sea Of Madness
6) Big Waves
7) Dance Dance Dance
8) Birds
9) I Need Her Love To Get By

More After the Gold Rush reviews.

Reviews of Neil Young Albums

Thrasher's Wheat - Neil Young