Astute readers will remember that a couple of years ago I almost got lost in a spiral vortex of Neil Young obsession, specifically 1970s Neil. Conventional wisdom (which is sometimes correct, just as cliches had some meaning before they became cliches) has it that "Live Rust" was the end of an era, and that from that point on Young lost his way, if not entirely then for the most part. (One listen to 2010's "La Noise" should be enough to disprove that notion.)
Spurred on by the recent appearance in Mojo of a list of the 50 best Neil Young songs, as chosen by musicians and industry types, and which included a surprising number of post-1979 tracks, I thought it might be a bit of masochistic fun to have a listen to the many and varied Neil Young albums released since then, to see if there are gems in the rough (and perhaps to discover if it is not actually the rough).
So, over the next little while, time and enthusiasm permitting, I hope to make you the benificiaries of my hard work by throwing in your direction the things that happen to catch my ear. I have a couple filed away already, and there are still a truckload of albums to listen to.
Today, we have "Natural Beauty", from "Harvest Moon", which is one of Young's front-porch pastoral records, hailed as a "return to form" (beware those words) but with its share of songs that don't quite cut it. This one stands out for me, by reminding me of Gillian Welch's "I Dream A Highway", one of the Greatest Songs Of All Time. The similarity is one of tone, and in the way that it takes you on a long, slow journey, where you are surprised to find, after it has ended, that 10 minutes have passed.
Where has the embed code gone from YouTube clips? Curse you, Internet.