Saturday, February 28, 2009

Number 417 - Neil Young


Number 417

Neil Young

"Cowgirl In The Sand"

(1969)

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416 .............Genre: Rock.............. 418
Neil Young's 4th entry in "The Definitive 1000 Songs 1955 to 2005" .... Now, according to Rolling Stone magazine's "The 100 Greatest Artistists of All Time" or sometimes known as "The Immortals", Neil Young is ranked NUMBER 34. So, in other words there are 33 better performers, such the likes of : The Clash [#30], The Ramones [#26], Velvet Underground [#19], Muddy Waters [#17] and so forth the list goes .... predictably.
Now I don't know about you but Neil to be ranked by Rolling Stone and by the "God Rock Peers of Stupidity" at #34 is just a joke. This man is a Top Ten finalist, I know it, you know it and they must surely know it. To put the Clash & Ramones [for example] ahead of this iconic, groundbreaking, master songwriter & consummate guitarist from Canada [or is that really the issue, because he is Canadian and not American or English?] behind "Flash of the pan" artists, reeks of ignorance from Rolling Stone and if not worse at all .. belligerence. ~ crowbarred [recession tired]
Neil Young's second solo album, released only four months after his first, was nearly a total rejection of that polished effort. Though a couple of songs, "Round Round (It Won't Be Long)" and "The Losing End (When You're On)," shared that album's country-folk style, they were altogether livelier and more assured. The difference was that, while Neil Young was a solo effort, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere marked the beginning of Young's recording association with Crazy Horse, the trio of Danny Whitten (guitar), Ralph Molina (drums), and Billy Talbot (bass) that Young had drawn from the struggling local Los Angeles group the Rockets. With them, Young quickly cut a set of loose, guitar-heavy rock songs -- "Cinnamon Girl," "Down by the River," and "Cowgirl in the Sand" -- that redefined him as a rock & roll artist.
art by S-Que
The songs were deliberately underwritten and sketchy as compositions, their lyrics more suggestive than complete, but that made them useful as frames on which to hang the extended improvisations ("River" and "Cowgirl" were each in the nine-to-ten-minute range) Young played with Crazy Horse and to reflect the ominous tone of his singing. Young lowered his voice from the near-falsetto employed on his debut to a more expressive range, and he sang with greater confidence, accompanied by Whitten and, on "Round Round," by Robin Lane. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was breathtakingly different when it appeared in May 1969, both for Young and for rock in general, and it reversed his commercial fortunes, becoming a moderate hit. (Young's joining Crosby, Stills & Nash the month after its release didn't hurt his profile, of course.) A year and a half after its release, it became a gold album, and it has since gone platinum. And it set a musical pattern Young and his many musical descendants have followed ever since; almost 30 years later, he was still playing this sort of music with Crazy Horse, and a lot of contemporary bands were playing music clearly influenced by it. ~ [William Ruhlmann, All Music Guide]
Side note: The album was produced by Neil Young and David Briggs and contains three of his most memorable songs: "Cinnamon Girl", "Down by the River", and "Cowgirl in the Sand", all of which were written when Young had a 103 °F (39.5 °C) fever. [Source: Wikipedia]
For more Neil Young see Number 479, #677 & #938
For Crosby Stills & Nash see Number 660
For the Clash see Number 999
For Velvet Underground see Number 953
What does Rolling Stone think again?
After the Buffalo Springfield imploded, Neil Young recorded his first, eponymous solo album, an elaborately overdubbed affair that cast him in the role of brooding singer-songwriter. But soon after that record was released, in January 1969, Young began jamming in Los Angeles with a band called the Rockets, redubbed Crazy Horse, and started a relationship that would change guitar rock forever and form the foundation of his career. If Neil Young had an aura of careful subtlety bordering on tentativeness, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere felt raw, rushed, energized. Indeed, Young dashed off the album's three central songs -- "Cinnamon Girl," "Down by the River" and "Cowgirl in the Sand" -- in a single fever-addled afternoon, and Young and the band play with an almost reckless disregard for prettiness, precision, clarity.
On the epics that end each album side, "Down by the River" and "Cowgirl in the Sand," Young and Whitten circle, prod and light into each other like boxers in a sweaty fifteen-round match, the notes stabbing in and out, answering each other in short staccato bursts while the rhythm section stolidly keeps things from flying apart. The quartet's interplay is at once primitive and abstract, more suggestive of Ornette Coleman's fractured free jazz than the jam-band psychedelia that was the prevailing West Coast fad at the time. Some listeners found it crude, but the gloriously spontaneous sound forged on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere would endure, not only as a blueprint for Young and Crazy Horse (even after Frank "Pancho" Sampedro replaced Whitten, who died of a drug overdose in 1972) but as an influence on countless bands, from Sonic Youth to Son Volt. ~ [Source: Rolling Stone]
Rolling Stone magazine deemed their '417th Song of all Time' was "Fuck Tha Police" by N.W.A. NWA has not appeared in The Definitive 1000
Other songs with reference to Neil Young #421, #440, #495, #537, #558, #573, #589, #610, #616, #617, #650, #655, #660, #665, #703, #728, #738, #770, #797, #827, #828, #858, #899, #975, #980
Rolling Stone Top 500 Songs ranked this song at Number (We at RS only like 3 minute songs) and the Album ranked at Number 208
This song has a total Definitive rating of 78.1 out of 108
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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you.
Neil Young should be in Top10 on anybody's list.
If you can't stand his nasal voice, it's your problem.
Cowgirl In The Sand is such a great song either electric or acoustic.
I still remember the first time I heard this song when I was a highschool kid.
(That was 1969!)
Keep up the good work!

4:24 pm  
Blogger crowbarred said...

Amen brother!

5:19 pm  

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