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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Crazy Horse - "Crazy Horse" Vinyl, LP, Album, 1971 (Reprise Records)


I can't stand the majority of Neil Young's music.  I pretty much liked everything by him through the Buffalo Springfield years - the first solo album not that much, and the second album a lot.  "After The Gold Rush"  a very good album.  Then the overrated years came upon us and still is, with respect to Young's albums.  On the other hand, his quasi-backing band Crazy Horse is great.   At least the first album. 

Once Jack Nitzsche left and the very talented Danny Whitten passed away, Crazy Horse lost their purpose.  Neil Young is very talented in surrounding himself with people who are better than him.  Nietzsche was a brilliant arranger who worked with The Rolling Stones and Phil Spector - both at their most iconic state of excellence.  Nitzsche also wrote and made superb soundtracks, for instance, "Performance."   What he added to the Crazy Horse landscape is a sense of professionalism intensity and mystique.  Every Nitzsche recording session seems to bring on a sense of urgency and energy.  Danny Whitten was the Johnny Thunders of his time/day.  Narcotics played its ugly hand against him, but a wonderful guitarist and a great songwriter, who was just getting himself started but died way too young. 

"Gone Dead Train" the opening cut on "Crazy Horse" was known to me on the "Performance" soundtrack, with Randy Newman on vocals, but here it's Danny Whitten on vocals and it sounds like bullets fired from a pistol, with respect to their rhythm section of Billy Talbot (bass) and Ralph Molina.   Young's "Dance Dance Dance" is great, but Whitten is the star here, with Nitzsche's, I think, guidance. 

There are a lot of guest players on this album:  Ry Cooder, Nils Lofgren, and I suspect Young as well (although not credited).   Probably the classic off this album is Whitten's "I Don't Want To Talk About It" which is a great song.  "Look At All The Things is totally fab as well.  The Nitzsche songs have a special magic for me.  I'm very fond of "Crow Jane Lady" which shows off the arranger's art.  A magnificent record and sadily this band didn't stay to make another album.  "Crazy Horse" is a way better album than any of Neil Young's solo efforts.