Friday, November 10, 2006

Neil, Young and Old: There are a couple of new Neil Young CD's out this year, one of all new compositions called Living With War, recorded quickly as a protest against the war in Iraq and the attack on American civil liberties. Featuring Young's amped up guitar and vocals and occasionally going over the top with trumpets and a 100-voice choir (!) The group really rocks out with songs like "Restless Consumer" and "Shock and Awe." "Let's Impeach the President" makes it very clear where Young's loyalties are, but even people who don't agree can respect and enjoy one of Young's most exciting and interesting albums in a while. Also out this year is the archival release Live at the Fillmore East from 1970, with the original Crazy Horse including the doomed Danny Whitten. Blasting through short versions of "Everybody Knows This Is Nowehere" and "Winterlong" and then very lengthy improvisational versions of "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down by the River" the band sound very inspired and in great form. The guitar solos are long and fluid, moving into an almost free-jazz territory, like Sonny Sharrock playing post-hippie rock and roll. These albums are both good and make for interesting signposts in a long and varied career.

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