- A surprisingly good sounding album, with Triple Plus (A+++) sound from start to finish
- Both sides here are incredibly big, full-bodied and energetic, with wonderfully present vocals and a huge bottom end – not bad for 1985
- Neil’s unabashed country album (hello Waylon Jennings!) has been a long time coming; it’s the first copy to hit the site in over five years
- We guarantee this one will make your MoFI pressing sound like the bad joke it was back in 1996 or your money back and then some
We just finished a major shootout for Neil’s country-fried album from the mid-’80s and this was one of the best copies to hit our table. Most of the pressings we played were too gritty and grainy to hold our interest, but this one was sweeter and smoother by a country mile!
This is Neil heading out to the sticks with his buddies, authentic country greats such as Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and others (nice friends to have), doing what Neil loves to do — making the music that HE wants to make, not the music that anyone else wants him to, including David Geffen and his lawyers. Old friend Ben Keith (a huge part behind the sound of Harvest) shows up with his pedal steel guitar on a couple tracks.
This probably wasn’t anyone’s favorite Neil Young album, but when it sounds like it does here it sure makes a lot more sense than it did when we heard it on the more mediocre pressings. The MoFi is a muckfest, as was to be expected from a record mastered during the Anadisq era, the darkest chapter in the dark and disgraceful history of Mobile Fidelity.
The Players and Personnel
Neil Young: guitar, banjo-guitar, harmonica, vocal
Waylon Jennings: guitar, vocal
Willie Nelson: guitar, vocal
Rufus Thibodeaux: fiddle
Ben Keith: pedal steel guitar, dobro
Tim Drummond: bass
Karl Himmel: drums
Joe Allen: bass (electric & upright)
Ralph Mooney: pedal steel guitar
Hargus “Pig” Robbins: piano
Gordon Terry: fiddle
Joe Osborn: bass
Anthony Crawford: mandolin, vocal
Terry McMillan: harmonica, jew’s harp
Béla Fleck: banjo
Bobby Thompson: banjo
David Kirby: guitar
Grant Boatwright: guitar
Johnny Christopher: guitar
Ray Edenton: guitar
Gove Scrivenor: autoharp
Farrell Morris: percussion
Marty Stuart: mandolin
as well as too many string players and other singers to list
In 1984, Geffen Records sued Neil Young on the grounds that he had submitted uncharacteristic, uncommercial records to the label. By the time a settlement had been reached, Young had been on the road with a country band called the International Harvesters for over a year and recorded a revamped version of Old Ways, a 1982 recording originally rejected by Geffen that was cut in the style of Harvest and Comes a Time, but with a stronger country leaning. Young depends heavily on friends, especially for vocals — Waylon Jennings sings harmony on six out of the ten tracks, and one of the others is a duet with Willie Nelson.
Though populated by cowboys and country references, Young’s take on the genre is typically idiosyncratic, including a reworked version of his autobiography in “Get Back to the Country,” a cover of the 1956 Gogi Grant hit “The Wayward Wind,” and the uncategorizable “Misfits,” which portrays astronauts watching Muhammad Ali fights on
television in space.
The Wayward Wind
Get Back to the Country
Are There Any More Real Cowboys?
Once an Angel
Bound for Glory
Where Is the Highway Tonight?