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Archive for September, 2012

Those who have read Neil Young FAQ or follow this site will already be familiar with the work of Arizona based photographer Mary Andrews. Several of her pictures — spanning Neil Young’s entire career — are featured in the book, and she was also the subject of a previous NYFAQ Photo Archives spotlight here.

But we still couldn’t resist posting Mary Andrews latest coup — in the form of this new gallery of amazing pictures Mary shot over this past weekend’s annual Farm-Aid benefit show.

In our own opinion — and we do admit to some level of bias here, since Mary is a personal friend — these stunning photographs of Willie Nelson, Neil Young and company represent some of her best work to date.

You can check out the entire collection — which in addition to the sampling displayed here, includes great shots of Crazy Horse, John Mellencamp, Dave Matthews and the rest of this year’s Farm-Aid lineup — by pointing your browsers towards Mary Andrews facebook page.

But just below, you’ll find some of our favorites from Mary’s personal 2012 Farm-Aid album. We hope you enjoy these as much as we did:

Neil Young:

Neil & Pegi Young:

Willie Nelson:

Rick “The Bass Player” Rosas:

Willie, Neil & Poncho:

Check out the rest of Mary’s Farm-Aid 2012 portfolio here. We also encourage our readers to support the great work of Farm-Aid by visiting their website and making a donation to help support America’s family farms.

And Thanks Again, Mary!

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Set your DVRs for this Saturday, September 29 at 5pm Eastern Time.

The Global Citizen Festival free concert featuring – among others – Neil Young & Crazy Horse will be broadcast live from New York’s Central Park on at least three national cable channels.

Palladia, AXS-TV, and the Fuse Network will all feature at least four hours of the concert, beginning at 5 pm eastern (2pm for those of us out west). In addition to Neil Young & Crazy Horse, the live broadcast will feature sets from Foo Fighters, The Black Keys, Band Of Horses and K’naan.

There will also be a live stream from the show at the Global Citizen website. MTV, YouTube, and others will also be providing webcasts. The concert will be hosted by Katie Couric.

The Global Citizen Festival is part of an “advocacy project” whose aim to raise awareness on ending poverty, produced by the Global Poverty Project. The Festival, in partnership with ten nonprofit organizations, has been timed to celebrate achievements and create awareness around the UN General Assembly in New York, when world leaders will convene to debate the Millennium Development Goals and make commitments to end extreme poverty.

“The Global Poverty Project is proud to have such partners to help carry the message of the Global Citizen Festival around the world,” said Hugh Evans, CEO and Co-Founder of GPP in a statement. “This is a chance to take action towards ending extreme poverty in our generation.”

Neil Young will also be a guest on David Letterman, this Thursday September 27 on CBS (Thanks Thrasher!)

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*Thanks to Rick Gershon at Warner Bros., and Thrasher at Thrashers Wheat

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When Neil Young’s debut album for his new label Geffen Records was first released in 1982, his audience didn’t quite know what to make of it. Basically, you either loved Trans or you hated it. Even today, the album remains the subject of fierce debate amongst Neil Young fans.

There are some who continue to dismiss it as the album which kicked off Neil’s bizarre “lost eighties” period of moving quickly — and some would say, aimlessly — from genre to genre, with the same frequency that most of us change underwear.

But the numbers amongst the Trans detractors have also diminished considerably in recent years. The album has in fact more recently come to be the subject of a newfound respect amongst a more revisionist school who hold it up as a key influence on modern bands like Radiohead (particularly on their more ambient sounding albums like Kid A and In Rainbows).

No one knew at the time of course, but when Neil made this abrupt stylistic about face, it was at least in part an artistic expression of his own frustrations in trying to find a means of communication for his severely non-oral son, Ben. The synthesized whirrs and clicks of songs like “Transformer Man” in many ways serve as a metaphor for what he was experiencing as a father at the time.

But if Neil Young’s eighties fans found Trans a bit perplexing, the Trans tour of Europe was for many, a complete shock. Here is a short excerpt from what I wrote about it in Neil Young FAQ:

Neil Young’s European tour behind the infamous album Trans was originally conceived to be the mother of all rock concerts. After he had seen one of the Rolling Stones stadium extravaganzas during their 1981 Tattoo You tour, Neil Young decided he wanted to up the ante for his own upcoming shows, and hired Woodstock veteran Chip Monck to stage a similarly humongous production for his European trek.

But by most accounts, the tour instead turned into something of a disaster. Bassist Bruce Palmer, Neil’s former bandmate in Buffalo Springfield, was fired (and later rehired) as a circumstance of his excessive drinking; the audiences were mostly indifferent to the vocoders and synths of the new material from Trans; and the exotic staging was both impractical and a huge factor in the tour losing buckets of money (by the time the Trans tour made it back to the US, the production was scaled down considerably).

Interestingly, there is a surviving live document of the Trans tour. Although it’s somewhat hard-to-find today, the original Neil Young In Berlin VHS concert does exist, and if you look hard enough, you can find DVD copies of it out there at places like Amazon and ebay. For Neil Young fans, it is definitely an item worth seeking out too.

Below, are a couple of choice clips from this concert, along with some more of my original comments, excerpted from the Neil Young FAQ book:

Although much of the audience does sit there on their hands, all stony faced during songs like “Computer Age” and “Transformer Man” (a few crowd close ups on this DVD reveal some mouths wide open in apparent shock at what they were witnessing), they also come alive again when Neil and Nils Lofgren crank up the guitars during a positively blistering version of “Sample And Hold.”

For all of the talk over the years about how Neil sprang his shocking new musical direction on an audience just wanting to hear the older hits, the setlist here is also a lot more varied than you might expect. You get everything from folkie Neil (“Old Man,” “The Needle And The Damage Done”) to the full-on rockers (“Cinnamon Girl,” “Hey, Hey, My My”).

What makes Live In Berlin such a keeper more than anything else though, is seeing Neil Young and Nils Lofgren all decked out in ridiculous eighties rock star hair and gear. The result is something that makes them look like something straight out of an eighties Jefferson Starship video.

Nils in particular, draped as he is in nearly as many scarves as Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, plays this role to the hilt too — striking nearly every clichéd rock guitar pose he can steal from the playbook of his hero Keith Richards.

For Neil’s part, his wrap-around sunglasses and skinny tie are cut straight from the era of early eighties New Wave. At one particularly hilarious point in the video, Neil’s tie becomes tangled up in his guitar during the otherwise incendiary solo on “Like A Hurricane,” until he finally just tosses it over his shoulder like one of those Aerosmith scarves (this hilarious moment comes at about the 3:40 point in the video).

If you can find it, Live In Berlin 1982 is definitely worth the effort for its historical value alone. But beyond that, the live version of “Sample And Hold” just kicks my ass the more I watch it.

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It looks like version #2 (pictured just below) will be the official album jacket for Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s upcoming double CD Psychedelic Pill.

The news of a second version of the Psychedelic Pill artwork, was first leaked earlier this week, with a number of sites like Thrasher’s Wheat floating the idea that it represented the second of two separate versions to be released.

However, a press release sent out earlier today to journalists from Neil’s label, seems to confirm that the new artwork will represent the final sleeve for both the CD and the vinyl album (out Nov. 23).

From the Warner Brothers press release (all caps here reproduced from the original text):

As previously reported, Neil Young & Crazy Horse will release their second set of new recordings on Oct. 30th, titled PSYCHEDELIC PILL. This is the band’s second new album this year following the June 5th release of AMERICANA. PSYCHEDELIC PILL features all new original compositions and is their longest album set of recorded music in their long-celebrated history as a band, taking the listener further into new sonic terrain as its title suggests.

The original album artwork recently revealed has been revised (pictured above) and taken on a stronger, more direct image to reflect the commanding and expansive music heard on the two CD or three vinyl disc sets.

At Amazon.com’s Psychedelic Pill page, the new cover has also replaced the earlier one (seen below), which would seem to further confirm that the “white album” has won out over the originally leaked blue image with the smaller pill, as the final choice:

The two CD Psychedelic Pill album from Neil Young & Crazy Horse arrives Oct. 30. For those who missed it, here is the the track-listing:

Disc One:
1 Driftin’ Back (27:36)
2 Psychedelic Pill (3:26)
3 Ramada Inn (16:49)
4 Born In Ontario (3:49)

Disc Two:
1 Twisted Road (3:28)
2 She’s Always Dancing (8:33)
3 For The Love Of Man (4:13)
4 Walk Like A Giant (16:27)

Bonus Track:
5 Psychedelic Pill (Alternate Mix)

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Back in July, on the anniversary of Ben Keith’s passing, we spotlighted a sample of photographer Tony Stack’s work here for the Neil Young FAQ book, focusing on his shots of Ben and Neil in one of their final performances together.

Enough time has now passed, that we feel it’s time to give Tony’s great work a more complete airing — including a number of shots that never made the book.

But before we go there, we feel it is only appropriate that we shine the spotlight on one of our favorite shots ever — and one that did make the book — this beautiful picture of Neil Young’s guitars all lined up nice and neat, taken from a 2007 performance at Portland, Oregon’s Keller Theatre:

Another one we really liked from this show, is this shot of a particularly intense looking Neil during this same performance.

Any guesses as to the song he was playing at the time? We know for sure that it wasn’t “Southern Man,” “Motion Pictures” or “Ambulance Blues” — but could it have been “Ohio,” or maybe a rare acoustic rendering of “Tonight’s The Night”? We’ll never know for sure. But the one thing that is certain is that Tony captured Neil in a moment of rather intense concentration here:

We also liked the shots that Tony got from CSNY’s 2006 Freedom Of Speech tour a lot — and particularly this one which shows CSNY in what appears to be nothing less than full-on jam band mode. This shot comes from a performance at Denver’s world-famous Red Rocks Amphitheater:

From the same performance that Tony’s Ben Keith shots came from, there is also this great one from Denver’s Magness Arena in 2009. Here, Neil appears to be particularly locked into that “zone” that Rusties know so well — and which one can only hope we will see more of when the Crazy Horse reunion tour resumes in just a few weeks.

We suspect that Neil himself probably wouldn’t appreciate the close-up of his balding head here (now we know why he’s been wearing those hats so much lately), but it’s a great shot that captures Neil in full-on shred mode nonetheless.

Finally, we also like this one from the Twisted Road tour in Portland a lot. If nothing else — in the midst of all the heavy Neil Young activity coming up this fall, just a few weeks away, this one serves to remind us why we can’t wait for the release of Neil Young Journeys on home video.

Thanks again, Tony!

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Psychedelic Pill Cover Art and Track List:

Disc One:

1 Driftin’ Back (27:36)
2 Psychedelic Pill (3:26)
3 Ramada Inn (16:49)
4 Born In Ontario (3:49)

Disc Two:

1 Twisted Road (3:28)
2 She’s Always Dancing (8:33)
3 For The Love Of Man (4:13)
4 Walk Like A Giant (16:27)

Bonus Track:
5 Psychedelic Pill (Alternate Mix)

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