Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Neil Young 10: Long May You Run

Despite having already aborted two CSNY albums—and Crosby & Nash keeping busy together—Neil perversely began showing up at solo gigs by longtime nemesis Stephen Stills, who by this time had sunk to irrelevance. His increasingly dull albums were littered with salsa-flavored keyboards and percussion, which unfortunately permeate Neil’s songs here on Long May You Run, a needless duet album credited to the Stills-Young Band.
The rather trite title song has become so overplayed over the years that its sentiments barely resonate today; it is, after all, a song about a car. While “Midnight On The Bay” has its moments, they are few and far between, while the similarly themed “Ocean Girl” lifts the chorus from the rare “War Song” single from 1972. “Let It Shine” sounds remarkably like a Crazy Horse track with Stills’ voice and noodling overdubbed and mixed too high. It even predicts Neil’s fascination with classic cars. “Fontainebleau” is probably the best track, with good guitar work and dynamics, but is sorely underdeveloped with a set of lyrics devoted to lambasting the Miami hotel of the same name.
We do hear him singing and playing on Stills’ songs, but so what? With the exception of the title track, it seems clear that he gave the bare minimum of effort to the project, in that much better songs were saved for his own albums, or thrown in the vault. By the time the album came out, Neil had already bailed on the Stills-Young Band tour to work on his own again.
The album’s rating is only as high as it is because of Neil, and that’s not saying much.

The Stills-Young Band Long May You Run (1976)—2

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