Monday, April 13, 2009

Neil Young 25: Lucky Thirteen

Since Neil had become so economically viable of late, it was hardly surprising when Geffen decided to cash in, and fast. Lucky Thirteen served to “sum up” the Geffen years. On the good side it has some rarities and alternates; on the bad side, the songs aren’t that good, the set doesn’t gel, and the first of many references to “The Neil Young Archives” only brought fans to the end of their tethers waiting for him to throw open the gates already.
The rarities are mixed at best. One’s enjoyment of the eight-minute version of “Sample And Hold” depends on how much one doesn’t hate the short version. “Depression Blues” is inoffensive and slightly memorable, left over from the initial Old Ways sessions, and we look forward to hearing what the rest of the sessions sounded like before Neil poured on the schlock. “Get Gone” and “Don’t Take Your Love Away From Me” show how confusing the Shocking Pinks portions of his shows must have seemed; the former is a Bo Diddley stomp, while the latter predicts the Bluenotes. Several puzzling choices of album tracks follow, not even including such actual hits as “Touch The Night” or “Long Walk Home”. A pair of live Bluenotes tracks cap the set: “Ain’t It The Truth” is supposedly one of his earliest songs, but this version of “This Note’s For You” runs rings around the album track, given time to breathe rather than fading.
It’s fair to say that Lucky Thirteen is suitably irritating, as befits the era it sums up. These albums still have their defenders, though anyone’s choices from the period will vary.

Neil Young Lucky Thirteen (1993)—

No comments:

Post a Comment