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American Stars 'n Bars Original recording remastered, Enhanced

35 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Aug. 19 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Reprise
  • ASIN: B00009P1NY
  • Other Editions: Paperback  |  Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  DVD Audio  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #25,241 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. The Old Country Waltz
2. Saddle Up the Palomino
3. Hey Babe
4. Hold Back the Tears
5. Bite the Bullet
6. Star Of Bethlehem
7. Will to Love
8. Like a Hurricane
9. Homegrown

Product Description

This 1977 album was a little uneven, but the high points ( Like a Hurricane; Star of Bethlehem ) were Everest-like.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael S. Mahoney on March 25 2004
Format: Audio CD
"American Stars 'N Bars" is a foster home for wayward songs, the forgettable and truly stupid taking up residence with the occasional gem. After a Carolina vixen makes the good ol' boys drool in "Bight the Bullet," a number Young must have stolen from his cousin Angus, the keepers finally get their due. "Star of Bethlehem" is a fine ballad that features the peerless harmonizing of Emmylou Harris. A recording curiosity that Young strummed to life next to some crackling logs, "Will to Love" follows the upstream journey of an amorous "harpoon dodger." With vibes the song drifts into David Bowie waters - you almost expect the lyric "Ocean control to Major Fish." The tune is dopey and beautiful. "Homegrown" is just dopey. Its advocacy of family farming aside, the crunchy, economic riffage sounds pretty good after the tedious sprawl of "Like a Hurricane." And as for the cover, well in this case it's a good fit, a pug ugly thing designed by Dean Stockwell with a passed out floozy still gripping her tipple.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Dec 24 2003
Format: Audio CD
OK, "Like A Hurricane" and "Star Of Bethlehem" have been available on CD for years ("Decade"), and "American Stars & Bars" is sort of a Frankenstein effort, combining material from the aborted "Homegrown" album and featuring a mish-mash of Crazy Horse & Stray Gators with Emmylou, Linda and Nicolette thrown in. However, forget all that. The three essential "Lost CD Tracks" are: 1). "Hey Babe"...Nice easygoing Neil that would have sounded perfectly at home on the "Comes A Time" album, 2). "Bite The Bullet"...He must have been channeling BB King when he recorded the solo on this, because it is atypical of his "spray the air with random notes and feedback for ten minutes" style: brief (30 seconds or so), precise, and it stings like a big ol' mother bee. Plenty of bad attitude whammy bar vibrato being squeezed out of his beloved "Old Black" on this one, folks. Nicolette (and particularly Linda) shout / chant "Bite The Bullet" like a crazed mantra as Neil and the band slash and burn through three and a half minutes of the toughest, loudest, cleanest music he's ever recorded. EVER. Listen to it and you'll know why some people use the words "Neil Young" and "Lou Reed" in the same sentence. Finally, 3). "Hold Back The Tears"...which backs off a bit in intensity from "Bullet" but still features many of the dynamics that make that track great (Linda and Nicolette, and a memorable chorus). Legendary stuff that still smolders 26 years later.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P Magnum on Oct. 3 2003
Format: Audio CD
Neil Young's 1977 release American Stars 'N Bars is a hodgepodge of a release. The album is really made of studio leftovers with songs that were recorded as far back as 1974. The album was of two distinctive styles; country flavored songs in the Harvest vein and classic rock, both acoustic and electric. The album's best feature is the exquisite backing vocals by three of Mr. Young's most potent collaborators, Emmylou Harris, Nicolette Larson and Linda Ronstadt. Ms. Harris' backing vocals on "Star Of Bethlehem" are gorgeous. Ms. Ronstadt has one of the best voices in music and she and Ms. Harris add class and beauty to tracks like "The Old Country Waltz" and "Hold Back The Tears". The centerpiece and best known track from the album is scorching "Like A Hurricane". The song is pure Crazy Horse with its fuzzed out, distorted guitars and sledgehammer drums. The song smolders and burns for over eight minutes and stands as one of Mr. Young's most enduring numbers. Although American Stars 'N' Bars suffers a bit from its cobbled together from leftovers feel, the album contains some strong material and is worth a listen.
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Format: Audio CD
For the longest time, I did not add Neil Young's "American Stars 'N Bars" to my CD collection, because I had read and heard so much intense critcism of this album. But, I found a copy at my local 'used CD' store around the corner and decided to take a chance on this so called "oddities" album. Instantly, I fell in love with this crazy-quilt of both acoustic and electric music. I seem to love this CD for the very reasons that others disparage it. Yes, I know it's disparate, hodge-podge of songs. But, it's also raw and alive and seems to have a goofy, not-to-serious charm of it's own. On this album, Neil is no longer in the "middle of the road" ("Harvest"), but he isn't in the now infamously quoted "ditch" either ("Tonight's the Night", "On the Beach"). Young is sort of doing a balancing act in the middle, creating an album thats' sort of a warped, Frankenstein-like version of his classic, "Harvest". But it's a Frankenstein, that can tap it's toes and sort of dance. I love songs like the rustic "The Old Country Waltz" or the pulp Western tale, "Saddle Up the Palimono". I in particular, like the contributions of singers Linda Ronstadt, Emmylou Harris & Nicolette larson. They really work well with Young giving, that perfect '70s era country-rock feeling (especially Harris, who shines on "Star of Bethlehem"). According to one tale I've heard, the ladies thought they were just doing some 'practice, run throughs' of the songs. Much to their chagrin, they later learned that Neil was using these sessions as the final takes, hence the raw feeling of the songs.The electric portions of the CD are wonderful as well. "Like a Hurricane" is of course a classic and Young has played this long & Winding song for many years in his concert repertoire.Read more ›
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