I feel the same way about this album as I do about AFTER THE GOLD RUSH. Three decades (and change) ago, this would've gotten a 5-star rating from me. But some songs don't endure, they don't stand the test of time, and smack of hippie self-indulgence. In particular, "The Losing End" is tedious. And "Round and Round" is, for me, an audio sedative.
But three tunes are standard bearers of classic rock radio: "Cowgirl in the Sand", "Down by the River", and "Cinnamon Girl". And for good reason--they ARE classics in the sense that their intensity and creativity set an example for later singer/songwriters, rock bands, and lead guitarists.
This was Young's first album with Crazy Horse, and the tightness of the playing, the way the band highlights Young, and Young highlights them leaves little wonder why these guys play and record together to this day (except for Crazy Horse's Danny Whitten who entered overdose heaven 30 years ago). While some reviewers have stated that they find "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down by the River" as being too long, I would counter, a la Mozart in "Amadeus", with "Which notes do you think should've been left out?" If anything, I think "Cinnamon Girl" is too short. In fact on Young's LIVE RUST (recorded ten years after this album) he repeated the final part ("Pa, send me money now...") and added a final guitar line. I recommend this album highly, in spite of the above-mentioned accoustic tunes. This is an album that will drag you "over the rainbows".