|1. Walk On|
|2. See The Sky About To Rain|
|3. Revolution Blues|
|4. For The Turnstiles|
|5. Vampire Blues|
|6. On The Beach|
|7. Motion Pictures|
|8. Ambulance Blues|
Neil Young is a widely varying, sometimes frustratingly inconsistent artist. However, he was clearly at his peak in the late '60s and early '70s, putting out at least five studio albums that could be deemed classic: Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After The Gold Rush, Tonight's The Night, On The Beach, and Zuma.
You may notice I didn't put Harvest in that list. While Harvest is certainly a good album, it's almost TOO accessible and tries too hard, in my opinion, to be commercially successful. It also suffers from the two London Symphony Orchestra tracks. Neil's best work often came when he didn't give a damn about what his audience or record label wanted, and so that puts Harvest out of the running for best in my book. After The Gold Rush was a great album, as was Everybody Knows.. and Zuma, but each album had one or two tracks that didn't feel up to par.
That leaves just two PERFECT Neil albums, both released in the dark period of the early Seventies after losing Bruce Berry and Danny Whitten (members of his backing band Crazy Horse) to drug abuse. Tonight's The Night is a dark, harrowing, bleak trip through a shattered hippie dream, an amazing album but nowhere near accessible, maybe a little TOO dark for some. 1974's On The Beach is more easily digestible and lighter, but still quite bleak and very personal. It has remained inexplicably out of print for almost 25 years, but thankfully Neil has brought it back with a remaster (now, if he would only release Time Fades Away to complete the "Doom Trilogy").
On The Beach ranges from moodily atmospheric (the title track) to quite upbeat (Walk On) but throughout Neil's mood is bitter and confessional.Read more ›
If you are curious about all four of these formerly "lost" albums, but not sure which to buy, make certain "On The Beach" is the first. The other three are not nearly as artistically strong or interesting, save for "Like A Hurricane" on 'American Stars and Bars', a collection of unreleased tracks in 1977. However, all four are still essential to Neil's fans or completists. Hopefully they will be able to get "Time Fades Away" remastered eventually--the master tapes, I've heard, have some mastering problems that can't be overcome at the moment.