on June 11, 2012
Neil Young is such an icon in rock history and so much has been said abouthim already that I won't repeat alot here except to say he is remarkable! This 2CD set is a great compilation of his work from the early years of his career especially. It has most of his most momentus songs. I would suggest to new listeners that this is a good CD to start with but to also look at his later work as well. He always has something of significance to say.
1.Ohio: One of the best socially conscious protest songs that came out of the disaster that occurred back in the late 60's at Ohio State University. This song shed a light on the way the protest at OSU was handled by authorities. Neil helped shed light on that through his music & his level of consciousness as a proponent of maintaining peaceful solutions to unrest. These were some of the most critical years in American history in the fight against wars, racism, inequality, women's rights, ageism, sexism and the desire for more freedom overall. I feel honoured to have grown up in this time & recognize now how much my generation had to fight to better the world even here in Canada but not to the degree that the U.S. had to in some area's. However, those that fought this fight made us all better human beings in the end. Thank's to Neil for shedding a light on this important event in history.
2.Soldier: I think one of the best vocal performances Neil has ever given. His voice is hauntingly beautiful and the piano work fits so well with the lyrical content of this song. Another song reminiscent of that time in history when everyone was fighting for peace during the Vietnam War. Sometimes the simplest of songs can have a major impact on our psyche's to propel us for change.
3.Old Man: One of Neil's most prolificly famous songs. I just love this song on so many levels...from the drum beat setting the tone for the melodic nature of the song. Then the fabulous guitar & banjo work throughout this song. His vocal on this is so wonderful & the harmonies as well. This song always takes me back to those years when this song came out. Neil could do no wrong for sure. Wonderful lyrics that suggest an inner turmoil brewing in referencing his relationship with his Dad although apparently he claims that this song was not about his Dad. The lyrics suggest otherwise or perhaps he just meant that it wasn't written with a negative reference to his father in mind.
4.Mr.Soul: This song so reminds me of music he did when he was with Buffalo Springfield. I loved their music too...this is such a great in your face rock song from back in those hippie days of old! Peace, love, flower children & all that rolled into one on this track! Good guitar jamming on this track from back in the day!
5.A Man Needs A Maid: Although I'd like to argue points on the title of this song alone...I'll put that aside to say this is a majestically written song & vocal performance. His voice sounds so sweet. I think this song represents a very lonely time in his life perhaps after a broken relationship when one just can't imagine being with the opposite sex again. I think it emits an anger and angst about relationships and how difficult they are to respect & appreciate to maintain a loving cohesiveness with one another. The orchestral arrangments coupled with his voice are just nothing short of brilliance! This generation without a doubt to me put out the greatest body of musical styles, genres, & experimentation that was ever done up to this point & propelled the music industry to be more open minded for the future of music.
6.Expecting To Fly: The opening intro of this song is just such beautiful guitar work. Then he starts singing and those harmonies are just superbly executed. This is a classic 60's song to me...in it's construction & delivery. I think listening to Neil's music during this time one recognizes how much of a true poet he was lyrically. This song represents the end of a relationship and his feelings about that. Love the violin in the ending of this piece just so well expresses the subject matter of the song.
7.Harvest: One of Neil's most instantly recognizable hits. This song is very country oriented to me in it's construction. Love the lyrics to this song....so insightful and using the word harvest as a metaphor for the newness of a relationship. Interesting!
8.Sugar Mountain: One of my personal favorite songs of Neil's. I just adore the guitar work in this song...some great picking & strumming. His voice is just so lovely in this song and those lyrics...wow! What a song about growing up, growing pains for life! It has a youthful energy in those lyrics and shows the vunerability of one coming into their own in adulthood & how scary it can be. Sounds like Sugar Mountain is a place of safety....one to always go back to!
9.Heart Of Gold: This is one of his biggest hits. What a great crafting of lyrics.....love how he thought he was getting old back then; that's hilarious, wonder what he'd say to that now! Ha! Ha! Ah youth! Cool delivery & great guitar work & loved the harmonies on this track. Cute little ditty!
10.I Am A Child: This song has a country vibe to it. He was well known for crossing genres like most of us cross borders. He drifts between country, folk & rock. This song has elements of country & folk. Did you hear those lyrics...so well written. Interesting perception as if from a child's perspective about life & the world. Love how the song drifts off too!
11.Star of Bethlehem: This song is very country oriented to me. His approach to this song vocally was much different on this song. This is a darkly written song lyrically. I could never figure out if there were some religious references to this song & if he was talking about Jesus and him questioning that whole "philosophy". Interesting to me if that perception is what he actually meant. Love the harmonica work in this song.
12.The Needle & The Damage Done: One of my favorite Neil Young songs....so true of those times. So many people lost to the needle & drugs during those years & I can relate to that from those times. They were experimental in some instances to the extreme which isn't something we have to be proud of from that period of time. Sometimes I think those were life's learned lessons from that era in history though.
13.The Loner: This was never one of my favorite Neil Young songs but it definetly had it's shining moments. It's one of his more rock oriented songs to me. Interesting observations about the personality dynamics of "The Loner" though.
14.The Old Laughing Lady: I love the intro to this song...it unfolds slowly. Another more intimate song of Neil's with those softly projected vocals on this track. Liked the intermittent drum beats also. This song had even some jazzy peaks in it with the instrumentation.
15.Cinnamon Girl:Neil Young rock song at it's best. This one will bring back a few memories for those that lived through this era! Great harmonies on this track and Neil's voice almost seems to be in the background during those harmonies. Nice electric guitar riffs. This song reminds me of when he collaborated with Crosby,Stills, & Nash. Just has that historical musical feel for me.
16.Down By The River:Another of my favorite Neil Young songs. The guitar work is just so well done..similar to Cinnamon Girl but a slower song. Those lyrics are just so impressive. This song defined a generation for me. I've heard it done by many artists & the only other artist that to me has done this song justice is the "Indigo Girls". Having said that no one does it in the same way....because his vocals & guitarmanship just blow it out of the park. Probably alot of people who grew up during these times can recall exactly what they were doing when they first heard this song! Okay folks ..let's keep it clean! Ha! Ha!
17.I Believe In You: Just a lovely, lovely ballad done here. What exceptional lyrics....a song about love and the dynamics of a relationship. Love the choppy nature of his vocal with it's high falsetto moments. Nice guitar work on this track. This song highlights the vulnerabilities felt by someone in a relationship. So well done! Such an empowering love song! I Believe In Neil..because these lyrics are gorgeous!
18.After The Gold Rush:One of my favorite songs of his...again defined a generation & point in time & history for me. Some of the best written lyrics....listen carefully...who writes lyrics like this anymore...they flow like liquid...him making it seem so effortless. Argueably one of the best written Neil Young songs to me. From the gorgeous piano work on this piece to the horn accompaniment to both provide the structure for this song while in keeping with the vocal performance. Just a 20++++++ on so many levels.
19.Deep Forbidden Lake: Isn't the intro guitar work so well done? This song is so lovely that you feel like you are sitting among a forest of pines....just laying on a blanket taking in nature with the sights, sounds & smells. This is such a charmingly soothing song. The 12 string guitar is a nice addition to this song as well.
20.Southern Man:My favorite rock song of Neil Young's ever.....the lyrics so compelling. This was a definite reference to those times when racism was being fought ferosciously during the 60's in the U.S. Love how Neil kept it real on this track lyrically. So smart...so responsible...so socially aware, so courageous to write this during those times. People were getting beaten during these times....if you were black especially but even white people that were standing beside blacks to affect change. It was a horrific time but also the best of times in the context that it DID affect change....slow coming change...but change still. I love in this song with the use of the electric guitar he expresses the turmoil that was present in that struggle! To me this is proof of the resilence of human beings to fight injustices at all costs and that is what was done with the thanks of leader's like Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpman et all who made the world a better place for their courage to fight!
21.Like A Hurricane: This song is a cool rock song...not one of my favorites. I can't quite put a finger on why that is for me...if it's the drumming (too simplistic & repetitive) coupled with the guitar or the vocal. Hmmm....sorry thinking out loud there right now! Ha! Ha! I'm sure some will love it though. Great guitar work on this track though; it's banging!
22.Helpless:Such a gorgeous song of his.....the lyrical composition plus his vocal on this is nothing short of sublime! No one gives this song the sweet vocal that Neil imparts on this song. His lyrical writing is at the forefront of this song! Great piano work, harmonies...but that voice is what propels this song in it's lyrical artistry! Also loved K D Lang's version of this song in later years for those of you that haven't heard it...check it out!
23.Cortez The Killer:One of my other most favorite Neil Young songs. The guitar work is nothing short of exceptional. There oddly enough is a measure of blues in the guitar work even though it is clearly rock oriented song. However, he just so makes you get to the "feel" of this song with the construction of the guitarwork! WOW,WOW,WOW! I have had this song on my favorite playlist along with Southern Man, After The Gold Rush & Sugar Mountain for like EONS~ I cannot remove any of them...because they are that well done...that memorable for me....that nostalgic for me...yes you get my drift. Just play them all & tell you if you could remove them...it's impossible! I give up even trying anymore! Ha! Ha!
24.Campaigner:I never really hooked onto this song.....think it was a little too twangy country for me. Nice concept for the song though....love the referencing to Richard Nixon! Not many people could even think of writing a song about political campaigns...that's the genius of this song! Maybe because he was Canadian back then he was given some sort of special pass in his protest songs...but I'm sure glad Neil was there during those times!
25.Long May You Run:This a classic county Neil Young song. When I listen to this it makes me laugh at how during this era our parent's were all freaking out about the music us teenagers were listening to...and listening back on alot of this music they were songs about social justice, love (even Led Zeppelin) and yet what our parent's were really freaking out about were all the other changes, drugs, protests, long hair, fighting the establishment...but they couldn't put that to words so blamed the music! Hilarious to me now. Anyway sorry got off track...but I love the postively written lyrics in this song. I think this song is a hint of what was to come from Neil ....later heard again in his CD "Comes A Time" when even more of his country songs were developed.
Anyway folks these were my favorites on this CD and hope you get to check this CD out for yourselves as it is still relateable today in many respects.
on December 18, 2008
"Decade" is a great compilation album, put together by Neil Young of his early career in 1977. It was originally a three album compilation, but this release is on two CDs. The retrospective is mostly chronological; though there are some exceptions, and it does cover all aspects of his career, whether it is with Buffalo Springfield, Solo, with Crazy Horse, or as part of Crosby Stills Nash & Young.
Six of the first seven tracks are from his days in Buffalo Springfield, including songs like "Down to the Wire" also with Dr. John, a live version in the studio of "Mr. Soul", and "Broken Arrow". The other track is "Sugar Mountain" a live track from a solo performance in Ann Arbor days before he released his first solo album. It also includes "The Loner" and "The Old Laughing Lady" from that album. It then moves into my personal favorite period, which is his first album with Crazy Horse and his second solo album "After the Gold Rush". This includes wonderful tracks such as "Cinnamon Girl", "Down by the River", "Cowgirl in the Sand", "I Believe in You", "After the Gold Rush", and "Southern Man", and the first CD closes with the first of two tracks from the "Déjà" Vu album from Crosby Stills, Nash & Young, "Helpless".
The second CD picks up where the first CD leaves off (and where the 4th side of the three album set began) with "Ohio" from Crosby Stills, Nash & Young's "Déjà Vu" album. This is followed by "Soldier" from the soundtrack "Journey through the Past", which is followed by five tracks from Neil's "Harvest" album, including classics like "Old Man", the somewhat unusual selection "A Man Needs A Maid", "Harvest", and "Heart of Gold", and a live recording of "The Needle and the Damage Done", though Neil also mixes in "The Star of Bethlehem" from the "American Stars `N Bars" album before the last one. Next up is two tracks from "Tonight's the Night" starting with the title track, and then including "Tired Eyes". Next are a couple of tracks from the "On the Beach" album, including "Walk On" and "For the Turnstiles".
Neil then makes an unusual choice to include some previously unreleased tracks. These days it has become a common practice, but back then it was unusual. These tracks include "Winterlong" and "Deep Forbidden Lake", and later in the disk "Love is a Rose". He also includes a version of "Like a Hurricane" from a rehearsal sessions for his Northern California Coastal Bar Tour in 1975. The other tracks which finish up this album include "Cortez the Killer" from the "Zuma" album, and two more previously unreleased tracks, the first being "Campaigner" from The Stills-Young Band, and finishing with a version of "Long May You Run" performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
Not every track on this album is great, at least not to me, but the collection as a whole is outstanding, because it is more than a collection of hits, and instead is made up of interesting and thoughtful choices by Neil Young. Some of the unreleased tracks are among the best tracks on the album, though I am not particularly fond of "Campaigner", and that makes this collection a treat for fans which already have his other albums. If you like Neil Young, this is a great collection to pick up.
on April 10, 2004
I remember the Woodstock hippie days like they were yesterday and nothing brings back that feeling quite like Neil Young. Who from that time period can forget Kent State?
I found the entire two CD set to be a most worthy collection of Neil's work. Quite a few classics from "Ohio" to "Sugar Mountain," "The Loner," "Heart of Gold," "Southern Man," "Mr Soul," and "Long May You Run."
This set also contains one of the best songs I believe Neil ever did, that simple but hearfelt classic, "The Needle and the Damage Done" and a couple I haven't heard before such as the mellow "Deep Forbidden Lake" and "Winterlong," both of which are pure Neil Young.
Listening to this set had me take a journey back in time as volitile and passionate as it was when I thought I would be heading out for Vietnam (missed being deployed there by two weeks). I can only hope that whatever music you listen to does for you what this set does for me. Neil Young's "Decade" is a valuable addition for those who lived that time and those who want to know what that time was.
on March 6, 2004
Neil Young is not only a craftsman with his pen, guitar, harmonica, and voice, he is also an accomplished record producer. For all his railing against "record company clowns", Young is one of the most astute businessmen among recording artists. This compilation, put together by Young and cronies Tim Mulligan and David Briggs, is a case in point.
While many would view this collection as a greatest hits compilation, and while virtually all of Young's true hits are here, this 3-album, 2 CD amalgam, drawn from the artists first decade of recorded music, was designed to appeal first of all to the novice Neil fan, and secondly to the completist. For the novice, most of Young's best work is featured, dating from his early collaborations with Stephen Stills and Buffalo Springfield, and coincidentally ending with his 1976 collaboration with Stills and the Stills-Young Band. It is hard to argue with many of the selections here: surely 'Mr. Soul', 'The Loner', 'Cinnamon Girl', 'Helpless', 'Old Man', 'Heart of Gold', and 'Like a Hurricane' had to be easy choices for inclusion. Others are less obvious. 'Broken Arrow' could have easily been left out of the quiver rather than 'On the Way Home' (as long as Neil would tolerate Richie Furay scoring the lead vocal), 'Star of Bethlehem' could have bit the bullet instead of 'Bite the Bullet', and it would have been nice had Neil made room for 'Words', but such choices may as well have been made with a flip of the coin.
For the completist, Young offers at least five songs and over twenty minutes of mostly acoustic rarities, all of which are hard to pass up. The fine opening number, 'Down To the Wire' is a pre-Buffalo Springfield composition put together by Young and Stills in 1966 for the abandoned 'Stampede' LP. There are four other songs appearing only on the 'Decade' discs: 'Winterlong', recorded in 1969 (a live version from the 2000 Red Rocks concerts is now available also), and 'Deep Forbidden Lake' both of which feature wonderful slide guitar accompaniment; 'Love Is a Rose' is a jaunty acoustic work familiar due to Linda Ronstadt's rendition, and 'Campaigner' sets Neil apart as the only artist to work Richard Nixon into not just one, but two songs ("even Richard Nixon has got soul"). The other song featuring a Tricky Dick lyric is of course 'Ohio' ("tin soldiers and Nixon's coming"), which is included here, and is only available as a single, on other compilations ('So Far' or the CSN box set), or on the rare 'Journey Through the Past' soundtrack. Another rarity from the 'Journey...' soundtrack is the haunting 'Soldier'. Recorded in a Northern California sawmill with Neil on a piano, the song boasts a lot of natural echo and a sawdust burner crackling away in the background. That's gotta be unique. So there is a lot to be had here even for those with an extensive Neil Young collection.
The finishing touch is a booklet with handwritten notes by Young offering his immediate recollections on each song, and lots of thumbnail photos. As Neil would say... "inneresting". Inneresting enough for you?
on January 20, 2004
This 2-cd set captures the first ten years of the almost 40-year career of America's most risk-taking and innovative singer/songwriters. It captures his music-making from his days with Buffalo Springfield through his early solo years through his CSN&Y days and his 70s solo years. While many will disagree, I feel that this was Young's most consistently creative and experimental years. With the exception of RUST NEVER SLEEPS and, possibly, TRANS, his second decade was decidedly uneven; and his third decade, which although it includes FREEDOM and HARVEST MOON just didn't rock (except for "Rocking in the Free World) as did the 1966-1976 period. This doesn't imply that Young's talents deteriorated. It's simply a matter of a brash young rocker developing into a mature musician and songwriter.
This set contains anything and everything a Neil Young fan or any fan of rock and roll could possibly desire. The long, intense, machine gun guitar work on "Down by the River", "Cowgirl in the Sand", and "Like a Hurricane", to the sweet ballads like "I Believe in You", "Long May You Run", and "I Am a Child", to all the electic stuff in between, such as "Campaigner", "For the Turnstiles", and "Tired Eyes". This collection is an all-inclusive, well-organized journey through Neil Young's most important decade.
on December 16, 2003
This album is a great overview of what is now Neil Young's "early" works, covering the years 1967-1977. Although Neil has released much more music since this album has been released, Neil will always be associated with this era, which covers his years with Buffalo Springfield (Highly Under-rated band, by the way), and his on-again/off-again collaborations with Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
This album is much more than a simple greatest hits, including songs that were never released as singles, and some that were released without fanfare. This album is also a strong testament to Neil's songwriting abilities, and very few songwriters can convey the imagery and emotions that Neil can. Neil's songs convey an adult array of emotions, ranging from childlike innocence (I am a Child) to despair and sorrow (Needle & the damage done, After the Gold Rush).
However, as with any collection, there are some gaps and favorites that long-time fans of Neil would have liked to see on the album, this is a great first step into exploring Neil Young's earlier works.
on December 7, 2003
I borrowed this CD off of one of my friends after listening to it I could not refuse to not buy it. I had to buy this BOX SET so I did. The music on these two CDs are prob. the best neil young anyone will every get. I know there are alot of die hard neil young fans out there which I would say I am not a neil young fanatic but I like his music. I am a guitarist who is more into Hendrix and SRV but neil young will always be placed as a great guitarist in my book atleast. Neil was a great writer in his music but what really rocked this folk singer was his electric playing which is an prime example of the time and era. One of my favorites of this CD is Ohio its lyrics are so powerful the lyrics are like a story following up the story behind this song. Some other favorites of mine are Cinnamon Gril, After The Gold Rush, Ohio, Heart Of Gold, Winterlong, and Walk On. This is a must have for anybody regardless if your a Neil Young fanatic or just a begginer in rock music. This CD is one of my top 100 favorites its a must have for anybody. So enjoy!!
on June 29, 2003
35 tracks ranging from major hits to rare recordings that span ten years in the life of modern musics most creative and challening singer/songwriters.decade was assembled by young himself and chronicles the years 1966- 1976 rare tracks are included along with better known material "cinnamon girl" "heart of gold" "old man" "ohio".along with the extended jams "down by the river" "cowgirl in the sand" "southern man" "cortez the killer" and my all time favorite "like a hurricane".rarities include "down to the wire" unreleased buffalo springfield neils most famous b -side"sugar mountain" "winterlong meant for after the goldrush."deep forbidden lake after neils dark period."love is a rose" also recorded by linda rondstadt and a real hidden gem "campaigner the story goes young had watched tv footage of president nixon visiting his wife in the hospital after she suffered a stroke it moved him to write this song which contains the famous line even richard nixon has got soul.this coming from the same man who wrote "ohio" about the kent state killings i think this is the best box set out there i purchased the original three album set back in 1976 my original review didn't do this collection justice.side note on the beach is finally being released on cd another essential recording it is depressing and brilliant at the same time.
on September 30, 2002
Ordinarily, I'm not much of a believer in greatest hits packages. Yeah, they're good for the car or for slapping on the stereo at parties. But I tend to feel they're bad mojo, particularly when you're talking about an artist as talented and multi-faceted as Neil Young. In a world where, say, The Rolling Stones have created perfect, self-contained units like "Beggar's Banquet," "Let it Bleed," "Sticky Fingers," "Between the Buttons" and others, why would anyone want to mainline their music with something like "Hot Rocks." It's like watching ONLY the shoot 'em up scenes in "The Wild Bunch" without the color and exposition of the less-well-known but equally satisfying scenes.
Neil Young's "Decade," however, is one place where I make a serious exception to my music-geek inflexibility. And I think it's because Young has covered so much ground and gone in so many directions that this collection kind of gives the new listener a good road map.
Since all of the various aspects of Young's career are fairly complicated and completely engrossing in their own right, "Decade" allows you to focus on just the touchstones. With "Decade" you get a sampling of Buffalo Springfield, solo work, CSN&Y tunes, his forays into symphonic walls of sound as well those made from guitar workouts with Crazy Horse.
And, also, I just simply can't begrudge a collection of music with 34 great frickin' songs on it (yes, I know this has 35 songs -- I've never, ever been able to stomach "A Man Needs A Maid" but that's my problem and I can handle it).
on August 18, 2002
This album is priceless.All the tracks are chosen by Neil himself with excellent notes of how the songs came about.I have this on vinyl and the cover is well designed with some good photography.Ah,yes,the music,to the early days with buffalo springfield right through to "Like a Hurricane"every track a gem !If I had a complaint,I would like to have seen "On the beach" or "Ambulance blues" included !"For the Turnstiles"is a fine track with Ben Keith on Dobro and Neil on Banjo,I still don't know what the song's about !All the unreleased material is first rate"Star of Bethlehem" is a lovely number with Emmylou Harris on Harmony vocals.Another great song is "Campaigner",a song of great depth about Richard Nixon.Neil saw film of Nixon leaving hospital in some distress after visiting his Wife.Is Neil forgiving the Man? "Even Richard Nixon has got soul"."Winterlong" is another good song and I heard Neil and Crazy Horse do a great version of that song at Carnegie Hall,back in the days when Danny Whitten was with them!
Another surprise is the song "Soldier" which is taken from"Journey thru the past",Just Neil at the piano in front of a log fire!
When you think about all the great albums he's recorded since "Decade" We are in for a treat when the next one comes around
Cheers,Neil,Long may you run !!