20 June 2013

20th June - Neil Young's Tonight's the Night

Artist – Album: Neil Young – Tonight’s the Night
Released:  20th June 1975

Sounds Like:  The bleeding heart show

I’ve got something that’s been troubling me, dear readers, and its high time I got it off my chest. You see, yesterday I was told that my dear friend Rufus doesn’t have long left to live. Heartbreaking. It was hardly unexpected – he’s very old and, in truth, he’s been hanging on for a while now. But, you know, we’ve been on some real journeys together and I’m not ashamed to say he’s carried me in times of need. Yep, yesterday was a sad day indeed: Rufus, my fourteen year old Nissan Micra, needs a new exhaust, back box, and pretty much everything, and it’d be cheaper for me to just get a new car. In the next few months I’m going to have to sell him to webuyanycar.com... I took the decision to fill you in with that difficult news there to illustrate that, yes, I’ve known some bloody hard times in my twenty-five years on this earth. Not even these experiences though could equip me for the harrowing ordeal that comes with Neil Young’s Tonight’s the Night.

Young went through a couple of (arguably) even more upsetting experiences than losing his car in the build up to recording this album: fellow Crazy Horse Danny Whitten died just under a year before recording took place, whilst roadie pal Bruce Berry succumbed to a drug overdose just a few months later. Additionally, the success he’d amassed after his work with Crosby, Stills & Nash, and his solo albums After the Goldrush and Harvest, left him disillusioned and disenchanted, and he was desperate to move away from the commercial side of things. Throw in his morbid obsession with drug addiction (driven by the fatalities of his friends) and you have something of a perfect storm of unflinching despair.

That being said, the weariness and turmoil of the albums themes do not make this the unlistenable record of other similar efforts. True, the playing is sloppy and loose, and Young’s voice cracks and strains more than once, but the man is second to none in turning out beautiful country rock melodies. That talent is as much on show here as on his other, happier attempts and the consistency of the record makes it truly special. Outstanding.

Albumaday... rating:  9/10

1.       Tonight’s the Night – 4:39
2.       Speakin’ Out – 4:56
3.       World on a String – 2:27
4.       Borrowed Tune – 3:26
5.       Come on Baby Let’s Go Downtown – 3:35
6.       Mellow My Mind – 3:07
7.       Roll Another Number (for the Road) – 3:02
8.       Albuquerque – 4:02
9.       New Mama – 2:11
10.   Lookout Joe – 3:57
11.   Tired Eyes – 4:38
12.   Tonight’s the Night – Part II – 4:52

Listen to ‘Albuquerque’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppkrb0VhN9A

Also released on the 20th June:
2000: The White Stripes – De Stijl

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