Friday, 23 August 2019

Neil Young - Live Rust (1978)

It's better to burn out than it is to rust....


Recorded live on tour with Crazy Horse in 1978

Running time 73.47

This was the properly live companion to Rust Never Sleeps, which was "sort of live". The music is taken from Young's tour with Crazy Horse in 1978 and features Young backed with bass, guitar and drums and occasional keyboards. It is a back to basics performance, begun with acoustic/harmonica material before we get the solid, riffy, crashing, no-nonsense rock that Young and Crazy Horse would be known for over subsequent years. It has attracted criticism for including four of the tracks from Rust Never Sleeps but that is a bit churlish, really. You can never get enough of those songs anyway and there are still twelve others. This is still a very good live album, one that would set the standard for many more from Young and Crazy Horse over the years.


1. Sugar Mountain
2. I Am A Child
3. Comes A Time
4. After The Gold Rush
5. My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue)
6. When You Dance I Can Really Love
7. The Loner
8. The Needle And The Damage Done
9. Lotta Love
10. Sedan Delivery
11. Powderfinger
12. Cortez The Killer
13. Cinnamon Girl
14. Like A Hurricane
15. Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)
16. Tonight's The Night                                                

Kicking off things is Sugar Mountain, a sort of singalong acoustic number that finds the crowd getting into it and clapping along. The acoustic vibe continues on the plaintive I Am A Child and the harmonica-enhanced, enjoyable Comes A Time, from Young's latest studio album. Then it is time for an earlier classic, the wonderful After The Gold Rush. The studio version's flugelhorn is replaced by a Springsteen-esque harmonica.

My My, Hey Hey (Out Of The Blue) sees an electric guitar used, but it is gently utilised on the laid-back version of the grungy "Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)". Once again the harmonica is excellent, very Dylanesque here. The electric guitar is fully introduced now on the riffy strains of When You Dance I Can Really Love. This is a full-on, copper-bottomed Young/Crazy Horse rocker, packed with outstanding guitar, throbbing bass and pounding drums. The riff-driven attack continues on The Loner from Young's debut album. Proper rock once more. Again the guitar power is truly pulsating.

For some reason, between this track and the next one, the acoustic, anti-drug The Needle and the Damage Done contains a thunderclap and stage announcements about taking precautions during the thunderstorm that were take from Woodstock, in 1969, when Young played there with CSNY. A most odd inclusion. Lotta Love is a peaceful, chilled-out piece of breezy soft rock that sits a bit incongruously with some of the more caustic material.

Back to rock next with the punky, energetic romp of Sedan Delivery, followed by the superb, powerful but melodic Powderfinger. The solidly dignified Cortez The Killer continues the high quality. It has an appropriately killer guitar solo. Young returns to his second album for the short, sharp, hard-hitting rock of Cinnamon Girl. You simply can't argue with the power of the chunky guitar attack on tracks like this. You can never hear Like A Hurricane too many times either. This begins with lots of feedback before launching into the familiar intro.

Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black) is as chunkily industrial as you would expect. The album ends with the slow but powerful Tonight's The Night. As with so many tracks it is full to the brim of great guitar. This album has been an air guitarist's dream. Uncompromising, full volume stuff.


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