Friday, 23 August 2019

Neil Young - Zuma (1975)

He came dancing across the water....


Released on 10 November 1975

Running time 36.34

Neil Young reunited again with Crazy Horse on this album and it revisits the hard rocking edge he had employed at intervals throughout the seventies. The music is played with a loose, buzzy guitar-driven energy by Crazy Horse (who didn't seem to be able to play in any other way, anyway) and is considered one of Young's best seventies rock offerings. It is another in what was now becoming a long line of highly credible and listenable albums from this enigmatic artist.


1. Don't Cry No Tears
2. Danger Bird
3. Pardon My Heart
4. Lookin' For A Love
5. Barstool Blues
6. Stupid Girl
7. Drive Back
8. Cortez The Killer
9. Through My Sails    

Don't Cry No Tears is a solid, mid-pace rocker to start the album off, with a nice deep bass sound to it and some by now trademark Crazy Horse riffing. A low-key bass and slow guitar riff introduces the sombre Danger Bird. It ends with a couple of minutes of outstanding guitar work. As will be said on any review of their work in this period - Crazy Horse could really play.

Pardon My Heart was a gentle, tuneful acoustic number that wouldn't have been out of place on 1972's Harvest album. Lookin' For A Love is a poppy piece of country-ish rock. Cynical old Neil Young could periodically come up with fetching, romantic, wistful songs like this. Its vocal harmonies are very redolent of CSNY.

Barstool Blues is a typical Young/Crazy Horse slice of solid riffy rock with Young's "marmite" high-pitched reedy voice straining a bit to cope with the song, but the backings are always so good that I always tolerate Young's voice (of which I have always had my problems with). The lyrics are aways great and the attitude too. That is why I always return to his music with enthusiasm.

Stupid Girl is not The Rolling Stones song, but another chugging Young deep rocker. Once more the guitar is top notch.

Drive Back continues along the same riff-paved road. Nothing new here, just trustworthy, reliable rock. Neil Young was like Tom Petty in that respect - album after album that you knew would not let you down.

Cortez The Killer sees Young going all historical as he sings of the Spanish conqueror of the Aztecs  over some sublime, extended guitar backing on one of his most lengthy, improvisational numbers since the Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere album. It is a minor classic. The laid-back and folky Through My Sails was apparently a remant from the CSNY sessions back in the early seventies. It provides a peaceful, reflective end to an otherwise upbeat, rock-oriented album.


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