Neil Young - On the Beach (1974) (1 Viewer)

My_Pilot

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This and Tonight's The Night are my favourite Neil Young albums, and two of my favourite albums by anyone. I love the air of disillusionment, bitterness and gloom of Ambulance Blues, Vampire Blues and Revolution Blues. It's the distilled sound of the end of the 60s hippy dream (though I acknowledge that, ostensibly, Young himself had little to be bitter or disillusioned about as he was massively personally successful. However, there's no doubt that he was battling his own issues and demons at this point).

Although this was *officially* unavailable on cd for years, I have a bootleg copy that had a 1970 solo concert for the BBC tacked onto the end. That's also class.

A commenter above indicated that this was unavailable on cd for so long because Young was embarrassed by the lyrics. I don't think that's the case at all. The lyrics are good (and god knows he has some clunkers elsewhere in his back catalogue). My own view is that it's a combination of the disconcertingly bleak worldview on display on the album, and Young's own random idiosyncratic personality, that caused it to be out of print for so long.

I will never tire of this album.
 

CinnamonBoy

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A flawless album, in my opinion.
The opening lines of Walk On are classic "fuck you lot" Neil, See the Sky has that superb pre-chorus riff and a superb understated outro, bleak but uplifting, Revolution Blues is a ferocious thing, those lyrics, that solo, the bass and drums courtesy of Rick Danko and Levon Helm. For the Turnstiles, Vampire Blues and Motion Pictures perfectly capture in three completely different styles his depressed but defiant mindset, the title track is sublime and Ambulance Blues....that's just from another world. And Bert Jannsch. More memorable lines than most bands have in an album, lovely playing and a vibe that takes us right into the crazed sessions with Rusty Kershaw and his Honey Slides, as described in various accounts.

When I got into Neil Young he was fairly inactive and I never thought I'd see him live. My first show was in Vienna in an opera house with amazing acoustics etc.
He comes out, sits down and starts picking out the intro to Ambulance Blues. That was pretty fucking ace.
 

hugh

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Love this. I've owned a copy forever and it's pretty much my go-to album when I feel like listening to Neil Young. I think it benefits from not having any of his "big" songs on it .... it doesn't get overshadowed by the presence of Like A Hurricane or something. Though Revolution Blues, like Don't Be Denied on Time Fades Away, is one of those immense Neil Young songs that doesn't really get the recognition it deserves. I never copped until now that Levon Helm and Rick Danko are on that track (cheers CinnamonBoy) and that just makes me love it even more. Jeez, it's like I've never bothered to read the liner notes. Speaking of which ... Bert Jansch? Huh? Is he on it? I now have actually read the liner notes and no mention of his name. Please explain ...

One of the great things to me about this album is that it sounds amazing. Tonight's The Night always sounds a bit muddy to me, whereas this one has that absolutely clear, beautifully recorded feel to it where you can pick out every instrument. It sounds like a band playing in a room, which should be very simple, but is really hard to do well .... it doesn't happen very often.

Full marks from me. No question.
 

Bobby?

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It's far from flawless. Walk On, See The Sky About To Rain and Vampire Blues are all forgettable and they're nearly half the album. I used to think For The Turnstiles was pretty poor too but this last couple of listens I found I kinda like it. But even when I didn't like half of the songs on the album I still thought it was a great album because the other songs are so good. His cantankerousness is an show all over the place which I like - the sloppiness over an excellent backing band works well. His lyrics are best when they dont sound too earnest and here he sounds to me like he's just giving out and complaining about random stuff a lot of the time (a good thing, what he does best). See The Sky About To Rain doesn't have this, instead it's got seemingly earnest feelings-y lyrics and really shite rhyming. Walk On could be any old shite song off Zuma. The last three songs make it though - the sound is so rich and warm and the playing is spot on. It reminds me of being sick as a child - you know something is wrong and yet you're all cozy and warm at home and everyone is being nice.

My favorite Neil Young album by a long way is Rust Never Sleeps (no bad songs) but it's not as enveloping as this one.
 

Cornu Ammonis

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Walk On could be any old shite song off Zuma.
Does not compute. "Walk On" is a great song and Zuma is a perfect record. Saying it could be any old shite song off Zuma is a compliment.

Speaking of which ... Bert Jansch? Huh? Is he on it? I now have actually read the liner notes and no mention of his name. Please explain ...
Young lifted the chords for "Ambulance Blues" from Jansch's "Needle of Death". He didn't realise it until after he released it and felt pretty guilty about it afterwards. Not guilty enough to give Jansch a writing credit or anything but there you go.
 

My_Pilot

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Young lifted the chords for "Ambulance Blues" from Jansch's "Needle of Death". He didn't realise it until after he released it and felt pretty guilty about it afterwards. Not guilty enough to give Jansch a writing credit or anything but there you go.
Young did a cover of Needle of Death on 'A Letter Home', that (mostly shite) album he recorded a year or two ago in that 'record your own record' booth owned by Jack White.

It's an amazing song. As is Ambulance Blues.

A while back (circa 'Greendale'), Young played two nights acoustic and solo in Vicar Street. I went the first night and he finished with Cortez The Killer (it was fucking immense). My mates went the second night and he finished with Ambulance Blues. Still not sure which of us got the better deal.
 

Bobby?

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A while back (circa 'Greendale'), Young played two nights acoustic and solo in Vicar Street. I went the first night and he finished with Cortez The Killer (it was fucking immense). My mates went the second night and he finished with Ambulance Blues. Still not sure which of us got the better deal.
He's plays Cortez regularly I think? I've seen him play it 2 or three times, I'd rather get Ambulance Blues now
 

My_Pilot

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On a related note, has anyone read his biography (Waging Heavy Peace)?

It's totally mental. My old man (also a massive Youngers fan) was almost totally put off him in the process of reading it, so irredeemably shite did he consider it.

I could see where he was coming from, but I found it was bearable if I read it to myself in a Neil Young voice.
 

hugh

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I picked it up in a bookshop one day and read a few paragraphs and that was enough to put me off. I think he has turned into a bit of an eejit in his old age. I blame the ganja.

Example: that album he did where there was one song about how we have to stand up and save the earth from pollution. Followed by a song about how much he likes to drive his car.
 

My_Pilot

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I picked it up in a bookshop one day and read a few paragraphs and that was enough to put me off. I think he has turned into a bit of an eejit in his old age. I blame the ganja.

Example: that album he did where there was one song about how we have to stand up and save the earth from pollution. Followed by a song about how much he likes to drive his car.
Haha. He's an odd bloke alright.

I can't believe I'm going to (sort of) defend him here but he has invested quite a lot of his money over the last few years into developing a viable electric car. Also if he is to be believed he's given up the ganja in recent years (after years of reportedly caning it).

Next: I defend Pono.
 

My_Pilot

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Oh, that album *was* shit though. I'll give you that. Most of his recent stuff is quite weak.

Right I'm going to stop now as I have kind of hijacked this thread away from On The Beach and made it just a sort of "Random Neil Young chat" thread. For which I apologise*.



*i don't apologise
 

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