Friday, December 15, 2006

In House #1766: Land Sound Record #4- Neil Young's Harvest

Lest we should forget what came before, today we exhume a semi-regular feature: Land Sound Records. The gist is a revisiting of watershed releases, hopefully either reigniting a desire to listen to, or uncovering for the first time, essential releases of days gone by. Or, aside from all of the important-speak: really good albums you should own.

Land Sound Record #4: Neil Young's Harvest

Release Date: February, 1972
Label: Reprise

If his previous work as a member of both Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and his three previous efforts (with and without Crazy Horse) hadn't already done so, Neil Young's 1972 release Harvest announced, without a doubt, the arrival of a formidable talent. Backed by the legendary Stray Gators, Young established the country yin to his more rock n' roll yang with americana nods like "Out On the Weekend," and his biggest hit "Heart of Gold,"-- a division that would become well known in his music over the thirty years or so that followed. Indeed, the likes of "Cinnamon Girl," or "Cowgirl In the Sand," are not to be found on Harvest, which finds its most rocking moments, ironically enough, in the song that seems to announce Young's move toward a rootsier sound, "Are You Ready For the Country?" It's not difficult, in fact, to see this album and it's predecessor, After the Goldrush, as forefathers of the alt-country movement, if not the first releases in the genre. That having been said, the scope of sound is wide here, with songs backed by piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and the London Symphony Orchestra, respectively. Young also got plenty of outside help aside from the Stray Gators, including James Taylor on banjo and guitar, and Linda Ronstadt, Stephen Stills, David Crosby, and Graham Nash all contributing backing vocals. While critics have always seemed hung-up on its "overwrought orchestral moments," found presumably in "A Man Needs a Maid," and "Words (Between the Lines of Age)," Harvest is a rare example of mass appeal and creative genius (it was the number one selling album of 1972), an undeniable classic that continues to give back.

(MP3)"Are You Ready for the Country?"
(MP3)"Out On the Weekend"
(MP3)"Old Man"

In House #1766.
Airdate: 12/15/06
Focus: The return of our Land Sound Records series, featuring Neil Young's Harvest. Plus new music from Anais Mitchell, Tom Brosseau, and more.



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