Neil Young & Crazy Horse released a new live album and concert film, Way Down in the Rust Bucket, this last week via Reprise Records. The release is part of Neil Young’s famed Archives, a long going project to release and catalogue Neil Young’s 50 plus years of music.
Way Down in the Rust Bucket was recorded in 1990, at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz, CA, in preparation for the 1991, Ragged Glory tour. It is considered Volume 11.5 of the Performance Series within the Neil Young Archives.
Neil Young is a cultural (and now American!) treasure whose music not only defined the county-folk-rock scene, but drug it out of the 60s and 70s, and to its new home in 2021. With that said, I think Neil Young with Crazy Horse is an acquired taste. I will always choose Neil Young’s work without Crazy Horse, preferring his more traditional folk-country roots to the jam-band vibe that comes with the collaboration; however, I know many Baby Boomers (my mama) who love Crazy Horse.
As a rule, I do not like live albums. I prefer clean recordings with great mixing. I want to believe this is the band’s intended perfect sound. Which makes it all the more great when you see a band live whose craft lives up to their album. However, I would say the generation that loves Neil running with the Horses also has a predilection for live albums. My assumption stems from the idea that live albums were the next best thing for many fans who could never dream of seeing their heroes live (again, my mother, living in small town, Wyoming). As a result, listening to a live album was an event in itself, of which I’m envious. I wish that more people still listened to albums in full and connected with the album’s story (I suppose people still do. If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re one of these people and that you also know the type of people whose music listening practices we all bemoan). With that said though, a live album is the equivalent of slapping your dick down on the table and asking other bands to measure up. You cannot depend on mixing. You cannot depend on the studio bassist that was hired to compensate for your Sid Vicious. You can only rely on your band, its tightness and your artistic statement to speak for itself. (And of course the amazing recording and sound engineers who make the album and clarity possible.) In a scene where more and more bands can’t hold their own and do more air-guitar and lip syncing than playing, it may be time for live albums to make a comeback.
If you have 2 1/2 hours to spare in your hectic lives, dim the lights, roll a joint, and attend the recording at The Catalyst. I’m certain my mama has already bought the film.
Way Down in the Rust Bucket track overview:
- ‘Country Home’ – Ragged Glory, 1990
- ‘Surfer Joe and Moe the Sleaze’ – Re-act-or, 1981
- ‘Love to Burn’ – Ragged Glory, 1990
- ‘Days that Used to Be’ – Ragged Glory, 1990
- ‘Bite the Bullet’ – American Stars ‘N Bars, 1977.
- ‘Cinnamon Girl’ – Everybody Know this is Nowhere, 1969; first album Neil Young recorded with Crazy Horse
- ‘Farmer Joe’ – Ragged Glory, 1990
- ‘Over and Over’ – Ragged Glory, 1990
- ‘Damage Bird’ – Zuma, 1975
- ‘Don’t Cry No Tears’ – Zuma, 1975
- ‘Sedan Darling’ – Rest Never Sleeps, 1979
- ‘Roll Another Number (For the Road)’ – Tonight’s the Night, 1979
- ‘Fuckin’ Up’ – Ragged Glory, 1990
- ‘T-Bone’ – Re-act-or, 1981
- ‘Homegrown’ – First released on American Stars ‘N Bars, 1977; recently released on Homegrown, another Archives album (and one of my favorites!)
- ‘Mansion on the Hill’ – Ragged Glory, 1990
- ‘Like a Hurricane’ – American Stars ‘N Bars, 1977
- ‘Love and Only Love’ – Ragged Glory, 1990
- ‘Cortez the Killer’ – Zuma, 1975
Find the album & concert film here.