Sunday, November 06, 2011

Neil Young International Harvesters - A Treasure

Young has always had country influences in his music, which has ebbed and flowed as he changed styles throughout his career. This live CD, recorded in 1984/1985, shows this influence in full swing as he toured with the International Harvesters, veterans of the Nashville scene.

This set includes 5 previously unreleased songs, as well the utterly appropriate "Are You Ready for the Country" (not sure why that wasn't the opener) and Buffalo Springfield's "Flying on the Ground is Wrong" (sounding like it came from the Heart of Gold sessions). Some tunes are more "straight" country than others - such as "It Might Have Been" and "Bound for Glory" - and other sounds creep in, such as the blues of "Soul of a Woman" and the bluegrass-ish romp of "Get Back to the Country".

The real stand out is the astonishing "Grey Riders" which combines country and hard rock to make an incredibly powerful statement that you can't help but be drawn into. This is a mix of "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and Rust Never Sleeps. Wonderful and perfect and one of his best.

The musicianship is stellar throughout and Young's songs are strong as ever. If you only like Young's hard rock, then this is not for you, but if you appreciate his various personas, especially his acoustic/country side, then this is another bit of greatness.