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February 21, 1980 - Image 5

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-02-21

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The Michigan Daily-Thursday, February 21, 1980-Page 5
REC ORDS

s.; By MARTINy LEDERMAN
All the votes are in now, and the con-
sensus seems to be unanimous concer-
ning the status of Neil Young as the
most important rock performer of the
past decade. He has been hailed as the
premier musical artist of the 70's by
}practically every major rock journal
(Village Voice, Boston Phoenix, Rolling
Stone, etea) as well as by the so-called
''straight" press (Time, NY Times,
etc.), and his recorded output as a
wvhole far eclipses the works of even

such acclaimed 70's heroes as
Springsteen and Jackson Browne.
Th reasons for this groundswell of
respct are that Young has has an in-
credibly consistent career (in terms of
uality), that has, at the same time,
eenin a state of constant change.
YOT DON'T have to believe in rock
criticism in order to appreciate the
scope and quality of Young's songs;
listening to his albums should be quite
enough. The man always takes chances
and always comes out a winner. His fir-
st eleven albums were all (with the ex-
eption of Harvest) unique, challenging
visions, and each one was a complete
,rnabout from its predecessor. The
ost recent example of this was the
surprise emergence of Rust Never
Sleeps, perhaps Neil's most serious
rocker,, immediately following his
" folkie" uprooting, Comes a Time.
Young has never been satisfied with
resting on past laurels; rather, he has
found satisfaction through change and
risk, with frequently spectacular
results. Each of his albums has been a
successful combin}ation of soul and pur-
*ose, and each has found a definite
place in his illustrious career.
Young's sense of .purpose is what
makes the release of Live Rust seem so,
well, so wrong. You see, this album has
no purpose. It doesn't seem to, at least.
Supposedly, Wainer Bros. forced Neill
to release it ,iuorder to follow up the

success of the Rust Never Sleeps
album-movie triumph. That would
seem to make sense, because there's no
way that Young would actually choose to
issue a live "greatest-hits" set,
especially after he had so thoughtfully
conceived and created the Rust Never
Sleeps concept as his rock 'n' -roll
odyssey. This project is quite anti-
climatic, and it tends to dissolve the
whole concept in a sea of overkill.
THE ALBUM is structured much like
the Rust Never Sleeps concerts from
which it was taken. It is a journey
through the past, taking us on a tour of
Young's stormy life as well as our own.
From the playful serenity of "Sugar
Mountain" and "I Am a Child" through
the reckless post-romanticism of "Like
a Hurricane" and "Tonight's the
Night," we are driven through a series
of crowded intersections, both real and
imagined. But unfortunately, what's
left out of Live Rust is more important
than what's included.
The first side corresponds to the
acoustic section of the show, the
"Youth" parable of innocence and
wonder. It is not nearly as intimate as
the original recordings of these songs
were, mainly because of the echoing ef-
feet of the 12-string guitar Young uses.
It was successfully used in concert to
convey the feeling of youthful sim-
plicity, but on record it only serves to
intrude on the wonderment.
THE MOST shocking error here is the
inexcusable omission of 'Thrasher,"
perhaps the most important song of the
entire show, if not of Young's career. It
was the key turning point in the
metamorphosis between "Sugan Moun-
tain" and adult responsibility. It em-
bodiesaall the key contrasts that make
the Rust concept so viable: youth vs.
aging; complacency vs. challenge;
stagnation vs. change; rust vs. growth.
More than ever, Live Rust seems to be
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no more than a hastily conceived
mistake..
Three sides of patented Neil
Young/Crazy Horse rock 'n' roll ensue,
and if nothing else, they are explosive.
With one minor but important excep-
tion, Crazy Horse has never before been
recorded live, and here they show why
they are so perfectly suited for Young.
No fancy stuff or "perfect" harmonies
here: this band is tight. "The Loner"
and "Sedan Delivery" are particularly
intense, as Crazy Horse carries Neil
beyond the original workings of these
songs, something that occurs all too in-
frequently on this album.
THE ONE SONG that had been
previously recorded by the band was

"Downtown" by the late Crazy Horse
guitarist Danny Whitten. It was a
major piece in the Rust tour, being sung
by Young for the first time since Whit-
ten's death by heroin, and it was sur-
prisingly left off the album. It came
right before the Woodstock rain-chant
(symbolizing the smack OD) and the
touching "Needle and the Damage
Done," where Neil "sings the song
because I love the man I know that
some of you don't understand." The
glaring omission of "Downtown" only
serves to downplay the chilling and
significant drug/death trauma in Neil's
life, so that most of the listeners ob-
viously can't, understand anything
about "Needle" other than the all too
common pleasure of hearing a
recognizable (and therefore "good"?
song. Surely "Downtown" could have
been included instead of the totally
anemic "Lotta Love".
Everyone I know seems to love side
four, but for me it's a failure.
"Hurricane" has an interesting vocal
echo, but the crucial third verse is omit-
See YOUNG'S, Page 7

lj~IVEI(SITY cMIUSICAL '&OCIETY presen t,
Kound ers Day oncerti.
SundayF. 2440
1AU 1t~r1111 {
"ISRAEL IN EGYPT"
* - An oratorio by George Frederick Handel
with
.The Festiv l Chorus
Donald Bryaat, Cond uctor

0
O

If you're the
leave ...

last one to

K

Turn Off

,

'4
I

H Ethe LNhts E I
HELP CONSERVE ENERGY!

Distinguished guest faculty soloists:

Carlotto Wlsen
Soprano
Rosemary Russell
Mezzo-sop rano

John McCollum
Tenor
Willis Patterson
Bass

and student soloists:
Gail Mitchell, soprano
Uzee Brown, Jr., baritone
with members of the University Symphony Orchestra
General admission at $3.00
Tickets at Burton Tower, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48109
Weekdays 9-4:30, Sat. 9-12. Phone (313) 665-3717
snis.W~

OH No! HE'S EATING AT
HNI FOLIK<'PLACE TONIGHT!

WHY DoEs Hr5
OT HR vAFT TILL.
aIriStR TN. TRY
ALL THESE W'/lRI)
\\1O1 WAYS WIT H
N HVER" RECIP S?

J

GOOD oL' POP!
H ALWAYS D
H AVxT!

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