Early Daze

Early Daze

On the one hand, maybe there’s such a thing as too many Neil Young archival releases; on the other…is there? More so than Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, the recordings here capture the extremes of folk prettiness and rock ’n’ roll ugliness that made Young’s music with Crazy Horse so gnarly and ultimately influential. A “Winterlong” weak with heartache and a “Helpless” that trudges forward like a beggar at death’s door. A wild first take of “Down by the River” and an equally wild 14th of “Come On Baby Let’s Go Downtown” on which the band crosses from good and loose into bloodshot and a little unhinged. You can hear why he was considered both forbidding in his rawness and so eminently breakable in his vulnerability, and why he went back to this band over and over and over again: Who else could play with so little grace and make it sound so beautiful?

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