Live and reliable

 

In recent years Neil Young has been backed by such musical luminaries as Pearl Jam and Booker T & The M.G.'s, but fans will always consider Crazy Horse to be the only ones worthy to lick the Ol' Groaner's guitar strap. This double live CD captures the ageing dream team on their 1996 jaunt around the US and Europe, and it coincides with the Jim Jarmusch film/ docudrama, also entitled Year Of The Horse.

Live, Neil Young is a grizzled but reliable workhorse, and you can trust him to keep on churning out those distorted guitar riffs till the cows come home. There's no shortage of extended jams, with songs like Slipaway and Dangerbird running for 10 minutes and over. Sometimes, the whole thing sounds like one single, long jam session, but Young hardly seems phased at all as he cheekily announces: "They all sound the same - it's all one song!"

It's not all one song, of course - it's 12, and they include 1970s gems like When You Dance, Human Highway and Pocahontas, 1980s oddments like Mr Soul and When Your Lonely Heart Breaks and some choice cuts from recent years, such as Big Time, from the band's 1996 studio album, Broken Arrow. There's little here to distract from the rough-edged delivery of Young, Poncho Sampredo, Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina, and the only surprise is that Young didn't utilise the double-CD space to cram in a bunch more guitar solos.