Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Colorado review – Powerful blast of private passion and public anger

Fri, Oct 25, 2019, 05:45

   
 

Album:
Colorado

Artist:
Neil Young and Crazy Horse

Label:
Reprise

Genre:
Rock

Fifty years ago Neil Young and his sometime band Crazy Horse released their first album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. Now this self-described “old white guy” – Young reaches 74 next month – again enlists two of the old crew in bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina, plus a new recruit but an old friend, guitarist Nils Lofgren, on sabbatical from the E Street Band, for what is a late-career highlight.

Fuelled, if you’ll pardon the expression, by environmental concerns and inspired by Young’s wife, actor Daryl Hannah, the album shifts between loud guitar and soft vocals, chugging rhythm section and warm harmony; classic “ragged rock’n’roll”, as Lofgren describes it.

Young is often at his best when he just allows his songs breathe in familiar arrangements with familiar players – the line from 1969 to 2019 is easy to recognise – though the meandering guitar of She Showed Me Love tests patience at 13 minutes plus.

While his lyrics can be open, awkward, even naive, they convey real emotional power when informed by private passion and public anger.

Highlights abound, with the softer Olden Days, Green Is Blue, Milky Way and Eternity shading it over the muscular Shut It Down and Help Me Lose My Mind.