It is November 1976. Jimmy Carter has just been elected US president, the Vietnam war is finally in the rearview mirror and Neil Young has turned 31. Many feel he is at his peak, but his life is in turmoil after breaking up the previous year with longtime girlfriend, actor Carrie Snodgress.
His answer? Write songs, hit the road. So he tours with long-standing associates Crazy Horse. But for the first half of these US shows he performs solo. Fast forward 42 years, as part of his archives series, Songs for Judy revisits those moments in time.
There are 23 tracks, including one previously unreleased song, No One Seems to Know, a piano-based ballad on lessons learned. The rest will be familiar to even casual fans: Too Far Gone, Heart of Gold, White Line, Love Is a Rose, After the Gold Rush, Human Highway, Tell Me Why, The Needle and the Damage Done, ending with Sugar Mountain.
Most feature just guitar and voice. The performances are fresh and heartfelt and he strikes up a lively rapport with the audience.
In the current blizzard of baby-boomer rememberings, this collection has competition but carries real charm.