Today’s music video is See The Sky About To Rain from Canadian singer songwriter Neil Young.
This video was posted to You Tube by thewho9208
Thank heavens I have learned never to believe Music Critics and what they say about music and all the albums that are released. If I did, then I would probably only have one Neil Young Album, and that would be Harvest released in 1972.
When people ask me who my favourite singer songwriter is, I always reply without even a thought that it is Neil Young. When I do say that, people look at me as if I’m strange, and nearly always ask me how I could ever like that voice, oddly, because when asked if they could name a Neil Young song, not very many actually can name one.
I liked his music earlier than Harvest, but not that I would really have known, because he was just one part of Crosby Stills Nash and Young, and I liked their ‘stuff’, and after, when I checked back, the songs I really did like were the ones that Neil Young wrote.
I really sat up and took notice not with the first single released from Harvest, which was Heart Of Gold, which was his biggest hit, but when I first heard Old Man played on the radio. It was such a wonderful song. It was written in response to a time when Neil had started to become quite wealthy from his records and royalties. He moved away from the city and was living on a ranch. The caretaker was an older man, who seemed a little disgruntled that young people were starting to move onto ranches like this, sort of like the reverse Yuppy. Neil Young’s reply, in this song, was that, hang on old feller, aren’t I just a little like you when you were my age. Everything fitted in this song, well, for me anyway. I went out and purchased a copy of the album, and right from playing it that first time, I just loved every song on the album, most especially the title track, Harvest itself, perhaps one of the most poignant and touching songs to come out of the early 70’s, although I have never come across another person who has even heard the song, or, if so, remembers it, let alone likes it as much as I do. Lucky for me, I have this very private song which is my all time favourite that I think of as being all my own.
Every other song on the album I just loved, and if I was to tell the truth, his biggest hit, that song Heart Of Gold would probably rank as my least favourite song on that album.
After hearing this album, the following week in fact, I started getting hold of every album that had anything of Neil Young’s songs on them, all the CSNY albums, and even one of even the earlier Buffalo Springfield albums, the self titled double album of their most popular songs. As Harvest was only his 4th studio album, I only had to find three earlier solo albums.
Virtually everything he had done to that point in time I liked.
Then, as each new album was released, I got hold of them also, virtually on release day here in Australia, and I continued to like everything he did.
Today’s featured song is from the Album On The Beach, and herein lies a small quirk. This album was his first studio album after Harvest, and was eagerly awaited. In the interim between these two albums, Neil released two albums, a compilation and a Live album, and in fact recorded a third, an album that was not released until almost a year after this On The Beach album.
When I played this new album for the first time, again, I loved each of the songs, and in fact grew to like them even more over the years, but at that first playing, nothing had altered my opinion of his wonderful music.
I was a big fan of reading music newspapers and the one I used to purchase every copy of was Rolling Stone, in the days when it was printed in newspaper tabloid format, and on news print paper as well, not the glossy magazine format it is these days. Rolling Stone gave this new album probably one of the lowest reviews I had ever read for an album. I was actually certain they had got hold of the wrong album, as it differed so vastly from my opinion of it. Then, with each review I could find on the album, they all copied the Rolling Stone review, and all rated it poorly.
In fact, directly stemming from this one Rolling Stone review, I then treated every review for every album with disdain, and based my opinions on every album on just what I thought about them. It was a point in my record buying where I started to completely disregard what reviewers said. If I wanted the album I just went ahead and purchased it. I would still read the reviews, but in most cases, I disagreed with what the reviewer thought.
As it was, this album, On The Beach is probably my second favourite album of Neil’s. Well that’s probably not too difficult, as I could probably say that about any of my Neil Young albums. Harvest remains Number One and all else are equal second.
While most songs on the album I like, especially all three songs on Side Two, this song I have featured today was my original favourite on the album, and still remains so today.
The cover has some excellent art work also, probably on of the better covers of a Neil Young album.
This same song was also ‘covered’ by The Byrds on their 1973 Reunion album and The Byrds treated it in their usual way with their usual wonderful harmonies and their familiar symphony of acoustic guitars.
This album is one that actually changed my mind about music, not for the content of the album, which I loved, but it changed the way I thought about albums, based solely on that one review, and from that, I learned to trust my own opinion of the way I thought about music.