Neil Young - Harvest (Vinyl)

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After the members of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young went their separate ways in 1970, Young recruited a group of country session musicians (which he christened The Stray Gators) and recorded a country rock record, Harvest. The record was a massive hit, producing a US number one single in "Heart of Gold". Other songs returned to some usual Young themes: "The Needle and the Damage Done" was a lament for great artists who had been addicted to heroin, including Crazy Horse bandmate Danny Whitten; "Alabama" was "an unblushing rehash of 'Southern Man'"; to which southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd wrote their 1973 hit "Sweet Home Alabama" in reply, stating "I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern Man don't need him around, anyhow". Young later wrote of "Alabama" in his autobiography Waging Heavy Peace, saying it "richly deserved the shot Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me with their great record. I don't like my words when I listen to it. They are accusatory and condescending, not fully thought out, and too easy to misconstrue." "Words (Between the Lines of Age)", the last song on the album, featured a lengthy guitar workout with the band. It has a typical Neil Young structure consisting of four chords during the multiple improvised solos. The song is also notable for alternating between a standard 4/4 time signature for verses and choruses and an unusual 11/8 (6/8+5/8) for interludes.

The album's success caught Young off guard and his first instinct was to back away from stardom. He would later write that the record "put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there."

According to a note posted on Young's official website on May 1, 2019, much of Harvest "was written about or for Carrie Snodgress, a wonderful actress and person and Zeke Young’s mother."

By: Don Revie

Good ol' Harvest, Neil Young's most successful album (in sales at least), becoming his first, and to date only number one album. Is it his best? No, I would take After the Gold Rush and others over Harvest, but it is still a great album. The main reason this isn't as good as the other Young classics from this era is that he decided to use an orchestra on two songs, "A Man Needs a Maid" and "There's a World". These are fine songs mind you, IF they had been done in the style of the rest of the songs on Harvest. Instead, he brings in an orchestra and pretty much ruins the songs that way. As a result, these songs are easily the worst here, all because of that orchestra...

But the rest of the album is fine, and that opening one-two of "Out on the Weekend" and the title track is excellent. Then there is the classic hit from here in "Heart of Gold", Young's only song to reach number 1 on the charts. An obvious classic, with Young's touching vocals and great lyrics.

On side two, there are the only two electric songs on the album in "Alabama" and "Words" (Between the Lines of Age). Both of the songs are great, but they are eclipsed by the incredible "Old Man" and "The Needle and the Damage Done" , which were released as a single. "Old Man" has become a Young standard, while "The Needle and the Damage Done" delivers one of Young's greatest and most poignant messages about heroin overdose, which would soon take the life of a bandmate and friend in Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten.

Harvest is a classic, and would be just as good as Young's other classics from the era if it weren't for that damn orchestra on those two tracks, which makes them feel out of place. At least the other songs are all of great quality, and lift this album over that one misstep. Grab this one, and once you get over the orchestra tracks, you have a great album on your hands.

By: Oldgutwithsticks92

A1 Out On The Weekend
A2 Harvest
A3 A Man Needs A Maid
A4 Heart Of Gold
A5 Are You Ready For The Country?
B1 Old Man
B2 There's A World
B3 Alabama
B4 The Needle And The Damage Done
B5 Words (Between The Lines Of Age)

Sticker on sleeve:
A Classic Neil Young Album
Mastered From The
Original Analog Master Tapes
Because Sound Matters
1-517934 (K1)

On the back:
Neil Young Archives
Official Release Series
Disc 04

Comes in a textured, gatefold sleeve and with a gatefold lyric sheet.