When I was growing up, the only thing that saved all my friends from becoming hip-hop aficionados (not that tragic) was Nirvana, and what saved me from being a Nirvana aficionado (more tragic) was this album. Now, Neil Young is my dad's favorite artist. Hands down, no contest. He is my favorite now, too. But for a while, growing up, I thought his voice was too 'weird.' How could a professional musician have a voice that was so uncool? Silly, stupid, young Nelson.

Like any good teenager, I LOVED the Seattle grunge scene. I wore flannel, played my music loud, I even bought Stone Temple Pilots records, not realizing back then that they were really faking it. When Pearl Jam made Mirrorball with Neil Young, calling him the godfather of grunge, worlds collided. Suddenly, my dad's love for Neil was more than just a quirky obsession - it was Eddie Vedder-approved!

So I went back into the Neil catalog, and of course, one of my first stops was Southern Man, the song that got Lynyrd Skynyrd's panties in a twist (...i hope Neil Young will remember...southern man don't need him 'round, anyhow...) Southern Man is actually an indictment of racism in the south; so, way to read the subtext, Skynyrd.

[ mp3 ]: Neil Young - Southern Man


Southern Man is pitch perfect Neil. I love the dirty guitar solo in the middle of the song. Neil was still years away from being the godfather of grunge, but that distinctive bite of his electric guitar simply blows this song up. To me, this has way more clout than any of Rage Against the Machine's polemic 'rapping.'

The beauty of this album, though, lies in the quieter tunes that surround Southern Man. My favorite is the title track, which deals with so many of Neil's lifelong tropes: mortality, friendship, and environmentalism.

[ mp3 ] Neil Young - After the Goldrush

If you notice, these tracks are a little more fuzzy than others you may have downloaded before. Just a few more skips, crackles, and pops. That's because my dad must of played the shit out this one. Do yourself a favor and do the same. You can't fug up an mp3.

12/10/2009 03:37:27 am

My vinyl copy of Gold Rush finally gave out last year and I haven't been able to bring myself to replace it. I feel like a pristine, clear sounding copy just isn't the same but at some point I'll have to take the plunge.

12/10/2009 03:43:47 am

On a related note: Neil and Ronnie Van Zandt later became close friends. In fact Powderfinger was written for Skynard.

12/10/2009 06:19:55 am

I did not know that about Powderfinger. I feel you on the replacement - especially for this era Neil. They sound so much better old fashioned style. Although, I'd be curious to hear the high-end remastered versions on that crazy 10disc DVD box set. Kinda gotta go to one extreme or the other!

1/17/2010 01:25:30 pm

I'm listening to it for the first time now, and I agree with you so far.


Leave a Reply.