Sunday, March 05, 2006

Neil Young with Linda and/or Nicolette(1)Heart of Gold

I start series of reviews for albums or songs of Neil Young which Linda Ronstadt and/or Nicolette Larson are on back vocal. This first review is "Heart of Gold" in "Harvest".

Neil Young started very exciting year of 1970. He appeared at a venue with CS&N in a month, then next month at other place with Crazy Hoerse. Together with the release of "Deja Vu" of CSN&Y and start of 2nd tour of CSN&Y, Young seemed to be one of the most important rock musicians at that time. The release of his "After The Gold Rush" in August, 1970 also pushed him to higher position. But he was almost off in the latter half of 1970 because of his slipped disk. After appearance at Carnegie Hall on December 4-5, he started recording in Nashville with so called Stray Gators (Ben Keith-Steel Guitar,Kenny Buttrey-Drums, Tim Drummond-Bass, Jack Nitzche-Piano & Slide Guitar, John Harris-Piano on Harvest). We had to wait for "Harvest" for another 14 months until February 1972 because he couldn't play electric guitar due to his slipped disk. "Harvest" recorded biggest sales in the year, more than 2 million albums sold. "Heart of Gold" and "Old Man" were cut to singles. Actually "Heart of Gold" has been Young's only No.1 hit single in his over 30 years career. It is said that "Harvest" was not much better than "After the Gold Rush" because of no new thing and some weak songs even after 1 year and half absence". But now there should be no doubt that "Harvest" is one of most important albums in 1970s.

American people pre-ordered "Harvest" because they heard the single cut, "Heart of Gold" everyday on the radio. However I think this song is best in the album. The lyrics are simple with good melodies. Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor's harmony on the last chorus of the song are notable. One of my friends, Linda nerds, bought "Harvest" only because of Linda's harmony vocal on this album. To be honest, I bought LP of "Harvest" 2-3 years after its release, but it has been my all-time best album since then for alomost 30 years.

According to Numbers on The Site "The Neil Young Tour Statistcs", "Heart of Gold" has been performed 555 times since first debut on January 10, 1971 to latest data on August 17, 2005. "Cinnamon Girl" was performed 531 times from February 25, 1970 to October 30, 2005. "Like A Hurricane", 463 times from December 20, 1975 to May 14, 2004. I supposed that "Heart of Gold" was No.1 perfomed song, But, "Powder Finger", surprising 605 times! Young said in hand-written liner note in "Decade", "This song put me in the middle of the road. Travelling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I met more interesting people there." Was he bored? I don't think so. But Mr.Thrasher of Neil Young News says it wasn't performed from November 20, 1976 to January 10, 1983, for almost 7 years. He was surely bored!

By the way, Linda Ronstadt. Linda released "Linda Ronstadt" just 1 month before "Harvest". Further more Linda recorded "Birds" of Neil Young in his "After the Gold Rush", as might have been expected.

"Linda Ronstadt"
released January 1972
produced by John Boylan
Rock Me on the Water [Jackson Browne]
Crazy Arms [R Mooney- C Seals]
I Won't Be Hangin' Round [Eric Kaz]
I Still Miss Someone [Johnny Cash]
In My Reply [Livingston Taylor]
I Fall to Pieces [Hank Cochran- Harlan Howard]
Ramblin' 'Round [Woody Guthrie- Huddie Ledbetter- J Lomax]
Birds [Neil Young]
I Ain't Always Been Faithful [Eric Andersen]
Rescue Me [C Smith- R Miner]

Heart of Gold by Neil Young
I want to live,
I want to give
I've been a miner for a heart of gold.
It's these expressions I never give
That keep me searching for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

I've been to Hollywood
I've been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean for a heart of gold
I've been in my mind, it's such a fine line
That keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

Keep me searching for a heart of gold
You keep me searching for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
I've been a miner for a heart of gold.


Thrasher said...

Great blog!
Keep on Rockin' in the Free World!
Mr. Thrasher

firehills said...

Mr. Thrasher. It's a great pleasure to have a comment from you.