Bring on the Dancing Horses

Woke up late after a late night dvd session with ‘Studio 60’, does anything suggest JTO might be away in the quiet of the Vosges?  Good news from le Racing with victory 2-1 away at Troyes, the fourth  win on the trot, seeing them consolidating in the second, and promotion, place in Ligue 2.  Because of the subject of yesterdays post, the NATO summit, there will be a shortage of police next Friday so the match against the players of Ajaccio from the island of Corsica has been postponed to 17:00 on Sunday.  It’s going to be strange going to a match, and seeing all of it, in the daylight again.  Later I’ll be cleaning, eating and then watching the Tudors before completing Studio 60.

Whilst typing this I’m listening to Chrome Dreams.  A Neil Young album recorded in the seventies which was never released and a number of the songs appeared on other albums, Rust Never Sleeps, American Stars and Bars and others.  I do not usually download pirated music as I believe the author and artist of the work should get recompense for it.  This is an exception as it originally featured on Neil Young’s own blog.  Hat Tip to the excellent One Heck of a Guy for pointing me to it.  To quote from the site featuring the download, repeated by One Heck of a Guy:

Probably the best Neil Young album… Unfortunately Neil never released it. I found this particular gem on on his blog a couple of years ago. Now, you all know that his blog was deleted a lot of things are now lost to us and I feel that Chrome Dreams is something you just cannot miss.

Neil Young was on a creative high in 1975. By the end of the summer, Zuma was finished, though still not released.  Yet Neil carried on recording his new songs. Sometimes he recorded solo and sometimes with Crazy Horse. Lots of these songs would remain unheard by the public until quite a while later, but by late ‘75, Neil had already written and recorded versions of such future classics as Like A Hurricane, Powderfinger, Sedan Delivery, Pocahontas and Ride By Llama.

He carried on recording in 1976. More great songs were put down on tape, such as Will To Love, Stringman and Campaigner.  Some of us may feel that the Long May You Run album with Stephen Stills robbed us of the natural successor to Zuma, but Stills always suspected that Neil was holding back his best stuff for his solo album.

That solo album was a work in progress throughout this period. Titles were reported in the press: Ride My Llama, In My Neighborhood, American Stars ‘N Bars, Chrome Dreams. When American Stars ‘N Bars was released in 1977, Neil had scrapped most of the material he had been recording since late ‘75, replacing much of it with a series of rough hewn cowboy songs.

Fun stuff to be sure, but had Neil committed the latest in a series of difficult to explain career suicides? Who else, except maybe Bob Dylan, would sit on a stash of such quality songs and not let the public hear them?

What might have been….. leads us to..

Dress down Saturday

Last week saw us look at one of ‘The Crucial Three’, the second of whom, Ian McCulloch formed Echo and the Bunnymen.  The band were in their pomp at the same time as I was a student in Liverpool and I have warm memories of seeing them play home town concerts a number of times.  Echo came from the drum machine they used early on but by the time the first album, Crocodiles, was released it had been replaced by a real live drummer, Pete de Freitas.  This Rescue from it played at Sefton Park:

The next album, Heaven Up Here, features a track that has long been a favourite, here performed at the Albert all:

I had the poster of the next album, Porcupine, on my wall for a couple of years as a student.  It was released in my first year in Liverpool and featured a couple of hits including my favourite track from the album:

The next album, Ocean Rain, was considered to be their masterpiece, not least by the band themselves, and they have been playing it through in full on a number of occasions of late.  My favourite from the album, and probably from the band, Killing Moon, from the TV programme, The Tube, although a bit of a weak version compared to the full symphonic splendour of the track:

They released another eponymous album before splitting in 1988 and drummer Pete De Freitas died in a road accident in 1989.  The band refo0rmed in the late 90’s and have been touring and recording since to some critical and popular acclaim.

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