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Neil Young - Prairie Wind

  by Anthony Strutt

published: 22 / 1 / 2006

Neil Young - Prairie Wind
Label: Reprise Records
Format: CD


Immediately classic Neil Young album, which, recorded in Nashville after he suffered a near death experience with a brain aneurysm and also lost his father, finds him reflecting on mortality

This is Neil Young's third album to be recorded in Nashville. It follows on from 1972's 'Harvest',his biggest ever seller to date,and 1992's 'Harvest Moon', its sequel from 20 years later. It is again acoustic based and, like those two albums, was recorded at a time when Neil was very ill. This time he had a brain aneurysm, but Neil still went in and recorded what I think is one of his best records ever. My only criticism is that it is a bit slow and paced at the same level all the way through, which may bore the non members of his fan club but then you wouldn't be listening to it if you weren't already there. The CD is available as a double CD with a DVD. The album is rich in reflection and thoughts on mortality, but then Neil had suffered a near death experience and he has recently also lost his father Scott. The album starts with the first song written for the album, and its running order is pretty much the order it was written in. 'The Painter'is very gently played and is classic Neil Young. It is pure acoustic guitar heaven. It is stripped down to the essentials, but it has enough instrumentation to back the vocal track. This is the sort of stuff you either live your life to or hate! 'No Wonder' began life in the studio as just a melody. It has more of a rocking feel, but it is restrained with a husky vocal that only a man of Neil's years can master. Needless to say it exceeds all the competition. As Alan McGee once wrote "God bless Neil Young and all that sail with him." 'Fallin' Off the Face of the Earth' is gentle and delicate and shows a master at work. 'Far from Home' has a something of a funky mid 70's country vibe and is a strong storytelling family told tale with some cool harmonica playing. It is traditional Neil Young. 'It's a Dream' is piano led, a sad and sorrowful country style ballad with some brilliant string assistance. Neil has a brilliant way of describing even the most natural of things like a train leaving a station, and makes it sounds so interesting and fresh. The title track again has a 70's vibe, some acoustic guitar and is a tribute to Scott. 'Here for You' is as traditional as anything that appeared on 'Harvest'. It has some strong acoustic strumming and is as charming as a new young love affair. 'This Old Guitar' has one of the most original lyrics I have ever heard and is a love song for the guitar, and the player and instrument who travel together. It is complete genius. 'He Was the King' is Neil's tribute to Elvis.It finds him in old style country Yeah Ha territory. It is a head banging whisky filled night around a country barn. 'When God Made Me' closes the album and is a piano led number and very much Neil's answer to 'Let It Be' by the Fab Four, but it is even more religious. Another Neil Young album ! Another classic !

Track Listing:-
1 The Painter
2 No Wonder
3 Falling off of the Face of the Earth
4 Far from Home
5 It's a Dream
6 Prairie Wind
7 Here for You
8 This Old Guitar
9 He Was the King
10 When God Made Me

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