Tuesday, July 29, 2014

on the beach

Neil Young got real and turned away from the past with the honey slide murky blues of this shattered spooky seasick siren song.  In the wake of 'Harvest', Young was uncomfortable with success:   "['Heart of Gold'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 met more interesting people there ... Danny's death probably tripped it off. Danny Whitten. It happened right before the 'Time Fades Away' tour. He was supposed to be in the group. We [Ben Keith, steel guitar; Jack Nitzche, piano; Tim Drummond, bass; Kenny Buttrey, drums; and Young] were rehearsing with him and he just couldn't cut it. He couldn't remember anything. He was too out of it. Too far gone. I had to tell him to go back to L.A. "It's not happening, man. You're not together enough." He just said, "I've got nowhere else to go, man. How am I gonna tell my friends?" And he split. That night the coroner called me from L.A. and told me he'd ODed. That blew my mind. Fucking blew my mind. I loved Danny. I felt responsible. And from there, I had to go right out on this huge tour of huge arenas. I was very nervous and...insecure...I never finished ['Tonight's The Night']. I only had nine songs, so I set the whole thing aside and did 'On the Beach' instead...'On the Beach', probably one of the most depressing records I've ever made. I don't want to get down to the point where I can't even get up. I mean there's something to going down there and looking around, but I don't know about sticking around."

Recorded after the live catharsis of 'Time Fades Away' and the dark and personal 'Tonight's The Night',  'On The Beach' features Neil Young on guitar on vocals, Wurlitzer electric piano, banjo, and harmonica;   Ben Keith on slide guitar, vocals, steel guitar, Dobro, Wurlitzer electric piano, organ, hand drums, and bass;   Tim Drummond on bass and percussion;   Ralph Molina on drums, vocals, and hand drums;   with Billy Talbot on bass;  Levon Helm on drums;  Joe Yankee on harp and electric tambourine;  David Crosby on guitar;  Rick Danko on bass;  George Whitsell on guitar;  Graham Nash on Wurlitzer electric piano;  and Rusty Kershaw on slide guitar and fiddle.  The recording took place at Arrow Ranch in Woodside, California and Sunset Sound Recorders in Hollywood with Young co-producing with David Briggs, Mark Harman, and Al Schmitt.  

 'On The Beach' went to number forty-two in the UK, thirty-four in Australia, sixteen in the US, and thirteen in Canada.   For years, the album was out of print until thousands of fans signed an online petition to get it released on compact disk.  



 'On The Beach' 
full album:

1."Walk On" -- 2:42
2."See the Sky About to Rain" -- 5:02
3."Revolution Blues" -- 4:03
4."For the Turnstiles" -- 3:15
5."Vampire Blues" -- 4:14
Side two
1."On the Beach" -- 6:59
2."Motion Pictures" -- 4:23
3."Ambulance Blues" -- 8:56

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