Home Read Neil Young & Stray Gators | Tuscaloosa

Neil Young & Stray Gators | Tuscaloosa

This long-shelved live recording captures Shakey at his early ’70s peak.

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WHO ARE THEY? The notoriously mercurial singer-songwriter and his early ’70s Stray Gators band featuring pianist Jack Nitzsche, bassist Tim Drummond, drummer Kenny Buttrey and pedal steel/slide guitarist Ben Keith.

WHAT IS THIS? A long-shelved and thoroughly likeable live recording of a 1973 concert in Alabama during the Time Fades Away Tour — and for those keeping score at home, the fourth volume in Young’s Performance Series of archival releases.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Neil in peak form. The set list is peppered with hits like Harvest, Old Man, Heart of Gold and After the Gold Rush. The performance and production are superb. Young is even kind of chatty (at least for him) between songs. The only drawback: It doesn’t contain the entire show.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Everybody Knows This is Now Here.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? On a playlist with Time Fades Away.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Laid-back, casual, comfortable, roomy, warm, compelling, powerful, restrained, tasteful, unvarnished.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The hits are clearly the crowd-pleasers, but cuts like the crunchy two-stepper Time Fades Away, the slow-moving Don’t Be Denied and the pointed Alabama have plenty of bite.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Play that again.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? More often than you’ve listened to his last few studio albums.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A COLOUR, WHAT COLOUR WOULD IT BE? Dark brown. Or perhaps denim blue.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? It’s not like Neil needs the money or anything, but even so, it’s a keeper.