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Classic Album Review: Neil Young | Road Rock, Vol. 1: Friends & Relatives

As always, Neil does whatever he wants on this honest and enthralling live outing.

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This album came out two decades ago. Here’s what I had to say about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


Aside from the fact that he may be the finest songwriter of his generation, you have to admire Neil Young for the simple fact that he does not give a damn what anybody thinks. Not you, not me, not the music biz, the media or the marketers — and certainly not the chick who keeps yelling for Like a Hurricane during his aptly subtitled new live album Road Rock, Vol. 1: Friends & Relatives.

Nope, ol’ sourpuss Neil just ignores her and carries on doing what he wants. If that means opening his show with an 18-minute post-grunge version of the 30-year-old song Cowgirl in the Sand, so be it. If he feels like playing a set of rootsy and blues oldies (Walk On from On the Beach, Words from Journey Through the Past, Motorcycle Mama and Peace of Mind from Comes a Time) and having his wife Pegi and sister Astrid sing backup vocals in a band that includes Duck Dunn, Jim Keltner and Spooner Oldham, that’s how it’s gonna be. If he wants to close with a tear-jerking version of Tonight’s the Night and a blistering duet of All Along the Watchtower with Chrissie Hynde, there’s no stopping him. And as long as he makes albums this honest and enthralling, who wants him to stop?