50TH Anniversary of Neil Young Everybody Knows This Is No Where
By Harvey Kubernik © 2019
In January of 1969 Neil Young began recording his second solo album Everybody Knows This is Nowhere with Danny Whitten on guitar;
Billy Talbot, bass; and Ralph Molina, drums at Wally Heider’s recording studio on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood.
Young’s new trio had toiled as Danny and the Memories and then shape-shifted into the Rockets, who had done an LP on the White Whale label, pure grunge, a loud, sloppy guitar-driven outfit sounding like an open wound, whose backbeat listed like sailors on leave at Subic Bay.
Young saw the Rockets one night in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard at the Whisky a Go-Go, appropriated some group members and rechristened them as Crazy Horse. They became the blank canvas upon which Neil painted his visceral, unmediated masterworks.
It was a band only Neil Young could find common cause with, and he went to hell and back with them.
“Danny Whitten, from the day I met Crazy Horse and Neil Young at the Cellar Door in 1969, it was common knowledge, and Neil would be the first to tell you, that Danny was one of his early mentors and influences,” Nils Lofgren stressed to me in a 2014 interview. “Danny had that great deep ‘Bee Gees’ vibrato, with that California soul and lament.”
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere released on May 14 1969 on Reprise Records was the fruit of this idiosyncratic partnership. It’s a quaking dirge for two guitars, bass, drums and woeful voice. Only in 1969 could such a seeming downer become the signature sound of FM radio. Suddenly, Neil Young is the next voice of his generation, whiny and careless, all frayed edges and broken glass.
Rodney Bingenheimer, in his music column for GO “the world’s largest circulation of any pop weekly,” was the first to tout “Cinnamon Girl” in print, receiving a promotional test pressing courtesy of Pete Johnson at the Reprise label.
“Cinnamon Girl” from Young’s album was issued as a 45RPM, a different mix with Young’s vocal more prominent from the master take on his LP.
Everybody Knows This Is No Where was constantly in rotation on Southern California radio stations KPPC-FM, KMET-FM and KLOS-FM and then programmed across the US airwaves nearly reaching the Top 50 album chart.
“I don’t think there’s anything on it that I didn’t like,” Young told KMET-FM deejay B. Mitchell Reed in a 1973 radio interview. “I like it all. That’s when a change came over me. Right then I started trying to just do what I was doing, you know. Just trying to be real. Instead of fabricate something and show people where my head is at. I just wanted them to know where I was at. Since then I’ve just been striving to get it realer and realer on the record. As in more real. (laughs).”
I saw Buffalo Springfield twice in Southern California during 1966 and ’67 in Santa Monica and Hollywood, and a couple of early Neil Young and Crazy Horse concerts in 1969 and ’71.
In 2015 I wrote the book Neil Young Heart of Gold, now published in six foreign language editions.
To acknowledge the 50th anniversary of Everybody Knows This Is No Where this spring of 2019, I asked friends, musicians, poets and filmmakers during this century to remember the first incarnation of Young and Crazy Horse and a couple who heard Everybody Knows This is No Where before the rest of the world.
Denny Bruce: I was living with [arranger/producer] Jack Nitzsche from 1965-1968 at his house on Mulholland Drive. Neil liked Jeff Beck. For hours in Laurel Canyon he tried to get the ‘Jeff Beck’ sound out of his little Princeton Fender amp. He dug ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’ and the flip side ‘Talley Man.’
“Neil didn’t have a whole lot of records but he had the first Lonnie Mack album called The Wham of That Memphis Man! He knew every fuckin’ note of that LP and you’ll hear them in Neil Young soloing.
“Jack brought Neil to Mo Ostin for a solo deal and was supposed to produce his Reprise label debut. He produced a few tracks on the first Neil album and arranged a few things but really didn’t get to produce it all by himself as was the plan.
“I did attend Neil’s solo debut at The Troubadour. He was good at the Troubadour. Total solo. Mr. folkie. The audience enjoyed him and he took off from there.
“There was a place in Los Angeles in Larchmont Village, Saul Bettman’s Music. Nothing but vintage gear and vintage amps. ‘Do you have a Magnatone amp like Lonnie Mack?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘And would you like that Gibson Flying V guitar? I have one of those.’ ‘Give me both.’ Neil got an amp there in 1967 he later used on his album Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
“I didn’t see Neil for a while but Jack and I were invited to a session for Everybody Knows This is Nowhere.
“I had earlier played drums with Neil’s producer David Briggs with Simon Stokes on bass. We did Top 40 gigs. A singles place in Burbank in the Pickwick Entertainment area called The Never on Friday club. No married couples allowed and you had to prove you weren’t married. So I knew David before he knew Neil Young.
“We go back to the studio and Neil plays us ‘Down By the River’ or ‘Cowgirl In the Sand.’
“Danny Whitten, in the Crazy Horse sound equation, was the heart and the soul. Danny was an incredible rhythm guitarist. And his voice is featured on ‘Cinnamon Girl’ with Neil singing. You’re able to hear Danny’s high voice with balls and the bottom end warmth and then Neil’s bottom but still high pitch on top. But mixed well enough that you can’t tell it’s two guys singing.”
Peter Lewis: In 1966 we [Moby Grape] played with Buffalo Springfield at The Ark, a dry docked ferry boat with a slanted dance floor in Sausalito after they played the Fillmore. Skip (Spence) our drummer and Bruce (Palmer) Buffalo Springfield’s bassist were friends. The first thing I noticed was how good Stephen Stills was right away. We spent three or four hours together and I was alone with them for a while playing songs and listening to their songs. They had one good song after another. The caliber of the tunes.
“Sometime in 1969 I was at Wallichs Music City in Hollywood inside a listening booth, spinning Neil’s first solo LP and Skip Spence’s Oar album.
“I was driving around in my Volkswagen bus and this chick Lorraine pulls up next to me in a big Lincoln who eventually married Dave Mason. And I became a friend of his. I earlier met her in Hawaii when I went to see Rick Nelson play. She had gone to Westlake School for Girls and a band I had would play there.
“She had a house in Topanga Canyon. So Lorraine says, ‘Let’s go visit Neil Young.’ Moby Grape knew Neil and Buffalo Springfield from shows together and studios. We go to his house. I don’t know where the fuck it is. She rings the buzzer and says ‘it’s Peter Lewis’
“Neil answers. He opens the door and kind of peaks out. ‘Hey man! Come on up!’ Neil is with his wife Susan. He had just got married and was happy to see me. Neil played us the acetate of Everybody Knows This is No Where.
“I flipped out and told him, ‘You‘re gonna be a huge rock star!’ What I saw what was goin’ on with Neil at that moment, honest to God’s truth, is like a rivalry with Stephen Stills where he could never do what he really wanted to as long as he was in Buffalo Springfield.
“When Neil played it for me he had a big wooden chair he was sitting in. And he spun the acetate. It hadn’t been released yet. ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘Down By the River.’ I’m comparing it to his first record. And I told him what I thought about it. ‘This is just gonna make you a huge rock star, man. Because you finally got that sound that you were lookin’ for. It’s not Brian Hyland and it’s not Jack Nitzsche’s take on you. You did this.’
“Neil got guys that did what he told them to fuckin’ do. That’s what he wanted. Buffalo Springfield would not do that.”
Dr. James Cushing: I marvel at Neil Young’s career. His songs are so powerfully and simply constructed. They seem to have been discovered rather than written. His guitar playing has that marvelously rough-hewn rock out quality that nothing else quite has. Neil’s voice is unique. Even though he’s not a blues guy, the interiority and the momentum of his best music is everything what rock was designed to deliver. And his calm and beautiful folk songs are emotionally effecting on an almost pre-verbally deep level. He’s just like Bob Dylan and nothing like Bob Dylan.
“Then comes Neil’s Everybody Knows This is No Where, which is also very vulnerable and a masterpiece. Neil plucks a band from the Whisky a Go Go, the Rockets they had an album out on the White Whale label, the same company that brought you The Turtles and Dobie Grey. And they are Neil’s new recording partners.
“This is also an example of the fluidity or the artistic terrain that Hollywood, or in this case, West Hollywood of 1969 can provide. Neil can survive a band break up, get a solo deal, and then find another band to appropriate or record and eventually tour with.
“It’s the album, owing partially to local and national airplay that did not happen very much with his debut LP, where we all became lifelong Neil Young fans. What happens on that record is that the promise of all those tunes on the Buffalo Springfield albums and the best tunes on his first solo album, the promise of all that is fulfilled in terms of a coherent full length statement. ‘This is who I am. This is what I do. Here I am. My restaurant is now open. Taste my meat so we can sit and eat.’
“‘Cinnamon Girl.’ First person observations about how music is made in a club situation. He comments on the drummer relaxing waiting between shows at a booking. Nothing in the song prepares you for that. Circumstance. It’s a purely surreal touch. He’s bringing us into circumstance with the same kind of dream logic. The character of the dreamer appears in ‘Cinnamon Girl.’ So instead of doing a song that the Rolling Stones did, Neil does a Stones’ song that they didn’t do. ‘Cinnamon Girl’ is one of the greatest songs that the Rolling Stones never wrote.
“‘Down By The River’ is his answer to ‘Hey Joe.’ It’s from Joe’s point of view. It’s John Ford and Howard Hawks directing a pop song. I feel it in connection with a western re-telling of a classic murder ballad kind of thing that goes all the way back to the 16th century. ‘Tom Dooley,’ ‘Man of Constant Sorrow.’ ‘Hey Joe,’ which is a murder ballad. All of these murder ballads are confessions by a stunned and emotionally over-whelmed man who realizes he has murdered the one that he loves. And emotionally destroyed by it.
‘“Cowgirl in the Sand’ is not a murder ballad. It’s a kind of prayer to a goddess and the terms of the prayer are being discovered as its being offered. But I might be the wrong gender to fully answer the question.
“In ‘Hey Joe’ it’s a third person thing. But in ‘Down By The River’ there is the sense that the emotional issues in the song are in some way being worked out by the guitar jams. Danny Whitten and Neil Young playing together. There is something about the way that feels that it’s being worked out.
“It is not in any way an excuse to show virtuoso playing. As in the Allman Brothers or Dereck and the Dominoes, Cream or Mahavishnu Orchestra. It’s not interested in impressing you how amazingly well they can play. It’s interested in tracing musically moment by moment emotional experiences. I know it was recorded after Neil and the new players weren’t together very long, maybe a week or two. So there was some purely intuitive thing that was going on there.
“You could make an argument that this record, and ‘Cow Girl in the Sand,’ remains the essential Neil Young sound. Although one could make an argument for The Stray Gators.
“We also realize with this second Neil solo album our boy Neil’s guitar playing is not based at all on anything to do with Hank Marvin and the Shadows. He’s playing aggressive but it’s not virtuoso. There’s no Alvin Leeisms, there’s no Jimmy Page re-runs, no Jimi Hendrix gestures, no Claptonisms, no flurry of notes to show you that he can play a flurry of notes. The soloing is very melodic. It’s though as if he was writing new lyrics but each word is a note.
“I think Neil Young’s lead guitar is based more on a speaking voice than it is on guitar music. His voice is succinct. You can pick it up right away. And some people describe it with words like plaintive, whiny, and melancholy or depressed. I don’t hear it that way. I hear a lot more range in it.”
Jim Jarmusch: I’ve always been a big fan since I was a kid and first heard the song ‘Broken Arrow,’ by Buffalo Springfield. He’s a real poet, but not in an extravagant way. I mean, he uses very common language, but it becomes poetic in the economy. Things are never over-explained.
“After that, the next thing that went right into me was the first Crazy Horse record, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere. I’ve always been a big fan of Neil, particularly with Crazy Horse. I’m a rock ‘n’ roller, so I never liked Crosby, Stills and Nash, for example. It’s too sweet and light, and it doesn’t speak to me. I don’t respond to that stuff. So, I was always a fan of the Horse.
“Crazy Horse tends to be overshadowed by Neil, not by his own design, but that’s just the way it is. One aspect of Year of the Horse was to make those guys known as people a little bit, so we understand them as a band, and not just as Neil Young’s backup, side musicians.”
Richard Bosworth: As 1968 turned to 1969 I was seventeen years old and in my senior year of high school. I’d played guitar, bass guitar and keyboards in several bands. 1968/1969 were the peak years for the band Jennifer’s Friends. We released four singles on Buddah Records and one ‘Land of Make Believe,’ written by Harry Vanda and George Young of The Easybeats, got some radio airplay in the mid-west.
“On Friday May 2, 1969, on our way home from a gig in Bridgeport Connecticut we stopped by The Stone Ballon, a new music club underneath Pegnataro’s Super Market in downtown New Haven to firm up a gig for the following week. The Stone Ballon was open little more than a year in 1968/1969 but an amazing number of rock, blues, jazz, folk and soul acts that were about to break performed a Thursday thru Sunday two show a night engagement. Jethro Tull, Joni Mitchell, J. Giles Band, B.B. King, Albert King, Taj Mahal.
“Arriving there the booker walked us through the club to the dressing room while John Hammond Jr. was onstage performing. We were told we would be opening for Neil Young and that he had been lead guitarist for Buffalo Springfield. We were aware of the group as ‘For What’s it’s Worth’ had been a hit on the east coast and there had been article in Eye magazine with a photo of Stephan Stills stating that he was lead guitarist for Buffalo Springfield. None of us had heard of Neil Young. His name was actually mis-spelled on a poster for the engagement as ‘Neal Young!’
“The following Thursday May eighth the club manager said Neil and band were flying into Hartford from California and the plane was late and we might have to do two sets. There were only a dozen people in the audience while we did our first set. We took a break and backstage in the dressing room the club manager asked us to do another set as Neil still hadn’t arrived. We were getting ready to perform again when the club manager came back to tell us they were here.
“A moment later Neil walked in. He had this glowing aura. Talent and greatness just seemed to be pouring off of him. I hadn’t heard a note of his music, but I just felt an overwhelming certainty that this guy was going to be as significant as The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. He said hello to everyone, was very warm and friendly. The band filtered in behind him, one blond and two dark swarthy guys, all real quiet. Neil was talkative, taking out his guitars and letting us check them out. He handed me his orange Gretsch 6120 which I strummed on for a moment, not knowing that it was his primary guitar in Buffalo Springfield.
“At one point he asked a couple of us if we thought it would be cool to do a few songs acoustically before bringing up the band. I remember thinking it was an odd idea as it was all about bands in those days. Neil was so nice though, we were encouraging about it. He went outside the club by himself for about ten minutes before he went on. That seemed different, like he took it seriously and would want some solitary time to psyche himself up to perform. He went on with his Martin D-28 guitar and opened up with ‘On The Way Home’ from the last Springfield album. Playing songs acoustically suddenly seemed like a brilliant idea. Neil had a very stoned stage persona, unlike how he had been backstage. He did several songs from what I later learned were on his first solo album. He was engaging with the small audience, asking for requests.
“Someone called for ‘Last Trip To Tulsa’ and Neil laughed and said ‘Aw that’s too long, I think I only ever played that once when it was recorded.’ There was a request for ‘For What’s It’s Worth’ and he laughed again. ‘No man, I can’t do that one, I only know how to play my guitar part on that.’ He took a break after playing six songs and then he and his band and a crew person set up for the electric stuff. It took a long time, they were not just going to plug in and start playing.
“They worked on individual sounds of instruments, checked vocal mic’s carefully. Really meticulous. Neil had a old black Les Paul with a bigsby vibrato bar. The other guitarist was playing Neil’s Gretsch 6120. The guitar amps were all old Fender tweeds and blonde Fender Bassmans, unlike the Marshall amps of the day. Finally they seemed to be ready and everyone left the stage for the dressing room.
“A moment later Neil walked out to applause from the audience and said to the room at large, ‘No, not yet’ and went outside the club by himself again for another ten minutes or so. The first song was ‘Cinnamon Girl.’ Neil’s guitar sound had this ultra-distortion. Super loud and stunning.
“He introduced the band as Crazy Horse and told us they would be playing songs from a new album they had just recorded Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and launched into that title track. Before the next song Neil introduced guitarist Danny Whitten, stating that he’d heard Danny writing a song and it was good so he felt he better get in on a good thing and co-write it. They tore into ‘Downtown,’ then ‘Down By the River’ with the three part harmony vocals on the chorus and Neil’s single note machine gun guitar riff, the extended solo sections. ‘The Losing End’ was the penultimate song of the set.
“Neil began the deceivingly soft intro to ‘Cowgirl In the Sand.’ It was another epic with extended guitar solos. If anything the solos were even longer than what would be released on the album. Neil’s playing was unlike anyone else. The raw sound, the improvisational quality was the way Miles Davis or John Coltrane would solo.
“After our second show set it was decided that since there were only about seven paying customers in the place on that late Thursday night, Neil would just do an acoustic set to end the evening, He did his usual walk outside by himself before performing. Crazy Horse and our group were sitting out in the audience and after playing five songs or so Neil says to Crazy Horse ‘Hey, I can tell you guys want to play, don’t you?’ Neil said ‘Well what do you want to play?’ In unison they replied ‘Down By The River’ which they performed to end the evening.
“I couldn’t sleep at all that night because ‘Down By The River’ was running through my brain and I was excited about the possibilities of spending three more days hanging with Neil Young & Crazy Horse.
“The next morning at school I told my musically inclined friends about Neil Young, strongly suggesting that they check him out. Some would be there that evening although a few had tickets to the Jeff Beck Group concert at nearby Yale’s Woolsey Hall. All through the day songs from the soon to be released Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere album were running through my mind. Attendance was better at Friday night’s shows. After our first show set Neil began acoustically and again exhibited a humorous and stoned persona. He told a few funny stories, thanked the audience for coming to his show instead of the Jeff Beck concert mentioning that he was a big fan of Beck.
“After a short break he came back with Crazy Horse and opened with ‘Cinnamon Girl,’ following with the rest of songs in sequence from their upcoming album release, ending the set with ‘Cowgirl In the Sand.’ I already loved these songs like Beatle songs. ‘Down By The River’ was a masterpiece and one could tell Neil and the band were aware of it.
“Backstage between shows Neil and Crazy Horse were warm and friendly. Danny Whitten opened am attaché case and all it held were pint bottles of liquor. He took a swig and asked ‘Anybody want a drink?’
“Neil at one point was strumming a guitar by himself while a friend and I were having a discussion about our imminent senior graduation dinner the following month. Neil said ‘What are you guys talking about?’ I explained it was my responsibility to book a band for the event. He asked ‘What does it pay?’ I replied ‘$250.00.’ He went ‘Um. That’s what I’m getting a night for this gig. Maybe I’ll play your senior grad dinner.’
“By the time of Saturdays shows word had gotten out around town that Neil Young and Crazy Horse were happening and The Stone Balloon was packed that night. We did our usual alternating sets with Neil solo followed by him and the band. Even after hearing them for three days in succession they still sounded fresh and exciting. One could tell that Neil Young and Crazy Horse were thrilled to play their new materiel.
“Suddenly Sunday night Stephan Stills shows up. He was with a dark haired guy who turned out to be Dallas Taylor. Backstage between shows Stills was cocky and confident. He and Neil seemed happy to see each other.
“I asked Stephan what he was doing now after Buffalo Springfield. ‘I’ve just recorded a new album with David Crosby of The Byrds and Graham Nash of The Hollies but we don’t know what we’re going to call it’ was his reply.
“Stills told Neil he had just been at dinner with Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records and Ahmet told him about Neil’s New Haven gigs, suggesting Stephan drop by to talk. We all know now what Ahmet wanted those two to talk about.
“At the end of Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s final set of the four day engagement Neil brought up Stills and Dallas Taylor took over the drums. To end the evening Stills and Young proceeded to trade fiery guitar licks like they had in Buffalo Springfield and soon would again in some new unnamed group in the future.
“Monday morning, back at school, I was still thrilled by the entire previous four days of shows. I was absolutely certain that in Neil Young, I had met and experienced someone who was going to be a major star. Stephan Stills also gave off that vibe. I’d never run across anyone who had the charisma, talent and greatness that emanated from Neil.
“Many of my friends had been to the shows and I was shocked when half of them vehemently hated Neil Young. ‘He’s the worst guitar player I’ve ever seen,’ ‘I despise his singing,’ and ‘No way is Neil Young going to be successful’ was the assessment from that camp. The other half of us thought he was one of the greatest guitarists and songwriters we ever seen and heard, his singing voice was just fine by us and that Neil Young was bound for glory.
“In May of 1969 virtually no one knew of Neil Young or Stephan Stills. In August of 1969 at the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival, which I attended, one of the headliners Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young were considered to be the American Beatles.”
Bill Mumy: My friends and I absolutely worshiped Buffalo Springfield. My very first band, Energy, played ‘Mr. Soul’ at our 9th grade school ‘Hi Day’ assembly. Twice. The Springfield played our Hamilton High School. It was legendary.
“We were somewhat shattered when they broke up.
“But soon, the fragments of that band appeared in new formations and they were very impressive, indeed. Stephen Stills played great on the Super Session LP. Personally, I really loved Poco. I attended most all their local Los Angeles gigs. What energy! What harmonies. Rusty Young was incredible. They made you smile.
“Everyone I knew truly loved Neil Young’s first solo album. The first pressing may have under-mixed his lead vocals a bit, but the songs were great and the arrangements and production were top notch. It was a very ambitious solo debut. We studied it. We learned all those songs and played them constantly.
“We went to the Troubadour to see Neil play solo acoustic shows and he was superb.
“And then in May of 1969, there was Crosby, Stills & Nash. Beyond amazing.
“Maybe Buffalo Springfield breaking up wasn’t such a bad thing.
“So, we were definitely there in March of 1969 when Neil first played the Troubadour with a brand new band, Crazy Horse. Cool name. As usual, we sat ourselves in the first row of the upstairs balcony next to the sound booth. You not only had the best mix there, but you could see everyone onstage and all their gear clearly and if you paid attention, you could see what chords and positions the guitarists were playing. Plus the band walked right by you heading downstairs to the stage and coming back up after the sets and you felt really connected to the artists.
“Neil Young and Crazy Horse were fucking insanely loud! I’ve never heard a louder band at the Troubadour before or since. Danny Whitten was stage right playing a Gretsch and Neil played his now famous Les Paul, ‘Old Black’ although it didn’t look very old at all back then, even though it had existed for about a decade.
“They played most all of the Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere album and then some. In a room of that size, it had tremendous power. The harmonies were good. But not Poco good and certainly not Crosby, Stills & Nash good. The grooves were strong but not very tight. The amazing R&B bass lines and funky drum parts that Bruce Palmer and Dewey Martin had provided for Buffalo Springfield were definitely not there. In their place was the somewhat sloppy and very simple but very hard hitting rhythm section of Billy Talbot on bass and Ralph Molina on drums.
“I can recall it taking a bit of time to really ‘get’ me. Maybe three songs. And then we all understood. This was something entirely different and it wasn’t going to sound anything like Buffalo Springfield or any of its offshoots. This was a band making raw, grungy, loose and pretty simple rock n roll.
This was a garage band starring Neil Young blowing your ears out at the Troubadour!
“The songs weren’t in any way harkening back to or similar to ‘Broken Arrow’ or ‘The Old Laughing Lady’ or ‘On The Way Home.’ Those were complex compositions with noteworthy arrangements. These new tunes, ‘Cinnamon Girl,’ ‘Down By The River,’ ‘Cowgirl in the Sand,’ etc., were kick ass two guitars, bass and drums rock and roll that were pretty easy to learn and pretty easy to play.
“But these songs, like the ringing in our ears, stayed with us.
“My old band Redwood rarely performed cover songs, but we added ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere’ to our stage repertoire shortly after the album of the same name was released in the summer of 1969 and it stayed in our sets off and on for five years. Redwood came in second at the 1969 Venice Battle of the Bands after performing an acoustic arrangement of ‘Down By the River.’
“So, thanks Neil. Thanks Billy, Ralph & Danny.
“Hey Hey My My”
Laurel Canyon, CA.
Greg Franco: I can easily pass by Wally Heider’s old joint. I don’t have to go far from my house in Mt. Washington and get to Hollywood. It’s funny to think that this studio made so many great records, for instance the debut Crosby, Stills & Nash LP and Tom Waits’ first two albums.
“When you listen to it now, yes made 50 years ago, it has innovation controlled screaming guitars right down to some beautiful acoustic moments and Neil’s lilting ugly nasal cooing voice. It has balance and a beauty, though it is definitely a studio album, has a room feel that lives on a forever vibe.
“I love his voice. Yet I have a dear friend, and we all do, who can’t listen to a note of his voice, but I always find the lyrics and the delivery delightful and of course so damn unique.
“The pairing of Danny Whitten as the steady foil and killer band Crazy Horse who are indeed the foundation builders and craftsmen, also do the plumbing, lighting and art hanging.
“It evokes pastoral scenes of thick rich California laid back vibe, with heavy desert death, and rebirth. All made in some enchanted box, with producer David Briggs bending microphones. It doesn’t sound like a Hollywood Record, but it really is. Cut at Sunset and Cahuenga with a drink at the Frolic Room and Mexican food at Lucy’s El Adobe Café.
“It’s good and loud anyway, at least on my stereo. ‘Down By the River,’ ‘Cinnamon Girl,’ ‘Cowgirl in the Sand. Always intense classic Neil Young. Bathroom break songs for deejays at times, great to hear on the compressed FM radio driving on the Ventura Freeway.
“I found out about this record not until my early 20’s. I wasn’t old enough to remember exactly where I was when it came out. I was like 3 years old.
“So with the time-line of me just starting to go see the Pixies live, pre grunge era, say 1988, that I got a very heavy dose of Americana or Canadia if you will. I discovered Joni at that time.
“I was 22, for me after the punk-new wave, post punk era, Gang of Four, Wire, Husker Du, Pere Ubu, that was tattooed onto my soul, I really began delving into things like Big Star and Velvet Underground, even the Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Moby Grape, Louvin Brothers, Richard Thompson, early Pink Floyd and Nick Drake. All have influenced or informed my bands Rough Church and Man’s Body.
“It was during my first acid trips to Big Sur, and hanging with some hippie folks there and in Humboldt, California and Ashland Oregon when I finally fell into Neil Young land, and other environs, starting with buying a current record Freedom on vinyl. I eventually just splurged and bought everything else, having to ‘catch up.’ It was funny that I finally caught up to the vibe far away from my home, where it was made.
“I admire him. He’s more than an old rock star, and he sure didn’t stay in Nowhere.
“What holds up is that no matter what anyone thinks, he always manages to make the record he intends to make at any given moment, while most of us have a hard time deciding if we want butter on our bread, or add cream in our coffee.
“How many records has he made? This is just one, he made 50 years ago, so he endures and that as a matter of fact is what I want to do as an artist. Endure like the Neil.”
Harvey Kubernik is an award winning author of 15 books. Palazzo Editions commissioned Kubernik’s music and recording study illustrated history book, Neil Young Heart of Gold which was published in November, 2015, by Hal Leonard (US), Omnibus Press (UK), Monte Publishing (Canada) and Hardie Grant (Australia), that coincided with Young’s 70th birthday. A German edition was also published for May, 2016.
His literary and music anthology Inside Cave Hollywood: The Harvey Kubernik Music InnerViews and InterViews Collection Vol. 1, was published in December 2017, by Cave Hollywood. Kubernik’s The Doors Summer’s Gone was published by Other World Cottage Industries in February 2018.
During November 2018, Sterling/Barnes and Noble published Kubernik’s The Story of The Band From Big Pink to the Last Waltz.
Harvey and brother Kenneth Kubernik co-authored the highly regarded A Perfect Haze: The Illustrated History of the Monterey International Pop Festival, published in 2011 by Santa Monica Press.
This century Harvey penned the liner note booklets to the CD re-releases of Carole King’s Tapestry, Elvis Presley The ’68 Comeback Special, The Ramones’ End of the Century and Allen Ginsberg’s Kaddish.
Kubernik’s writings have been printed in several book anthologies, including The Rolling Stone Book of the Beats and Drinking with Bukowski. He is the project coordinator of the recording set The Jack Kerouac Collection.
In November 2006, Harvey Kubernik was a featured speaker discussing audiotape preservation and archiving at special hearings called by The Library of Congress and held in Hollywood, California. Harvey’s literary and musical expeditions are displayed on Kubernik’s Korner at www.otherworldcottageindustries.com.