Ramblin’ with Neil Young

I was listening to a podcast, today on my walk, of Marc Maron interviewing Neil Young. It was great hearing Neil again. Like an old friend you haven’t seen or heard from in years. And Neil is still Neil. Thank God. He continues to rail against corporate farming, Monsanto, and the pillaging and plundering of Mother Earth in general.

Give ’em hell, Neil!

Since I sat down here and began to write, I’ve been sweeping away at a dusty corner of my mind in an attempt to recall my first memory of Neil and/or his music. I’m pretty sure it would be from the CSN&Y album Deja Vu. That record came to me from the old Columbia Record Club, as did many other great records of that day.

Helpless was on Deja Vu and it remains near the top of my favorite tunes of Neil’s. A great song.

His After The Gold Rush album was back somewhere in that time frame, as well. Another good one. What lyrics on that title cut.

Please click here to read them.

Whew! Man! And the french horn on there!

Takes me back to 332 W. Glenn St. in Auburn and the fall of 1970. But I won’t bore you with  any nostalgic ramblings of my freshman year at Auburn again. Not right now at least.
It wasn’t until 2003 that I saw Neil in concert for the first time. I missed catching him in Tuscaloosa in 1973. Some friends of mine were going to make the trek over there from Auburn. I think this was the Harvest tour. I thought I had to study for mid-terms so I declined the invite. Dumb, as I flunked out anyway. And I didn’t do a whole lot of studying that week. For the most part I was amped up on speed and cannabis, and chain smoking cigarettes. I went from Tuesday to Friday without sleeping a wink.
I’ll leave it at that other than to say,  *WARNING! DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!*
Back to the first time I saw Neil. 2003. Bonnaroo. Neil closed the festivities that opening evening. And that set, that he and Crazy Horse did, sits at the very top of Bonnaroo shows that I’ve seen. I mean they rocked! In the free world as a matter-of-fact.
The second time Me & Paul saw Neil was later that summer at a Willie Nelson Picnic.This was in Willie’s back yard, literally, about 30 minutes outside of Austin in Spicewood, TX . That was a wonderful two days of music. A few of the other acts beside Neil and Willie? The Dead, Billy Joe Shaver, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Pat Green, Leon Russell (RIP), Billy Bob Thornton, and Los Lonely Boys.
That brings me to our last encounter with Neil in a live setting. It was at Radio City Music Hall in the spring of 2004. The day before Melodye’s birthday. March 18th. I think she turned 35 that year. Wink wink, nod nod, know what I mean?
Neil and Crazy Horse performed his Greendale album, all of it, as a stage play. They then did about another 1 1/2 hours of Crazy Horse music including Powderfinger (another favorite), Rockin’ In The Free World, Cortez the Killer, All Along The Watchtower, Cowgirl in the Sand, and a couple of others.
Yes ma’am!
The next night, on Mel’s birthday, and the following night we caught shows by the Allman Brothers Band at The Beacon Theater.
Friday morning followed the Thursday night Neil & Crazy Horse show. We were staying at the Hotel Le Parker Meridien about three blocks from Central Park, and about a five minute walk from the Museum of Modern Art. We did  them both.
The walk in Central Park was especially memorable as it began snowing before we departed our room and it evolved into one of those special moments. All of it was really. The entire three day trip. The time we spent at Strawberry Fields was a highlight. We miss you, John.
I better call it quits for today. Gotta shower, get the dogs, and our, dinner ready.
I am very, very fortunate. I feel the word blessed has become a bit cliche, but that is certainly the case with me and my dear running mate. Blessed beyond comprehension.  I cannot imagine any life other than the one we have spent together, thus far.
I say thus far, because we ain’t done yet. Not by a long shot.
Peace.