Neil Young – Blue Note Cafe

neil young blue note cafeThe eighties have not been seen as the apex of Neil Young’s career. More like a deep valley. It is a release like Blue Note Café that really reminds us that it wasn’t all bleak. During his 1987-88 tour Neil Young’s shows were recorded. It happened over an eight month period and now is being released on this 3-CD package. On it we find a less serious and more goofy Neil Young. It all has a rather tongue in cheek feel to it. Like he meant for it to be as cheesy as it turned out being. On it you find shtick, loose instrumentation, flash and the man himself have a grand old time. That being said, after reading that last part you might be surprised when I say that this is a body of work in which much of it falls into the hard rock or working class music category. Proves that you can bring it hard and still have a jolly old time. The tracks in the shows fall into the more obscure category with only a precious few being familiar to anyone other than huge Neil Young fans. Even though you might not know the songs many are still classic examples of what makes the man and his music great. All this is enhanced by the fact that Neil and his band are incredibly tight. That includes the tracks in which the horns kick in and give things a rather rhythm and blues sound. I don’t think it is overstating things to say that Neil Young’s guitar playing has never sounded better than it does here. The grind it adds to the track “Ain’t It the Truth” is essential. While at other times, like on the lengthy “Ordinary People”, it is understated, but truly serves the purpose of the song.

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