Sunday, January 31, 2010

Album Review: Neil Young with Crazy Horse – Zuma

Zuma is seldom mentioned as one of Neil Young’s best, somewhat overshadowed by the likes of On The Beach and Tonight’s The Night. Released in 1975, it kicks off with Don’t Cry No Tears is a groove that Young and Crazy Horse made their own in the mid-seventies, and it lurches agreeably along in a vaguely countryish fashion. Danger Bird is a slower, more ponderous track featuring some superb guitar soloing in the mid section. It’s a bit like a dry run for Cortez the Killer. Pardon My Heart is for those lovers of acoustic Neil and is a fine example of this, Neil sings it in a restrained fashion, almost apologetic over an intricate acoustic guitar pattern.

Looking for a Love is a kind of poppy country song, and Barstool Blues is pleasingly messy, at one point Young can barely be bothered to sing properly and totally drops the melody for the line: ‘I might live a thousand years before I know what that muuuuhns (means)’. The aforementioned Cortez the Killer is the centrepiece of this album and it enters on some slow but seriously good guitar which lasts for the first 3 and a half minutes of this song before the vocals enter. This was a serious influence on Mark Kozelek, amongst others. The album ends with Through My Sails, recorded with Crosby, Stills and Nash which is a pleasant acoustic song with congas.