When I heard the echoes of the choir I wondered whom they sung to Was it a present loving god Or fading ideals they still clung to Did they sing endless songs to joy Choral anthems of light, rebirth and flowers Were their voices raised to dogma Honoring and preserving structures of power Were they all just howling Like the night’s wolves seeking grace Were they drowning out their thoughts Of the things they would rather never face Or maybe the voices of the choir Include the sum of these things Voices of dreams hopes and desires Blended as the choir sings
There are phases to being a Neil Young fan. There are the giant songs you first hear. Helpless, Ohio, Old Man or Heart of Gold. These you could have heard of classic rock radio anytime during the last 40 years. That might draw you into CSNY or Harvest or After the Gold Rush beautiful folksy music that sounds as great today as it did when it sold millions of copies. That might lead you to the rest of the 70’s where he is trying to find meaning through his music, trying to account for a world filled with addiction, Vietnam, lost friends, and what fame at a certain level really is. These records are beautiful and an artistic peak, but also bleak and permeated with sadness. This brings you to the 1980’s where he experiments with different sounds and ideas. A mishmash of many things come to the forefront. Again he is a man attempting to find meaning in a world gone mad. Watch the movie he wrote, directed and starred in 1982 ‘Human Highway’ if you want to see a man trying to figure things out in real time. That brings me to his newly released live record from 1990 Way Down In The Rust Bucket recorded before the Ragged Glory tour as a warm up in Santa Clara. The record itself is a loose meandering affair consisting of songs mainly from the same time period. It isn’t what you would call a tight performance, but it sounds great in the disjointed way that only Crazy Horse can. In 1990 Neil Young and Crazy Horse had something that was often missing in the past. Joy. The performance isn’t confrontational or elegy. It is joyous. Sure there are songs of a darker tone like Cortez the Killer, but the man and the band sound like they have come out of the dark. I suppose that is why it is my favorite Neil Young period. I am grateful to have this live recording from it.
The art of the spider is patience Its venom is held in reserve For when the web breaks unbidden Or if the prey works up the nerve To resist that which nature intended To swerve from the course of its fate The spider’s unseen strength Is the will to sit and silently wait
Everything was unfortunate About midway through the day The hope you had earlier Didn’t have the wherewithal to stay Whether by genetics and chemistry Or too many drinks the night before Your staring straight ahead Trying to corral your thoughts once more
Your mind jumps from one thing to another Anger, then guilt, then loss Then hunger, then thirst, then nothing Then your past actions and their costs You dwell on it for a while What you did to harm others Words you could have said different At a significant point or time What you did to harm you Were you ignorant to your potential? Were those chances your prime?
Yet . . .
Your considerations are not the now They are not even the past They are a recreation That will drift by and not last
It is difficult to see this As the memory fragments Circle your mind The brain is fastidious in its efforts To create boundaries and bind
The things you owe to yourself Are both significant and unclear They are not gained by rumination They do not grow closer with fear
There is value in a quiet moment With eyes facing toward the now Today might not represent your soul’s meaning But it might just lead to the creation of the how