1001 Albums You Must Hear (and Blog about) Before You Die

My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die

991. Harvest – Neil Young

I’ve decided that if I need a break from going in the order of the book (chronological), I will open to a random album. That is the case here.

Brief Background: Harvest was recorded at four different studios as well as Royce Hall (The Needle and the Damage Done) through most of 1971. The album was released on Valentine’s Day of 1972. Harvest features the London Symphony Orchestra on “A Man Needs a Maid” and “There’s a World” Guest vocals on the album include James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt on “Heart of Gold” and “Old Man” as well as his former CSNY band mates on various other songs.

What I liked:  The wonderful twangy country rock the likes of “Out on the Weekend”, “Harvest” and especially “Heart of Gold” are what this album is about.  I especially love the pedal steel (Ben Keith) and slide guitar (Jack Nitzsche). The background vocals of Ronstadt are amazing on “Heart of Gold” as anyone who has heard the before knows. I am also very impressed with the performance of “The Needle and the Damage Done” as a live recording.

What I Didn’t Like:  What lowers the bar for Harvest is the various settings in which it was recorded. These different settings give some songs extremely different vibes. This is most apparent on “A Man Needs a Maid” and “There’s a World, which were recorded in England, with the London Symphony Orchestra. They seem out of place and lack that folky country rock feel of the other songs and to me they drag down my view of the album.

My Overall Thoughts: This album is far from perfect, but what is good is pretty amazing.

Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I agree that is should be there if even for the fact that forty years after it’s release it still has three classic rock staples in “Heart of Gold”, “Old Man” and “The Needle and the Damage Done”.

Rating (Out of 5): 4

Amazon Review (Out of 5):4.5

Is this my first time hearing this album? No (10/11)


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This entry was posted on December 7, 2013 by .

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