My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: Everybody Knows this is Nowhere was recorded in early 1969 and released in May of the same year. This is Young’s second solo album and the first with backing band Crazy Horse. Young has stated that he wrote the three most popular songs on the album, “Cinnamon Girl”, “Down By the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” when he had the flu and a fever of 103 degrees.
What I think: This is a sort of every other song kind of album for me. I’ve never been much into “Cinnamon Girl” with it’s classic, classic rock vibe, but the next track “Everybody Knows…” is a wonderfully loose song with it’s rat-a-tat snare and lovely backing vocals. Then comes “Round and Round” which is alright, but following that is “Down by the River” which is the gem of the album. I miss the classic murder ballads and this song brings that back. I love the guitar part (I’m not sure if it’s Young or Danny Whitten) that goes along with the traditional guitar solo that sounds like repeated plucking on really tight two inch strings. That to me makes this album and is heard again on the final opus named “Cowgirl in the Sand”.
One thing that struck me about this album where that Young’s vocals sounded like they faded at times, like he was turning away from the microphone causing them to be lost. It turns out, he sang all of the vocals through the board microphone which caused that effect.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I think this should be here, Young has such a unique sound which started here and still exists to this day. It should be celebrated as the real beginning of a great solo career.
Rating (Out of 5): 4
Amazon Review (Out of 5): 4.5
Is this my first time hearing this album? Yes (111/143)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 78%