Neil Young: Bluenote Café

Live document of the end of Shakey’s experimental period.

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As with many of his peers, the 80s proved to be an unforgiving decade for Neil Young, and an infuriating one for his fans. Stylistically veering from electronic music through to rockabilly and back to country, Young then moved to turgid, horn-driven R&B, which is where this latest addition to the Archives Performance Series finds him.

Recorded in a variety of venues on the 1988 This Note’s For You tour and backed by the Bluenotes, this collection serves to remind why this is a less than fondly remembered era for Shakey.

As evidenced on Welcome To The Big Room, all too often Young sounds as if he’s playing a burlesque club, his voice straining against the backing.

Despite the inclusion of unreleased material and early versions of Crime In The City and Ordinary People, there’s little here to entice anyone but the hardcore fan. Still, his creative rebirth is coming next.

Julian Marszalek

Julian Marszalek is the former Reviews Editor of The Blues Magazine. He has written about music for Music365, Yahoo! Music, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME and Shindig! among many others. As the Deputy Online News Editor at Xfm he revealed exclusively that Nick Cave’s second novel was on the way. During his two-decade career, he’s interviewed the likes of Keith Richards, Jimmy Page and Ozzy Osbourne, and has been ranted at by John Lydon. He’s also in the select group of music journalists to have actually got on with Lou Reed. Marszalek taught music journalism at Middlesex University and co-ran the genre-fluid Stow Festival in Walthamstow for six years.