Crazy Horse - At Crooked Lake (1972)

Crazy Horse is an American rock band best known for its association with Neil Young, who they have backed on numberous albums and tours since 1969.

At Crooked Lake was the second album Crazy Horse released in 1972, and also featured their second post-Danny Whitten lineup. Guitarist George Whitsell and keyboard player John Blanton had left, to be replaced by brothers Michael and Rick Curtis. This resulted in pretty much an entirely new band again, consisting of Rick Curtis (guitar/banjo/vocals), Greg Leroy (guitar/slide/vocals), Michael Curtis (keyboards/guitar/mandolin/vocals), Billy Talbot (bass) and Ralph Molina (drums). It was just the continuing presence of Talbot and Molina that kept the Crazy Horse name, as the album was essentially a debut from a new group. Their use of the name was probably a bad idea, as it would forever associate them with Danny Whitten and as Neil Young's backing group, when they probably had wanted to start afresh.
At Crooked Lake is actually a fine album, and vastly underrated. The new lineup gave them some quite diverse instrumentation, in particular some really tasty slide playing from Greg Leroy, and there are guest appearances from violinist Bobby Notkoff (a past bandmate of Talbot's and Molina's from their days as The Rockets) and pedal steel guitarist Pete Kleinow. Stylistically, it's a great mix of hard garage rock, country-rock, folk and psychedelia. There are a couple of songs in particular which are worthy of great praise, and show the potential this lineup had. It's a shame that they never recorded anything else, as after the death of Danny Whitten, Talbot and Molina effectively ended the group and let the Crazy Horse name go unused for years. They would return to work sporadically with Neil Young over the next few years, until they finally resurrected Crazy Horse with Frank Sampedro to record Young's 1975 Zuma album, and they remain in that incarnation today.

Loose (1972) <|> Crazy Moon (1978)
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