Neil Young - On The Beach (1974)

Neil Young is a prolific Canadian singer-songwriter who has been releasing records since the 60s.

Neil Young had had a whirlwind few years in the early 70s. After the breakup of Buffalo Springfield, he had quickly recorded two solo albums, joined Crosby, Stills & Nash (and then left), and then released two more massively successful solo albums, the second of which (Harvest) had given him a #1 single and subsequently a huge new fan base. Then came a dark period in his life… he had recorded a ragged live document (Time Fades Away), followed by an even more ragged studio album (Tonight's The Night) which had been shelved by his record company.
His next studio album, On The Beach, is often referred to as the third and final instalment of the ‘Ditch Trilogy’. Recorded after but released before Tonight’s The Night, to the record-buying public it was his first studio release since Harvest, so expectations were high. Had he put his depression behind him? Was it going to be a return to chart success? The answer was… yes and no. Though it is undeniably a downbeat album (the second side in particular), there is a hint of optimism to be found in On The Beach, a signal that Young was moving forward. He wasn’t getting overwhelmed by despair, but bidding farewell to it. It signalled the conclusion of one chapter in his life and the start of another.
Personal issues aside, On The Beach is a fantastic record, and is often referred to as one of his best. The musicians backing him were a loose grouping of friends and colleagues, all playing a variety of instruments. The full list consists of Ben Keith (pedal steel/slide/dobro/bass/electric piano/organ/percussion), Tim Drummond (bass/percussion), Ralph Molina (drums/percussion), Billy Talbot (bass), Levon Helm (drums), Rick Danko (bass), David Crosby (guitar), Graham Nash (electric piano), George Whitsell (guitar) and Rusty Kershaw (slide guitar/fiddle). Though it was still characteristically raw and loose, it was more polished than Tonight’s The Night, and was so better received by his record company. It reached #16 on the album charts.
A year later Tonight’s The Night was finally released. Young had exorcised his demons and was ready to move on to pastures new.

Tonight's The Night (1973) <|> Zuma (1975)
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