Album Review: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Way Down In The Rust Bucket (Reprise)

Neil Young continues cranking out Archive releases at an astonishing pace ( I think another, titled Young Shakespeare, has just been let loose). But this 4-disc (on vinyl) takes time to get through, so here we are…Neil & The Horse, December, 1990.

You may ask yourself, “Do I really need another live Neil Young album?” “Haven’t I heard enough versions of Cinnamon Girl, Like A Hurricane and Cortez The Killer?”

That’s for you to decide.

As for me, I’m happy to listen in as Neil saddles up that palomino and takes Crazy Horse for a romp.

The scene is a tiny club in Southern California called The Catalyst. The time is November 13, 1990. Neil has just released Ragged Glory…his best in years at that point and he has booked a tour with Social Distortion and Sonic Youth on the undercard.

With those (then) young whippersnappers shaking things up, Neil convened Crazy Horse and a few close friends to see what kind of noise they could make.

The results are here.

19 songs, loud and sludgy as only Crazy Horse can sound…this is when Young became “the Godfather of Grudge”.

Neil YoungIn addition to the well-known songs mentioned earlier, there are plenty of lesser-heard goodies…Surfer Joe And Moe The Sleaze is an early fave. We can hear Ralph Molina (drums) and Billy Talbot (bass) lock into a groove while Neil and Frank Sampedro (guitars) clean out the cobwebs.

Those of us (overly) familiar with this band and these songs can hear the musicians finding their way, hitting their marks and laying down a groove.

Neil sounds in prime form and we barely hear the crowd (if there is one).

Other highlights include Don’t Cry No Tears, Homegrown and the glorious Mansion On The Hill.

The sound quality is warm and luscious…I highly recommend the vinyl pressing.

So, why would you want to spend time (and money) on this when we’ve already got the live Weld and Arc from the same tour?

While those other releases showcase Crazy Horse as stadium rockers, this is the sound of a bar band at the top of their game…reviving old favourites and working out new classics.

I was fortunate to catch Neil Young & Crazy Horse on this tour and loved watching the reaction of some of his die-hard fans as they were faced with Social Distortion and then Sonic Youth. Sonic Youth especially sent ticketholders streaming for the doors.

No doubt, that’s what Neil had in mind…turn it up and turn it loose, then its every man for himself. And that’s what you hear on Way Down In The Rust Bucket.

Marty Duda