Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Neil Young: "Dreamin' Man Live '92" (album review)

Neil Young is one heck of a rock musician.  There's no debating his songwriting ability or musical talent.  That's why he's in the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame.  It's always interesting though, to get an album that gives you a different perspective and appreciation for such a performer.  That's what we're provided on Dreamin' Man, the new live album from Young.

The album is a collection of songs from his 1992 tour in support of Harvest Moon.  The songs, like the album from which they spawned, are stripped down affairs, consisting mostly of Young's acoustic guitar strum and his signature crackly vocals.

The result is an incredibly intimate disc.  The focus is sharply on Young's songwriting, which hit a new zenith on Harvest Moon.  The title track comes across as though Young is sharing a secret with you and only you.  "Harvest Moon" is absolutely irresistible, while "Unknown Legend" solidifies its spot as a new wedding classic.

There are some instances when the songs become a little too mellow.  "You and Me" for example is nearly comatose while "Hank To Hendrix", not a ripper to begin with, is particularly blase.  The normally rambunctious banjo number "Old King" seems like it is being played at half speed.

Usually I get wary when a live album has been culled from multiple performances.  However, Dreamin' Man flows very well.  The inclusion of audience noise and deft song sequencing give the illusion of this recording being one seamless concert.

While there are other releases that document Young's live performances of this era (Year of the Horse, MTV Unplugged), Dreamin' Man is the most warm and inviting one to date.

Best tracks: "Harvest Moon", "War of Man"

Track listing for Dreamin' Man Live '92:

  • Dreamin' Man
  • Such a Woman
  • One of These Days
  • Harvest Moon
  • You and Me
  • Unknown Legend
  • Hank To Hendrix
  • Old King
  • Natural Beauty
  • War of Man
Neil Young's website
Neil Young's Myspace

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