Crazy Horse at the Fillmore 1970
Bob Burnett: I finally picked this one up.
I don't know why it took me so long to buy it--seeing as though Neil Young & Crazy Horse happens to be some some of my favorite all time music. It seem as long as I've been listening to music I've had some kind of relationship with this band. To this day, I continue to be in never-cease-to-amaze-me awe at the guitar/vocal interplay the late Danny Whitten and Neil Young achieved--and while I've only spent a short span of time with this album compared to three decades with everything else they did, this one rings to me as a high-water mark in what they made happen during their time together.
The model they created featured Neil out front on lead guitar; his fuzzy, thick tone pushing and exploring sound textures and searching for new sonic space. Danny would be right there too on rhythm guitar; a constant and rich presence. He had a resonant tone that was as identifiable as Neil's bursting, swaying attack. Danny mesmerizes me when I isolate and focus on his guitar playing. He kept a controlled pace, found color and nuance at every chord change or inventive arpeggio in ways that offered Neil an open door to go deeper and deeper into a song.
This Fillmore 1970 recording is an incredibly significant historical release of a band at the top of their game. Mainstay "Horse" members Billy Talbot (bass) and Ralph Molina (drums)--who still make up the spine of the band--are solid and tight. Jack Nitzsche played keyboards and offers quiet, subdued yet steady support. As I listened to the thin, boyish voice of Neil Young from 37 years ago talking to the audience it became apparent that this band considered themselves a band and not just a "pop star" back-up band. Danny Whitten takes over on lead vocals on "C'mon Baby Let's Go Downtown" and draws me further into the possibility this band possessed. I really like this version of "Downtown" (which re-emerged a few years later on "Tonight's the Night", made after Danny's death) with Danny's shimmering chords and strong "push" happening on lead vocals.
There is so much more I could say about this band--what they achieved not only as a band but the personal listening experience they created for me. It almost seems best just to let it speak for itself. To me, this group made magic.
(Added content---I was exploring Neil Young's webpage last night and found an interesting streaming video about this release. I failed to mention Fillmore 1970 also comes in a high resolution(24bit/96k)--not DVD audio--version with a DVD of still photos from the concert and other archival material. Some are screaming "foul" because the DVD doesn't include motion video. The webpage also features a tease for an 8 CD- 2 DVD archival box set Neil Young Archives vol. 1: 1963-1972. This supposedly will be released this year as well as an album titled Chrome Dreams II. Chrome Dreams was the name of the legendary non-released album from the mid-seventies that was the original home for songs such as "Like A Hurricane", an alternate version of "Pochahontas" and others that eventually appeared on American Stars and Bars, Rust Never Sleeps and Comes a Time. )