53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
As we all know, Neil Young has famously resisted the remastered reissue of his huge catalogue on CD because of what he feels is the format's less than stellar representation of analogue tapes' 'original sound' as laid down by the artist - and almost a full 20 years after 1989's first issue of his 2nd album on a dullard CD - it looks like the guy is having the last laugh - because this meticulously prepared tape transfer is GLORIOUS. It really is. I've bought all 4 and to my ears this is fact the best sounding of them all.
First to the details - "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" was released in May 1969 on Reprise Records RS 6349 in the USA and RSLP 6349 in the UK (July 1969). This 2009 NYA OSR remaster (Neil Young Archives - Original Release Series) is Disc 2 of 4 and carries the HDCD code on the label and rear inlay (High Definition Compatible Disc).
Until now, 2004's "Greatest Hits" set (which offered us three "Everybody..." tracks remastered into HDCD sound quality) was the only real indication of just how good the album 'could' sound (this is the first time the 'entire' album has been given a sonic upgrade). The Audio Tape Restoration and Analog-To-HDCD Digital Transfer of the Original Master Tapes was carried out by JOHN NOWLAND (24-Bit 176 KHZ) with the Editing and Mastering done by TIM MULLIGAN - and they've done a stunning job.
The inlay reproduces photos of Danny Whitten (Guitar), Billy Talbot (Bass) with Ralph Molina (on Drums) and David Briggs (Engineer and Producer), but disappointingly there's no lyrics. Also - as these are the first four albums in a long reissue campaign - to identify them from the old CDs, the upper part of the outer spine has his new NYA OSR logo at the top and an 'issue' number beneath - D1, D2, D3, D4...on upwards of course.
However, the big and obvious disappointment is the complete lack of musical extras or any new info in the booklet - and in the case of this album in particular the omissions are going to be a sore point for fans who've waited decades for these releases. While some rarities have turned up on the 2009 mega box set "The Archives Vol.1 1963-1972" - some tracks are still missing. "Down By The River" was edited for single release in the UK in August 1970 on RS 23462 with an alternate take of "Cinnamon Girl" on the B-side. To my knowledge, neither is available in remastered sound anywhere. Also - "Oh Lonesome Me" was extended for the US 7" and it's B-side, an alternate mix of "I've Been Waiting For You" is again a no-show. All of them would have made for ideal extras material and it's infuriating that they're not on here.
Still - at mid price - this remaster of "Everybody..." is still great value for money and with this massively upgraded sound - it makes you focus on the music as is and not anything else.
Speaking of which - the sound is HUGE especially on the big rocking tracks "Down By The River" and the near 10-minute "Cowgirl In The Sand" - while the clarity is just BEAUTIFUL on Richie Furay's "Round And Round (It Won't Be Long)" - Robin Lane's duet vocals being particularly lovely. Bobby Notkoff's violin on "Running Dry" is very clear - and as the band loosely ramshackles its way into the song - it sounds like they're in your living room - miked up and live - fabulous stuff.
The remaster is not bombastically loud either, trebled up to the nines, but subtle - the music is just THERE in your speakers to a point where everything seems new and up for grabs again. Fans will love it and will feel like they're revisited long cherished old friends while newcomers will now understand what all the 5-star fuss is about.
The gold sticker on the jewel case of each of these issues states - "Because Sound Matters" - and although it took him a few decades, on the strength of this reissue, I think Rock's great curmudgeon was right to wait to get it right...which in many respects is the ultimate nod to his fans.
Docked a star though for lack of those complimentary extras that would have sent this into 'reissue of the year' territory...
But still highly recommended.
PS: I've reviewed "Harvest" and "After The Gold Rush" also - just as good soundwise...
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
This is the original "head-banger" wall of sound Neil Young and Crazy Horse leveled at the world after Young fled from the break-up of Buffalo-Springfield. There are few acts that can match the sheer power and energy of Neil and Crazy Horse's Danny Whitten matching frets and licks on their electric guitars, except perhaps Neil and his other friend//sometimes partner Stephen Stills. Most of what made Neil so famous from that point on is here, from "Cinnamon Girl" to "Everyone Knows This Is Nowhere" to "Down By the River" to "The Losing End". My personal favorite is ""Cowgirl In The Sand', and I loved Neil's comment about how much trouble those lyrics got him into with his ladylove who didn't believe it was all just a fantasy, looking for whoever it was that had mused him to such winsome words and music. Neil Young is always quite a ride, and here he shows the world just why he has been so popular and successful for the last thirty years. Enjoy!
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2000
Format: Audio CD
After the confused reaction to NEIL YOUNG,the ex- Buffalo Springfielder decider to use a bar band called the Rockets as the backup band on his next album;renaming them Crazy Horse.The result of their collaboration,EVERYBODY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE,is a perfect blend of folk and crunching guitar rock.DOWN BY THE RIVER,COWGIRL IN THE SAND, CINNAMON GIRL and the title track showcased what a underrated guitarist Young is,and the promising new talent Danny Whitten.Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina proved to be a formidable musical backbone. This was the true birth of grunge;Young wore flannel shirts and torn jeans,and played hard long before Seattle made it fashionable.The song RUNNING DRY is another in a long line Young's "sad songs" - made even sadder by Bobby Notkoff's violin playing.EVERY KNOWS THIS IS NOWHERE is the first Neil Young classic album . . .of which there would be many more.
51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
The opening song is one of the top twenty-five singles ever written in over 45 years of rock:
"The drummer relaxes and waits between shows for ... his Cinnamon Girl. A dreamer of pictures, a run in the night, You see us together chasing the moonlight, my cinnamon girl..."
"Somehow I need another chance, I see your baby loves to dance... yeah, yeah, yeah..." followed by a guitar solo, that any fan of that period could recite note for note (although with Neil Young, that's not always too difficult, it's the intensity, precision, and minimalist power that one appreciates).
An awesome combination of power guitar and sentimentality, fuzz and rock-country (with an emphasis on the rock), this was one of my first albums, and remains one of my favorites. The vinyl is great, of course, but I'm enjoying the CD as much (although you don't get as big a picture of the cover dog... one of the great dogs of rock covers!).
I remember thinking "Round and Round (It Won't Be Long)" was too slow, but today it sounds very rich, revealing a quiet poignancy, and some of Neil's best straight-ahead singing. "The Losing End" is the most country-inflected song here, yet I still like its kickback sound and the blues-like lyrics. Play this for someone who likes the overrated slick sound of the Eagles; Neil is closer to the roots, and his biting guitar is incomparable. (This is probably unfair, as I basically could never stand the Eagles, but Young does "country-rock" better than most. Of course, this shouldn't be too surprising, considering his stint with Buffalo Springfield.
"Down by the River" and the quintessentially-Young "Cowgirl in the Sand" remain deeply satisfying; it's unlikely you'll hear them on today's FM stations because of their length and age (and maybe for their slight misogyny, though that pales compared to Eminem et al.'s anti-women lyrics). Again, the songs are strung with Neil's trademark strong, repetitive licks, with nice over-dubbing, laid over an assertive bass line and surprisingly melodic compositions. This is also great garage music for aspiring guitarists, you can sound as terrible as you want and, most likely, it'll still sound acceptable.
This album transcends time and musical fashion. Play it loud; play it often.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
"Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" is the first album Neil Young recorded with his ace backing band Crazy Horse. And like The Band did for Bob Dylan, Crazy Horse seems to bring out the best in Neil. This album serves as a blueprint for every NY & Crazy Horse album that would follow. Loud guitars, long songs and luscious songwriting. The obvious single is "Cinnamon Girl," which is one of the few Neil Young songs that can be described as "overplayed" on the radio. But the real masterworks on this record are the extended tracks "Cowgirl in the Sand" and "Down By the River," which both feature extended instrumental jams, but are never boring despite clocking in at over ten minutes apiece. Between these high points, Neil and company stick in some quieter accoustic tracks that serve as sort of a mortar surrounding the bricks. And the title reflects the world weariness that is always pervasive in Neil's best work.
Overall, this is one of the best half dozen or so Neil Young albums as well as being a landmark album for rock historians.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2009
Format: Audio CD
The Web buzz is that these 2009 (U.S. release date) remasters of Neil Young's first few albums first became available in Japan a few years earlier. They're compatible with both standard-CD and HDCD players.
(HDCD is a Microsoft-purchased standard that encodes/decodes some of the higher overtones that get lopped off by the original CD standard's compromised sampling rate.)
Not having a hardware HDCD player, I've been comparing Amazon's samples of the remasters against the previous CD releases. The most obvious change is in the remasters' guitar tracks, which sing out with more upper-midrange frequencies and harmonics.
If you're an electric guitarist, imagine Neil's original humbuckers being run through some subtle single-coil modeling to punch up their articulation, clarity, and chime. If you're a non-guitarist, just think of the guitar sounds gaining a bit more richness, depth, and chewiness.
Either way, giving the guitar tones more headroom actually softens their attack a bit. So if you like pile-driver, hard-hitting Neil Young, you might prefer the original mastering. But for those of us who savor the twang in Neil's early work, these remasters are a welcome improvement.
Playing the actual CD through my standard CD player, I hear those nice chewy guitar tones, plus (I think) better overall separation among the vocal and instrument tracks. For $10 a pop, these reissues are a nice treat.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Neil Young's second solo album begins with "Cinnamon Girl," one of his rare hit singles, but what puts this 1969 album in "Gotta Have" status were the monster tracks that ended each "side" of the record, "Down by the River" (9:13) and "Cowgirl in the Sand" (10:30). It is totally appropriate that Young wrote all three songs in a single afternoon. In the wake of Buffalo Springfield's breakup, Young had recorded his first solo album, which suffered from being overdubbed. But then Young started jamming with a L.A. band called the Rockets, which was then re-dubbed Crazy Horse: guitarist Danny Whitten, bassist Billy Talbot, drummer Ralph Molina. The result was a raw, energized sound, where sound pretty was never a major concern, proven by the opening ten-note guitar riff than starts "Cinnamon Girl." Some have made the case that their harsh, metallic sound was so elemental that it qualifies as being proto-punk (the Stooges's first album also came out in 1969), although I have always been reminded of jazz stylings with the way the music is stripped down. Young's mournfully high voice contrasts with the primal guitar duets he wages with Whitten on the two epics, but under-girding it all is an innate sense of harmony (ultimately proven by the Indigo Girl's cover of "Down by the River" on their "1200 Nights Album"). "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" is one of those albums made for listening to in the dark.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Completely different from Neil Young's debut album - and, indeed, from the two albums following it - Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was a ferocious blast of guitar-heavy rock when it was released in 1969. It's hard to overestimate the influence of this album. Neil, over 30 years later, is still playing music of the type derived from this archetype, and it clearly an early precursor of grunge. The long guitar jamming on such song as Down By The River and Cowgirl In The Sand foreshadow 70's stage excess (and Young's 15-minute jams on Southern Man.) Unlike his first album which featured such impressionistic lyrical vignettes and gentle folk ditties as Last Trip To Tulsa, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is a comparatively underwritten album - the lyrics being generally mere sketches rather than complete-sounding works, showing little of the ingenuity that would later prove Neil to be one of rock's finest lyricists. But the point of this album is not that, of course; it is the musical interplay and chemistry between Young and his backing band Crazy Horse on this, the first album to feature them. It has some bona-fide folk classics (Round & Round, The Losing End), but the great songs on this record are the guitar-heavy rockers that showcased a heretofore unseen side of Young, and focused on the band's playing. Cinnamon Girl immediately kicks the album into high gear with what is still one of the most ferocious guitar riffs of all-time (people would be trying to copy its power for years after.) Down By The River and Cowgirl In The Sand show prominently the kind of relentless and endlessly imaginative guitar jamming that would come to feature in Neil's songs for the rest of his career. Simply put, an essential album from Neil Young, and one of the archetypal rock and roll albums.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere was Neil Young's second album and the first with his seminal backing band, Crazy Horse. In his work with Buffalo Springfield and on his first solo album, Mr. Young played music that was acoustic in base and had flares of country and folk. Crazy Horse added a hard, electric edge to his music and it is noticeable from the start on the high octane "Cinnamon Girl". The song has ringing guitars and a feedback coda that shows why Mr. Young is the godfather of grunge. "Down By The River" and "Cowgirl In The Sand" are lengthy cuts. The former is almost a blues dirge with a piercing guitar sound and murderous lyrics while the latter is more upbeat, but no less impressive. "Round & Round" is a soft and lamenting, country flavored song that is unfortunately overlooked. It is a great song and deserves alot more attention than it gets. Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere is a major leap by Mr. Young taking him into the upper stratosphere of musicians.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2009
This pressing has a particular defect that I have found with several other modern vinyl pressings. I'm not sure of the cause or origin of the problem but I have encountered it a handful of times, most notably on several Rhino LP reissues. The problem: as the stylus tracks through the grooves throughout a side, there are certain places where suddenly a loud scraping sound is heard that drowns out most of the music. The sound lasts about 1 second each time it happens but it can happen quite frequently- like every few seconds in a bad case. Hence, it becomes very annoying and can make the record unlistenable depending on the frequency of which it occurs per side. The problem is apparent visually as well: when looking at the vinyl in the right light, one can actually see the areas on the grooves where this distorted, 'stylus-scraping' sound will occur. The problem areas look like tiny white or light colored lines about a mm. or less in length running along with/in the groove. If there are several of these 'lines', as there are on Rhino's pressing of the Grateful Dead's "American Beauty" (of which I bought 4 copies from different places at different times and encountered the exact same problem in the exact same places on all of them- confirming the problem as a pressing defect- likely a defective stamper), it appears as if there is a continuous, white, dotted line running through the record inside the groove. I am so familiar with this problem now that I can spot it visually before even playing a record and have it confirmed every time upon listening. Again though, I have only encountered this problem on reissued LPs and other modern pressings.
Neil supposedly had these records pressed at Pallas in Germany for quality assuarance, so I was quite surprised to encounter the problem as I have more often than not found it present on cheaply pressed and packaged LPs. The good side of this is that it is not present on the other 3 of NY's remastered LPs. Still- if there had to be one bad press in the bunch why "Everybody Knows..."?!?! Why couldn't it be "Harvest" or the first album- the ones I would most likely listen to the least?
Please write a response to this review or write a new review if you have or have-not encountered this problem with this record. This will help us confirm whether it is likely present on the entire run of the pressing or just on a certain batch or stamper (if more than one stamper was used).