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Lucky Thirteen

3.8 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 5, 1993
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Originally released in 1993 this album features notable guest artists including Gail Davies, Rufus Thibodeaux, Waylon Jennings and Crazy Horse to name a few. The album is subtitled Excursions Into Alien Territory, Lucky Thirteen is a compilation of material young recorded during the 80's, a time when he was roaming all over the musical map in search of inspiration. Some of the more unusual byways traveled by Young included Gary Numan-flavored electro-pop ('Pressure'), traditional country ('Once An Angel') and rockabilly ('Get Done'). Import only!

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Strange to say, this retrospective of '80s recordings from Neil Young's lamentable stretch with Geffen Records is a must-own for true fans of the man. Though it's riddled with failed experiments in everything from proto-techno to rockabilly to blues-rock (thanks to a few tracks from Young's return-to-Reprise effort, This Note's for You), and offers up the most diluted rock of Young's remarkable career, Lucky 13 is fascinating on its own skewed terms--if for no other reason than it provides a perspective on a brilliant artist struggling to find his footing on alien terrain. The opener sets the scene: Young and Crazy Horse make like Kraftwerk as Young's drastically processed voice robotically intones, "I need a unit to sample and hold." One can imagine the response it and other techno-pop Trans (as in "transgression"?) tracks had on the "Heart of Gold" crowd. From there, Young and various groups ping-pong hither and yon, coming up with mostly head-scratchers in the process. Just look at Lucky 13 as a shortcut through a bad patch for Young, and be prepared for some hairpin curves along the route. --Steven Stolder
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 5, 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Geffen Records
  • ASIN: B000000OSM
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,654 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Neil Young put together this compilation album in 1993 as a buy-out from Geffen Records. To Neil's credit, he did some manuevering to create a salable product, at least for his own loyal fan base. Unfortunately, the Geffen years were Neil's least prodigious, and some of Neil's choices for this project are wide open for second-guessers like me and you.
The Geffen years included Young songs copyrighted between 1982 and 1988, one year shy of the landmark 'Freedom' CD (Geffen must not be living right). 'Lucky Thirteen' opens with two songs from his 1983 release 'Trans', 'Sample and Hold' and 'Transformer Man'. While the extended version of 'Sample and Hold' (originally offered on the European import version of the album) is nice to have, 'Transformer Man' can be found on three other Young discs and two video releases. An unreleased composition from the 'Old Ways' sessions, 'Depression Blues' follows, a nice but unspectacular acoustic track. Two tracks from the officially released 'Old Ways' disc are also included, 'Once An Angel' and 'Where Is the Highway Tonight'. 'Once An Angel' is easily the better track chosen from this collection of acoustic country compositions.
Twice on this CD Neil wisely dips into some live material that wouldn't otherwise see the light of day. The 'Old Ways' tracks are split by two live recordings of Neil and The Shocking Pinks on their 1983 tour. Captured live in Dayton, Young offers two unreleased compositions, the rockabilly 'Get Gone', which fits in well with other retro-rockers from the 'Everybody's Rockin' disc, and 'Don't Take Your Love Away From Me', a pure blues-rock number in the same vein as 'After Berlin' from this same time period.
Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come. In the mid-1980's, Young produced two of his weakest efforts.
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Format: Audio CD
"Lucky 13" is a compilation album of tracks from albums that Young recorded for Geffen in the early to mid 80's. Ever the chameleon, Young signed with Geffen records in 1981 after having a huge career during the 70's. Instead of sticking with the status quo Young put out a series of experimental albums that eventually got him sued by his own record company for not being commercial enough! These albums included "Trans" which was mostly electronic music, "Old Ways" which was basically a country album, "Everybody's Rocking" which was a rockabilly album, "Landing On Water" which was a new wavish pop rock album, "Life" which was a rather average recording with Crazy Horse, and "This Notes For You" an album of blues. None of these albums did that well at the cash registers and it did not help that as soon as Young left Geffen he released his big comeback album "Ragged Glory". A lot of people missed out on the Geffen releases but there was some nice stuff to be found on them and I personally thought "Trans" was great. In fact "Trans" is the album that first turned me on to Neil Young which most people find very strange considering the album is so different from anything else he has done before or since. The tracks on "Lucky 13" are a mix of the original album tracks and some live stuff, but it all comes from the Geffen years. The only real hit to be found here is a live version of "This Notes For You", Neil's protest song about classic rock being used in advertisements that managed to get quite a bit of radio play at the time. Although most Young fans look at the Geffen years as a low point in his career I think this compilation is packed with solid songs. "Sample And Hold", "Transformer Man", "Depression Blues", "Hippie Dream", "Around The World" and "Mideast Vacation" are all great.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Neil Young went nuts in the 1980s, indulging himself in all sorts of weird projects including space rock and rockabilly as well as straight up country and blues albums. The records were for the most part mediocre and this collection purports to collect the "highlights" from them. If you want to hear an example of the problem with Young's genre wanderings, check out "Transformer Man" here from the space rock album "Trans" and its bizarre synthesized vocals. Then check out the same song on the album "Unplugged," sans the technology. You'll be amazed at how pretty the song really is. For all but diehard Young fans, this album suffices in place of his 1980s material. Even so, it is still a very uneven listening experience.
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Format: Audio CD
This collection artfully salvages eight years of Mr Young's period in the Wilderness. As he lurches from electronica to rockabilly to country to 80's Nuevo Wavo to big-band jump blues, and hides behind an increasingly weird series of personae, Neil once again convinces us he can be the most perverse of rock and rollers. His '80's records are barely listenable in their entirety -- this sampler converts the lousy run of Trans, Everybody's Rockin', Old Ways, Landing On Water, Life and This Notes For You into a single 60-minute tour-de-force of stylistic diversity.
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Format: Audio CD
I realize I may be the oddball of the reviewers here, given that one of my all-time favorite albums by Neil Young is "Trans" (how can you not love "Like an Inca"?). The Editorial Review has Mr. Stolder claiming that the CD (and therefore Young's 80s output) is "riddled with failed experiments in everything from proto-techno to rockabilly to blues-rock." It's the word "failed" that I take issue with. In my humble opinion, all true music is experimental and, of course, not all of it will satisfy everyone. Nonetheless, a musician cannot develop without stretching out into new territory. Indeed, this was the big problem Young had with Geffen Records. Geffen wanted him to settle down into something they could easily market to his old fans, most of whom presumably wanted more "After the Gold Rush" and "Harvest." Instead, he gave us the electro-acoustic "Trans" and big-band blues on "This Note's for You," not to mention the retro-rock "Everybody's Rockin'" with the Shocking Pinks! He was all over the map, and it was my favorite period of his music. I always like most of his music (and still do), but in those days he wouldn't be pinned down at all. During the 1980s, Young put out nine studio albums, beginning with "...Read more ›
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