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Although this is widely known as one of the seminal guitar albums in the history of rock, there are two paradoxes in that claim. First, a couple of the songs are entirely acoustic and feature none of the grungy guitar found throughout the rest of the disc. "Pardon My Heart" is not merely acoustic, but soft and gentle as well. "Through My Sails" is a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song. For me, it is the weakest cut on the album, and a potent reminder to me of why I prefer Neil Young on his own. The second paradox is that in many ways Neil Young really isn't a very good guitarist. Technically, there are probably a host of high school guitarists that surpass him. His solos are some of the most elementary in the history of rock. Nonetheless, Young seems to get more musical mileage out of relatively meager chops of any guitarist in history. He might not be a virtuoso, but in this album he virtually reinvents grunge guitar, and paved the way for a host of imitators.
Guitar aside, what drives this amazing album is the great, great songs that line up one after another. "Don't Cry No Tears" gives way for the even more stunning "Danger Bird." A couple of songs later we get one of my favorite Young songs, "Barstool Blues.Read more ›
All that would mean little were it not that "Zuma" is a consistently engaging and entertaining listen. All of the songs are great and Neil also provides glimpses into his future direction (so influential to grunge) with the feedback drenched "Danger Bird" and the searing "Drive Back".
The aforementioned songs alone would make this a five star album. Add to that "Cortez The Killer" which is not just one of my favorite Neil Young songs, but one of my favorite songs period. (And I have 1200 CDs so that's saying something). "Cortez" is a song of such aching beauty, it's impossible to imagine anyone else pulling this off. Listen to the near four minute solo that opens the song to understand why Neil is so revered among rock musicians. There are scores of guitarists more technically brilliant than him, but none (and I mean none) can squeeze the same emotional impact out of every note. By the time Neil sings the first words "He came dancing across the water", the listener is totally emotionally connected. This is simply one of the most brilliant moments in rock and roll history.
Neil Young is one of those artists so important that he is not well served by compilations. If you're serious about rock, you need to own at least five of his original albums. Make sure this is one of them.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The original version of Cortez the Killer and a whole lot more. Awesome stuff.Published 3 months ago by Styner
Awesome CD! Very satisfied with my purchase. Would definitely recommend seller to others. Great customer service.Published 5 months ago by tengelking
Good Neil...kinda dark but good and emotional. If you're into heart-tugging country/blues/folk this era of Neil Young is good to get lost in.Published 5 months ago by Jersey Jon
So glad I bought this again. I had it years ago, and the songs are just as fantastic now as they were then. It's the only Neil Young I really like, and I like it to death. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Karen L. Parlette
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