Neil Young is no stranger to the live album having released 7 of them previously. On Earth, he is backed by Promise of the Real, a band fronted by Willie Nelson’s sons, Lukas and Micha. The songs are plucked from classic albums Ragged Glory (1990) and After The Gold Rush (1970) along with his latest studio album The Montesano Years. The album runs for an uninterrupted 98 minutes and contains songs that Neil Young has written about living on our wonderful yet fragile planet.
Vinyl Double LP £30.49 0093624920663
2LP on warner Bros.
CD £12.49 0093624920656
CD on Warner Bros.
5/10 Tom 19th December 2018
Earth is an interesting proposition. A live album (or "ear movie" as Neil Young described it on the Marc Maron podcast) from a 2015 tour augmented with nature sounds. The album opens with thunder and rain and frogs ribbiting introducing a pastoral rendition of Ragged Glory's "Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)", the distortion drenched original replaced with the drone of a harmonium. The effect is unusual but makes sense. However, when a horse neighs at the beginning of Sleeps With Angels' "Western Hero" the effect becomes gimmicky.
The point, I suppose, is to present a selection of Young's eco-anthems with a tender reminder of the beauty of the sounds of nature to symbolise the frailty of ol' Mother Earth and the impact we are having on the planet. That's all fine and well. The biggest problem with Earth is that it's just not a particularly good live album. The performances mainly plod along, and time has ravaged Young's voice so the likes of 'After the Goldrush' become a bit of a slog to get through.
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