Essentially, American Stars 'n Bars is the album Neil Young made after he was done making the classics now firmly established in the old rock man canon. It's a grab-bag of old additional recordings that hadn't quite made it before and features his swirling, semi-proggy "Like a Hurricane", which would later find itself a fan favourite. Heartland and heavy, it feels like a solid continuation of Zuma.
Vinyl LP £18.99 0093624917595
180g vinyl reissue LP on Warner Bros.
8/10 Stephen 15th August 2017
"American Stars 'n' Bars" is one of Neil Young's lesser know albums, coming after a slew of classics. I'm not entirely sure why it didn't quite get the attention of the albums that came before it. After all, it contains one of his greatest, best known and best loved songs - the 8-minute anthemic guitar behemoth that is "Like A Hurricane". Possibly it's because it wasn't released on CD for a long time, so people like me were left to search second hand record shops for a vinyl copy in the early '90s. It was his first album that features a fiddle fairly prominently which gives songs such as "The Old Country Waltz" and "Saddle Up The Palomino" more of country feel than previous work. "Star of Bethlehem" is typical of ballads he did from this point on, and good to boot. Elsewhere there's the catchy "Hold Back The Tears" which features backing vocals from Linda Rondstadt and his hymn to growing your own "Homegrown" - a typical, ragged Crazy Horse stomp. Definitely worth a purchase, even if you just listen to "Like A Hurricane" over and over again.
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