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Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Toast

July 18, 2022
Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Toast (2022)

This release is being billed as a “lost album.” The problem with that is that Neil has lost albums like most people have lost socks. That being said this is a very nice release with a unusually laid back vibe for Neil and the Horse (but with plenty of the Horse’s signature grime that oddly inspires Neil).

Toast (named after the San Francisco studio where it was recorded) was originally shelved in 2001 because Young says it “was so sad that I couldn’t put it out. I just skipped it and went on to do another album in its place. I couldn’t handle it at that time.” But he is also quoted at another point saying: “It’s a mind-blowing record, and I don’t think it’s a commercial record, but it’s great rock and roll, very moody, kind of jazzy, there’s a lot of heavy stuff in there.” Despite Neil’s hippie image he is the consummate PR hype-master.

Some of songs from Toast made it on to 2002’s Are You Passionate? (the album that replaced Toast using Booker T and the MGs vs. Crazy Horse). Toast works better than Are You Passionate? Songs that ended up on Are You Passionate? are surprisingly similar given two very different bands. The overall vibe of Toast is more consistent. Is it sad? Yes, but I love sad Neil.

Opening track “Quit” was on Are You Passionate? in a similar arrangement/mix – just slightly longer. In anyone else’s hands this would be a sappy love song, but Young has perfected pathos and so this works.

“Standing in the Light of Love” picks up the pace and is a full on rocker.

“Goin’ Home” was also on Are You Passionate? It has a clichéd Native American vibe – like it was inspired by a 50s western. Kinda of a cheesy song.

I have no idea what this song “Timberline” is about, but it has a nice chooglin’ vibe.

“Gateway of Love” opens with cool surf rock riff intro before it moves into classic Neil and the Horse territory. It is a simple lost-love song that the boys turn into a meandering (in a good way) jam.

“How Ya Doin’?” was “Mr. Disappointment” on Are You Passionate? This is a pretty ballad that shows the softer side of the Horse.

“Boom Boom Boom” is the highlight of the album. It is both big riffs and jazzy vamps. It is long (a touch over 13 minutes) but never drags. This is hardly great poetry, but I like the sentiment:

The touch of my woman can soothe my soul

When she make me feel right that’s when the good times roll

I also love the horns that show up at about the one-third mark. In the last third, the Horse is augmented by a muted trumpet that is the perfect seasoning for the song.

In summary this is not essential Neil Young & Crazy Horse, but it is a must have for Neil completists. It is a nice footnote to the Horse catalog.

Neil is not on Spotify, but is on Tidal:

https://tidal.com/album/236954607

From → Music Reviews

One Comment
  1. I’ve really enjoyed the late night, glass of spirits in your hand feel of this one. Bit of a This Notes For You vibe.

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