There are quite a few widely acclaimed musicians I simply don't get the appeal of (a subject which could, and perhaps will, be the subject of a post to itself). For example, Radiohead, The Smiths, Queen, and - relevant to this post - Neil Young. Sure, I can appreciate the musicianship and the songwriting craft - and the same applies to the other bands I've mentioned above - but as soon as the man starts singing I want to slap him. And it's not that I haven't tried to appreciate the music; i remember back in the early 1990s, being a fan of Sonic Youth (everybody was a fan of Sonic Youth in the early 1990s), the band championing Neil Young as an inspiration, and numerous of my friends championing him too. I gave it a go. I gave it several goes. But still, that voice...

 

I didn't hear Prelude's version of After The Goldrush until about 2010, and was struck by its staggering beauty. I recalled that the song name was also the title of a Neil Young album, and realised it was a cover. At the time I was working on my spoken word album Hate Ashbury, which was intended as the follow-up to God Thing (and some of you will know that i got waylaid by Logos and never completed work on it. I've put out a few tracks online, though, and will finish and release the full album eventually). The song seemed to echo many of Hate Ashbury's themes; indeed the line 'thinking about what a friend had said in 1969' was a direct allusion.

 

  

As i was writing this blog entry, I thought it only fair to give the Neil Young version another listen. I got as far as the second verse. Beautiful words, beautiful arrangement, but that voice...

 

Currently reading: Philip K Dick - Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? (re-reading)

Currently listening: Brian Eno - Textures