Neil Young: Bluenote Cafe

Album review
Neil Young: Bluenote Cafe

Neil Young

Bluenote Cafe

Label: Reprise
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

After a string of tepid themed albums for Geffen Records (Trans, Everybody’s Rockin’, Old Ways), Neil Young returned in 1988 to Reprise with This Note’s for You, an homage to the blues. The tour for that album resulted in Bluenote Café, a 23-track album packed with previously unreleased horn-heavy tracks inspired more by Electric Flag than Albert King. It opens with the swagger of “Welcome to the Big Room,” a thinly veiled criticism of his old label. The title track, which spawned a hit music video that featured a Michael Jackson lookalike (with his hair on fire), aims potshots at the rampant commercialization of the music industry. There’s also a rockin’ version of the original album’s journeyman musician tribute, “Ten Men Working.” But the band is best when it stretches out. There’s an eight-minute version of the ballad “Twilight,” which deftly trades Young’s distorted guitar with gritty sax riffs. “Ordinary People” rolls for 13 minutes and sounds like Son Volt with a horn section. The album closes with a captivating 20-minute exploration of “Tonight’s the Night,” with chorus-tinted bass and one of Young’s trademark blistering solos that presages the grunge godfather who would show up a year later on Freedom

More Info

  • primary artist, Neil Young
  • CD

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