Neil Young, Pocahontas and Me

First I am reading about the dawning of the pot rush in Colorado. Where else would I find this, I mean, besides on the internet? High Times? Well, I’ve not gone there but I’m talking about Rolling Stone.

I have read RS on and off since my teens. I think I first had a subscription in college and it pretty well continued into the end of the century. The internet is where I have found selected pieces, enough to remind me that it is still probably the best music magazine that was ever published. This despite its turn in the 21st century toward celebrity gossip. Maybe not gossip, but it might as well be gossip.

My two paragraphs are spent not on what I’d intended, so much. It is memories of Neil Young which surface from a story I read this afternoon in Rolling Stone about Young playing Carnegie Hall.

I probably first heard his work when “Heart of Gold” was on all the radio stations, we didn’t get that many stations back then. Well, I’m sure I heard Buffalo Springfield on the radio before that, but it would be a bit later before I knew of his helping to found the great group. Offshoots would include Poco, a favorite, and Loggins and Messina. Then Woodstock and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young came along, later the album “Deja Vu,” I think it is the group’s best work. But Neil Young was a separate music entity. Unlike musical acts I “rediscovered” in recent years — the Allman Brothers Band principal among them, I had listened to Young since I was a long-haired country boy. This was back before I joined the Navy and saw, at least, a pretty nice portion of the world.

What is so wonderful about Neil Young is also the most exasperating. That is Young the musical chameleon. Remember “Trans?The Carnegie concert features Young, without a doubt, on some of his best work. Many of his popular songs — “Mr. Soul” from Buffalo Springfield before I was a Young fan — are coming to life again. As if they ever lacked life. The review notes that Young, at 68, only shows a few minor cracks in his tenor voice, although those cracks on his high-notes have been there for years.

As is probably the case with many popular music acts who have been around for eons, a fair amount of Young’s songs are not always the most popular ones. “For The Turnstiles,” “Don’t Let It Bring You Down,” and “Pocahontas” to name a few. I think I mentioned here before the oddity of traveling from Houston to Galveston one day, passing the Astrodome along the way. On the island, a stop at a convenience store revealed the day’s news that Marlon Brando had died. I immediately found the irony from “Pocahontas:” and its Canadian frost:

 “And maybe Marlon Brando
Will be there by the fire
We’ll sit and talk of Hollywood
And the good things there for hire
And the Astrodome
and the first tepee
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me
Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me.”

I also thought, for a time, Young was too quick to jump on something topical. “Let’s Roll,” from the terrible saga of 9/11, for example. But topical is what I do, man! So why should I get on Neil Young’s case?

I’m going to leave links to a few vintage Young favorites. If you looking for cheery, well … I hope you enjoy these half as much as I have. Have a great weekend while you are at it.

“Comes A Time”



“Needle and the Damage Done”