Song of the Day: New Neil Young record kind of sucks

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The first thing I should say about this acoustic live record is that I almost always detest unplugged versions of songs and I can't stand most live records. Unfortunately, not even the presence of Neil Young, one of my all-time favorites, can save this project for me.

Recorded in Ann Arbor a few days before he released his first solo offering, Neil Young, this album captures a very funny, talented, humble man engaging an audience in shortly after the breakup of critically acclaimed folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield. His banter between songs is as homey, candid and touching as fans could ever want from the kindhearted Canadian -- decades before he courted any backlash or controversy.

That said, these are thin, pale versions of either Springfield classics and Young's own material. They're gritty and rough in all the wrong ways. The song above lacks the punch and poignancy of the original version, a classic from Buffalo Springfield. The same can be said of "The Loner," which first exploded on the man's eponymous release. This stuff is only appealing to those who want every hidden scrap and Young's prolific career.