zondag 12 augustus 2018

Zondagclip | Zomeracademie | The Making of Harvest | Neil Young

"Harvest" is the fourth album by Canadian musician Neil Young, released on February 14, 1972. It featured the London Symphony Orchestra on two tracks, while noted guests David Crosby, Graham Nash, Linda Ronstadt, Stephen Stills, and James Taylor contributed vocals. It was the best-selling album of 1972 in the United States. After Neil Young left Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, he recruited a group of country session musicians and recorded a country rock record in Harvest. The record was a massive hit, producing a US number one single in "Heart Of Gold". Other songs returned to some usual Young themes: "Alabama" was "an unblushing rehash of 'Southern Man'"; and "The Needle And The Damage Done" was a lament for great artists who had died of heroin addiction. The album's success caught Young off guard and his first instinct was to back away from stardom. He would later write that the record "put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch. A rougher ride but I saw more interesting people there." The recording of the remainder of Harvest was notable for the spontaneous and serendipitous way it came together. Young arrived in Nashville in early February 1971 to perform on a broadcast of Johnny Cash Show where Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor would also appear. Mazer had opened Quadrafonic Sound Studios in Nashville, and invited Young to dinner on Saturday, February 6, to convince him to record his next project at the studio. Neil admired the work of the local studio musicians known as Area Code 615 who had recorded there and was interested. Young had been working on new songs that he had been performing on the road, as seen by the repertoire on Live at Massey Hall 1971, and told Mazer that all he needed was a bassist, drummer, and pedal steel guitarist. Young made the decision to start recording that very evening. Since many of the Area Code 615 musicians were working on a Saturday night, Mazer scrambled to find drummer Kenny Buttrey, bassist Tim Drummond and steel-guitarist Ben Keith. That night, they laid down the basic tracks for "Old Man", "Bad Fog Of Loneliness" and "Dance Dance Dance" (the latter two tracks didn't make the cut). "Heart Of Gold" was only recorded on Monday 8 February with the same basic line-up as the 6 February session. However it has been reported that after taping the Johnny Cash Show on the evening of Sunday 7 February, Young invited Ronstadt and Taylor to come back to the studio with him. The three sat on a couch and recorded the background vocals for "Heart Of Gold" and "Old Man." Taylor picked up Young's Banjo guitar (a six-string banjo tuned like a guitar) and overdubbed a part for the latter song. The electric-based songs were recorded in a barn at Young's ranch in California in September, with the master takes being recorded at the end of the month. Using a remote recording system, Mazer set up PA speakers in the barn for monitors rather than have the players wear headphones. This resulted in a lot of "leakage" of each microphone picking up sound from other instruments, but it resulted in a sound that Young and Mazer liked. Background vocals by Crosby, Stills & Nash were subsequently recorded by Mazer in New York. Mixing was done at both Quadrafonic and at Young's house. During playback at the ranch, Mazer ran the left channel into the PA speakers still in the barn and the right channel into speakers in the house. With Crosby and Nash beside him Young sat outside listening to the mix. When asked about the stereo balance, he called out, "More barn." Despite the album's strong sales, assessments by critics were not overwhelmingly favorable at the time. A negative review was published in Rolling Stone, where John Mendelsohn called the album a disappointing retread of earlier, superior efforts by Young, writing of "the discomfortingly unmistakable resemblance of nearly every song on this album to an earlier Young composition — it's as if he just added a steel guitar and new words to After The Gold Rush." A review in The Montreal Gazette gave the album a mixed verdict, calling it "embarrassing" in places but interesting lyrically. More recent evaluations of the album have been far more positive: in 1998, Q magazine readers voted Harvest the 64th greatest album of all time. In 1996, 2000 and 2005, Chart polled readers to determine the 50 greatest Canadian albums of all time — Harvest placed second in all three polls. In 2003, a full three decades removed from its original harsh assessment, Rolling Stone named Harvest the 78th greatest album of all time. In 2007, Harvest was named the #1 Canadian Album of All Time by Bob Mersereau in his book The Top 100 Canadian Albums.

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