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Uncut mag: First listen of Americana

Neil Young & Crazy Horse’s “Americana”: first listen
John Mulvey, 29th March 2012

It begins as you might imagine, with a guitarist who seems about to play a sputtering solo rather than start a song, a drummer trying to work out what time to keep and, gradually, a band lunging towards a tune: “Oh Susannah”.

After a minute or so, you can hear Neil Young shout “Oh Susannah” away from his mic, prompting a choir to start chanting the title. It is at this point that Crazy Horse locate the dogged, heroic sense of purpose that has sustained them, on and off, for a good four decades. They’re moving a fraction faster than usual, in truth: as my colleague John Robinson points out, the call-and-response interplay between Young and the backing singers, aligned to the inexorable “good groove” (as Young calls it in the fade-out), make it all oddly resemble Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ “Dig Lazarus Dig”.

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So I spoke to my old friend Bruce and told him I was feeling it, his loss of Clarence. We talked for quite a while, and there is no need to go into what two old friends had to say to each other at this point, except to say that two old friends spoke to each other about their music, their muses, their partners in crime, their proof, their friendship, their souls and their lives. Ben Keith was my Clarence Clemons. Clarence Clemons was Bruce\'s Ben Keith. When he died last year it touched me to the core. I don\'t want to ever think of any one else playing his parts or occupying his space. No one could. I can\'t do those songs again unless it\'s solo. So I told Bruce, \"Waylon once looked at me and said, \'There\'s very few of us left.\'\" He liked that. I told him when he looked to his right I would be there. That\'s enough. I\'m not talking about that anymore.
by -- Neil Young, Waging Heavy Peace

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