Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Ramada Inn

Essentially a short story about an older couple’s love for each other. They go on a road trip, visit old friends, get drunk in the hotel bar and fall out over the husband’s drinking. Although concise, it has a novelistic sweep – an epic sweep – by virtue of the song’s 17 minute length and the way that the clumsy, but compellingly repetitive, music allows us to fill in the gaps and create a bigger story about their relationship and their lives together. It’s downbeat yet uplifting, mundane yet full of grandeur.

Young’s singing, his phrasing, is superb, especially on the heartbreaking “She loves him so…” refrain. And particularly towards the end where his “that’s enough” captures the husband’s drunken weariness, hinting that they’ve been here many times before.

The music is a kind of sludgy, sloppy garage band rock that plods gloriously onwards, enriched by Young’s fantastic lead guitar. In that respect it suggests how this relationship has gone: repetitive and lurching yet full of love and life.

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About Paul Saxton

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