This Note's For You Too! A Tribute to Neil Young
First Appeared at The Music Box, September 1999, Volume 6, #9
Written by John Metzger
There's no question that Neil Young has had a tremendous influence on the music industry over the course of his career, which has spanned more than 30 years. This Note's for You Too! is now the third tribute album celebrating the music of an artist who has brilliantly managed to defy categorization. A quick glance through the list of the groups contributing to this two-disc set yields few recognizable names. In fact, the best-known performers are Steve Wynn, Crazy Horse's Billy Talbot, Television's Richard Lloyd, Come's Chris Brokaw, and Sonic Youth's Lee Ranaldo. Despite the relative obscurity of the musicians, the performances on this gallant effort are really quite strong. Some notable standouts include Tom Rapp's stellar rendition of After the Gold Rush and Chris Cacavas's Tonight's the Night. The former is delivered like a surreal and dreamy lullaby as Rapp pits a gorgeous harp accompaniment from Olvardil Prydwyn against his own acoustic guitar and harmonica playing. On the latter, Cacavas filters Young's ode to fallen friends Danny Whitten and Bruce Berry through a hazy blend of swirling organ and eerie guitars.
Overall, This Note's for You Too! is certainly the most complete tribute album to Neil Young (or any other performer for that matter). The effort begins with Aurora, which Young recorded with his 1963 group The Squires, and concludes 37 tracks and more than 2 hours later with Piece of Crap. It's an amazing selection of songs as well, giving credence to the argument that no one deserves a tribute album more than he does. In addition, there's no question that all of the recordings for this compilation were made with a clear reverence to Young. Unfortunately, this also means that many of the musicians, while turning in solid performances, failed to bring anything new to Young's songs. For example, the Coal Porters fit Ohio with an acoustic arrangement, but just as they begin to take it into a jazzy terrain, they pull back to the standard interpretation of the tune. Likewise, many of the tracks walk the line between power pop and alt-country, but that isn't all that far from where some of the songs were in the first place. If only the artists involved in this project had infused a little more of themselves into their renditions of Young's songs, this set might have been a little more interesting.
1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 1999 The Music Box