Neil Young and the International Harvesters: A Treasure

Neil Young and the International Harvesters: A Treasure
When we last heard from the legendary Neil Young, it was last year’s Le Noise. The record was a stylistic departure for Young with its wall-of-sound electric guitar and distortion on everything approach. Despite the departure, the record produced some Young’s highest praise in a decade. A Treasure is a much more traditional Neil Young record.
A Treasure is a compilation of live recordings made on his 1984-1985 U.S. tour with the International Harvesters. The International Harvesters were an all-star country group consisting of slide guitarist Ben Keith, fiddler Rufus Thibodeaux, pianist Spooner Oldham, pianist Hargus “Pig” Robbins, bassist Tim Drummond, bassist Joe Allen, mandolin player Anthony Crawford, and drummer Karl Himmel. The group individually have played with everyone from Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash to Jimmy Buffet to Miles Davis.
As a back-up band to Young, the ensemble eke out a high energy performance. Tracks like “Southern Pacific” deliver amazing performances from Thibodeaux on fiddle and Crawford on banjo. Himmel’s drumming keeps the tracks tempo up for the full eight-minutes it lasts. Because of the energy, the track does not feel nearly as long as it truly is.
That is not to say that every track is as long as or as high energy as “Saouthern Pacific.” Tracks like “Nothing Is Perfect” and “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong” are mid-tempo country ballads. The tracks have a certain lilt to them but are certainly not ballads quite like “The Needle And The Damage Done” or most of the Harvest album.
Because of the limited time in which Young worked/toured with the International Harvesters, it is nice to have A Treasure to preserve that time. The album is an important historical document in the catalog of one of rock’s most prolific artists.
Rating: 8.5/10
MP3: Neil Young and the International Harvesters “Southern Pacific”
Buy: iTunes