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One Of TAS' Ten Best Rock Albums of 2020!
Neil Young puts it best: "This album is the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes a Time".
Recorded between June 1974 and January 1975, Homegrown was intended to come out in 1975 before Neil cancelled the release. The album has remained unreleased until now, achieving a legendary status among Neil Young fans in the process.
In a letter posted on the Neil Young archives, Young writes: "I apologize. This album Homegrown should have been there for you a couple of years after Harvest. It's the sad side of a love affair. The damage done. The heartache. I just couldn't listen to it. I wanted to move on. So I kept it to myself, hidden away in the vault, on the shelf, in the back of my mind .but I should have shared it. It's actually beautiful. That's why I made it in the first place. Sometimes life hurts. You know what I mean. This is the one that got away."
The album is made up of twelve Neil Young songs, of which seven are previously unreleased - "Separate Ways," "Try," "Mexico," "Kansas," We Don't Smoke It No More," "Vacancy" and "Florida" (a spoken word narration). Also included are the first recordings of "Love Is A Rose," "Homegrown," "White Line, "Little Wing," and "Star Of Bethlehem" - different versions of which would all later appear on other Neil Young albums. The versions of "Love Is A Rose" and "Little Wing" have been previously released on the 1977 compilation Decade.
Young plays solo on some tracks (guitar, piano and harmonica), and is joined by a band of friends on other tracks, including Levon Helm, Ben Keith, Karl T Himmel, Tim Drummond, Emmylou Harris and Robbie Robertson.
"Recorded in analog in 1974 and early 1975, Homegrown was mixed at that time to original stereo analog master tapes," explains Young. "These original mixes have been restored with love and care by John Hanlon, and mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering, making Homegrown a completely original album... Homegrown contains a narration, several acoustic solo songs never even published or heard until this release and some great songs played with a band of my friends... Anyway, it's coming your way in 2020, the first release from our archive in this new decade. Come with us into 2020 as we bring you the past."
One of the most influential artists of all time, Neil Young has set a standard of artistic integrity and iconoclastic creativity. Before starting his multi-platinum solo career, he was a founding member of the folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield and worked with the groups Crazy Horse and Crosby, Stills and Nash. The Canadian singer-songwriter was recognized by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 for his work as a solo artist and was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1982.
Realistically speaking, Homegrown is neither a 'masterpiece', nor a 'cash grab'. Instead, it's a worthwhile addition that fills a small but significant gap in Neil Young's rich, rewarding catalog. Long lost album found. One thing is not in doubt here and that's the absolutely stunning Harvest-quality LP sound... I hate to write this but I will: Homegrown is worth buying (which I did, no promo) if just for the sound, though of course there's more here than just great sound. While I wouldn't say this about some of his more recent new releases, this one is a definite 'must have' for Neil fans.
This is an album that proves something beautiful and enduring can come from even the most dire circumstances.
After 46 years, Neil Young unearths a lost but highly consequential album, a collection of humble, stripped-back love songs he began writing at what was arguably the artistic zenith of his career.
- AAA Vinyl LP
- Recorded in analog in 1974 and early 1975
- Mixed to original stereo analog master tapes
- Original mixes restored by John Hanlon
- Mastered by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering from the original analog master tapes
- Made in the Netherlands
- Separate Ways
- Love Is A Rose
- We Don't Smoke It No More
- White Line
- Little Wing
- Star Of Bethlehem