Neil Young’s Chrome Dreams II was a smorgasbord highlighted by one epic triumph

Share this:

A new Neil Young release doesn’t get all the fanfare of some of his fellow longtime legends, but that’s not because he generates crap. It’s because he puts out albums so frequently that he sometimes get taken for granted.

When Chrome Dreams II arrived on October 23, 2007, for instance, it marked his forth release in just 18 months. Young seems entirely unconcerned about the market consequences of not spacing out albums for maximum market impact. But, then again, it’s his consistent unwillingness to bend to bean counters and marketers that makes him part of a sadly dying breed of artists.

To be fair, then then-recent Living With War from May of 2006 remained Neil Young’s last album of all freshly recorded material, as he’s been (finally) pulling old unreleased recordings out of the vault.

Chrome Dreams II – which served as a sequel of sorts to sequel to Chrome Dreams, a 1977 album that was shelved in order to release American Stars ‘N Bars – is really a mishmash of most of Neil Young’s sides, to say nothing of several of his eras.

It begins with a couple of gentle Harvest-like countrified rock tunes and goes Crazy Horse at other times (“Dirty Old Man” and “Hidden Path,” the latter of which was Grammy nominated for best solo rock vocal performance) but the central tune was the 18-minute long “Ordinary People” with his short-lived Bluenotes horn band. It seems to have as many verses as the live version of “Sugar Mountain,” but its signature mini-character sketches and loose playing makes it better than anything on This Note’s For You.

“Beautiful Bluebird” dated back to Young’s Old Ways era, while “Boxcar” had been recorded for the unissued Times Square album. Freedom was released instead, and sessions for that project produced “Ordinary People,” long considered one of the great unreleased Neil Young songs – until Chrome Dreams II thankfully excavated it at last.

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
Share this:
Close