It would seem too easy for Neil Young to just keep re-releasing the next Harvest. But being the adventurous artist that he is means chances will be taken and whims will be followed. High highs and low lows, Tonight’s the Night to Trans, one is never quite sure what to expect when old Neil presents his latest.
In Chrome Dreams II, released last month, Neil gives us the goods. He selectively turns the way back machine to the 1970s with “Beautiful Blue-Bird” (feels like Harvest), to the 1980s with “Ordinary People” (think Blue Notes) and to the 1990s with “Dirty Old Man” (smells like Ragged Glory). The gem of the album might be found in the 14-minute-plus “No Hidden Path” featuring Shakey himself turning it up to 11 on his electric guitar.
It’s somewhat odd that Young, now 61 years young, chose to call this album Chrome Dreams II considering the original Chrome Dreams was never officially released. With songs like “Powderfinger” and “Like a Hurricane” emerging from those storied sessions, Dreams would have been special. Nonetheless, this reprise, while not quite an “all-timer,” is perhaps Neil’s best work in years. (Al Pils)