Way Down In The Rust Bucket

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Reprise, 2021


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Just about any live album by Neil Young is a good one, and Way Down In The Rust Bucket is no exception. Recorded 20 years ago at The Catalyst bar in Santa Cruz, with Crazy Horse in support, it finds Young at his improvisational and rock ‘n’ roll best.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The performance was culled from the Neil Young archives. The sound is good for what was a house show but not spectacular by today's standards. The emphasis is on the songs, which takes away from the flow of the concert.  Still, it is lucky that he had the tape machine rolling as it chronicles one of Young's better live performances.

The two CD set combines some of his best-known material with a few deep cuts that combine into a satisfying set. The concert took place at the time of his Ragged Glory album release, so those songs tend to predominate.

The live setting provides a perfect vehicle for young to improvise on his guitar as he extends a number of songs far beyond their studio versions. "Like A Hurricane" is close to 13 minutes and "Love To Burn" comes in at just shy of 14 minutes; they are both a guitar extravaganza for Young. Several other tracks here come close in length, too.

A gem is the first live recording of "Dangerbird," 15 years after its release on Zuma. Add in such classics as "Cinnamon Girl" and "Cortez The Killer," and you have a statement from the early part of his career.

Crazy Horse has supported Young on numerous projects and he is comfortable and at ease with them They tend to bring out the best in him. Bassist Billy Talbot, drummer Ralph Molina, and guitarist Frank Sampedro provide excellent support without getting in the way.

Way Down In The Rust Bucket is a raw performance of rock ‘n’ roll at its best.

Rating: A-

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