So last night I tried my hand at a little bit of vinyl based Feng Shui. Nothing major, I just flipped a book case that I had been using as a horizontal platform for my stereo to the right way up and put the records back in in no particular order. When I was done this left me staring at a copy of 'On The Beach' a record I have owned in some shape or form about five times over the years, the first copy being one I bought in Tampa, Florida about ten years ago. I don't recall where I got this particular one. Anyway, I was done so I put it on my freshly dusted turntable and the familiarity of 'Walk On' filled the sitting room.
I don't know why but I have always felt a little guilty for liking Neil Young, it's not that he upset Lynyrd Skynyrd with 'Alabama' and it isn't because I have always seen him as 'secretly Canadian', a Cannuck pretending not to be. It's not his hair, or the fact that for much of my life he has looked like somebody's dad. It isn't even the Phantasm like midget druid's that he used as roadies on that Live Rust video. The cover of 'Harvest' always used to bother me a little mainly because I always thought it looked like a BREAD album sleeve.... but that isn't it either. Maybe I was touched by somebody that looked like Neil Young when I was in the Cub Scouts or something. Anyway...
'Revolution Blues' comes on and for it's duration I am left wondering why this record is so roundly canonized. Despite the entertaining lyrics Neil's voice grates over an obvious and lazy sounding song. Turns out it's about Neil's meeting with Charles Manson which is nice, but not enough to save the song.
The other two songs on side 1 come and go, side 2 begins, it's good, it's all good but not exactly spectacular. It makes me wonder if I should also re-asses 'Tonights the Night' an album I talk up when mentioned but one that I haven't given real time to in years. Then 'Ambulance Blues' comes on.
This is starting to sound habitual, my picking single songs from album track lists and mooning over them like a pie-faced kid still pink with the afterglow of his very first kiss. Anywyay, 'Ambulance Blues' comes on.
8 minutes 57 seconds later and 'Ambulance Blues' goes on again, this time I sit quiet and in perfect symetry between the two speakers and I listen to what sounds like a world weary and wise man passing awaywith a smile on his face, a funeral soundtrack for somebody I don't know.
According to a certain on-line Encyclopedic resource 'Ambulance Blues' is about 'Richard Nixon, CSNY and Neil's critics' oh, okay... I don't care what it's about music being the 'healing force' that it is the inexplicable guilt that I felt at liking Neil Young is now all but gone.