Homegrown (Neil Young album)
|Studio album by Neil Young|
|Recorded||November 1974 – January 1975 Quadrafonic Studios, Nashville, Tennessee; Broken Arrow Ranch, Redwood City, California; Village Recorders, Los Angeles, California; London, England.|
|Genre||Country rock, Folk rock, Rock|
|Producer||Neil Young, David Briggs, Elliot Mazer|
|Neil Young chronology|
Homegrown is an unreleased country-rock album by Neil Young. It was so near to being released that a cover had been created. At the last moment however, Neil Young chose to drop Homegrown and release Tonight's the Night instead. Young stated that he had a playback party for Homegrown and Tonight's the Night happened to be on the same reel. He decided to release Tonight's the Night after that listening because of "its overall strength in performance and feeling" and because Homegrown "was just a very down album."
The album was largely acoustic, with many of the songs being solo performances of Young on guitar and harmonica. It was also quite personal, and revealed much of Young's feelings on his failing relationship at the time with actress Carrie Snodgress. Young has said that "Homegrown is the missing link between Harvest, Comes a Time, Old Ways and Harvest Moon."
Over the next few years many of the songs would be released on subsequent albums; "Pardon My Heart" on Zuma, "Star of Bethlehem" and an alternate take of "Homegrown" on American Stars 'N Bars, "Love Is a Rose" and "Deep Forbidden Lake" on Decade, and "Little Wing" and "The Old Homestead" on Hawks & Doves. "Homegrown" was re-recorded with Crazy Horse on American Stars 'N Bars, as was "White Line" for Ragged Glory. The lyrics of "Florida" were superimposed over the credits for On the Beach on the insert that accompanied the original vinyl release of Tonight's the Night. The song "Barefoot Floors" was covered by Nicolette Larson on her album Sleep, Baby, Sleep.
Unlike similar unreleased collections from this period of Young's career, such as Chrome Dreams and the session acetates for Tonight's the Night, Homegrown has never been circulated in whole as a bootleg.
Songs recorded during the Homegrown sessions
- "Homegrown" - "a goofy tribute to hemp recorded in a much higher version by the Horse."
- "Vacancy" - "a killer "Vacancy" features Young mangling guitar and harmonica simultaneously."
- "Homefires" - a "stark acoustic performance."
- "Try" - "in "Try", a faint ray of optimism that followed 'Separate Ways' in one running order for the album, Young paid tribute to Carrie Snodgress by adapting bits of her language into verse: 'I'd like to take a chance,' yelps Young over a rollicking piano, 'but shit, Mary, I can't dance.'" Emmylou Harris also contributed background vocals.
- "Star of Bethlehem"
- "Little Wing"
- "The Old Homestead" - "a weird allegorical tale with allusions to the Horse."
- "Pardon My Heart"
- "Love Art Blues" - a "stark acoustic performance."
- "Frozen Man"
- "Separate Ways" - "the song begins in the middle of a doomy chord; Tim Mulligan lunged for the record button just as Young and the band dove into the song. Levon Helm rattles out a slow counterpoint as Ben Keith spins up a stark, bird-on-the-wire steel solo that has to be one of the lonesomest sounds ever recorded. "I won't apologize/The light shone in from your eyes/It isn't gone/And it will soon come back again," sings Young, sounding dead."
- "Deep Forbidden Lake"
- "Love is a Rose"
- "We Don't Smoke It" - "an inebriated blues vamp that would've sounded right at home on Tonight's the Night."
- "White Line" - "a bittersweet song that Young had recorded as an acoustic duet with The Band's Robbie Robertson in England a few days before CSNY's Wembley show."
- "Give Me Strength" - "on December 16, Young recorded "Give Me Strength." The lyrics catch him struggling to make the final break from Snodgress. It features a bittersweet chorus: "The happier you fly, the sadder you fall/The laughter in your eye is never all." Untrained singer Ellen Talbot sang along on harmony, providing a crazy edge more than suitable for one of the last Snodgress songs. The sound is almost mystical. Guitar and harmonica, plus luminous overdubs of a tinkling piano and a finger tapping a paper cup, add glimmers of color that come and go. An impressionistic sound, precisely constructed without losing any of its spontaneous feel."
Other songs from these sessions include "Barefoot Floors", "Bad News", "Tie Plate Yodel #3", "Kansas", "Mexico" (the latter two "solo Young performances—short, fragmentary and hallucinogenic") and "Florida" ("some cockamamie spoken-word dream [printed out, for reasons no one can remember, in the booklet for 'Tonight's the Night'], set to the shrieking accompaniment of either Young or Keith drawing a wet finger around the rim of a glass").
There has been much confusion and speculation as to which of these 10 songs were slated for the album's final track selection. Additionally, Young also had other songs like "Mediterranean," "Through My Sails," and "Hawaiian Sunrise" (aka "Maui Mama"), scheduled for a water-themed album; other songs, including "Human Highway," "Pushed it Over the End" and "Traces" were saved for the planned CSNY reunion album that would not materialize for another 14 years. Contrary to speculation, these songs were never considered for the Homegrown project.