Shuffle Aces: Neil Young – Down By The River

how accurate is carbon datingIn my youth I had a bunch of friends who would go on and on about Neil Young, but I never really got it. That was more about his Harvest era stuff – but that was a time when I was devouring punk and Young just never seemed to fit. A few years later a mate turned me onto Ragged Glory with its overdriven guitars and I was hooked. The folky stuff was still hard to grasp, but at least I had an entry point. Eventually I listened to Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – and in Down By The River I found a song to fall in love with.

The lazy, sparse, bluesy feel of the song really grabbed me, but my favourite part was the solo: 38 times in a row he plays the same note. It was the punk ethos captured perfectly, and it works brilliantly. The first clip here is the album version of the track, but it’s well worth listening to the live version below it from FarmAid, a sprawling jam built around that same repetitive bass line. I heard it for the first time in ages the other day and wondered why it had been so long between drinks.

You can find all the Shuffle Ace tracks – including this one – on a Spotify playlist here.

Shuffle Aces is a series of posts that highlights a song of the week that “shuffling” has brought forth. With all the streaming services it’s not just an iPod on shuffle mode that we use to discover new stuff, but the principle remains the same: hit play and wait to see what gems come forth.

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