Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Certain Songs #1273: Neil Young – “Too Far Gone” | Medialoper

Album: Freedom
Year: 1989

Recorded at Plywood Digital, Broken Arrow Ranch on March 19, 1989

From my standpoint as a lifelong Neil Young fan who discovered him at the very end of his amazing 1970s run, Freedom was probably the most important album he ever made. After a decade of wandering in the wilderness of his own muse, it was reasonable to assume that his best days were behind him.

And maybe they were, but I personally think that Neil Young was as much of a force to be reckoned with in the 1990s as he was in the 1970s, as Freedom kicked off a streak of good-to-great albums that in toto comprised a completely unexpected and utterly unprecedented second act.

Message: never count a great artist out, especially when they are a solo artist, prolific and a lifer. Obviously, the comp is Bob Dylan, who had his own career renaissance just as Neil’s was ending, but Dylan’s consisted of five studio albums — Time Out of Mind, “Love and Theft,” Modern Times, Together Through Life and Tempest (and I’m being nice to Together Through Life) — over the space of 15 years, whereas Neil’s consisted of six albums in seven years, plus three live albums, to boot.

When I woke up you were gone
And the sun was on the lawn
Empty pillow with perfume on
I smelled it

Sitting on the back side of Freedom in between the hardcore anti-drug “No More” and the summation of “Rockin in the Free World,” “Too Far Gone” is as quietly as heavy as either of those songs. Originally recorded for Chrome Dreams in 1977 with just Frank “Poncho” Sampedro accompanying him on mandolin, “Too Far Gone” is recast as classic Neil country-rock, telling a tale of doomed fucked-up love — or more likely fucked-up lust — at first sight.

Well, we met in my favorite bar
Took a ride in my old car
But I still don’t know how
We made it home

Was I too far gone
Too far gone
Too far gone
For you?

As the umpteenth Chrome Dreams song benefitting from a full-band rerecording, “Too Far Gone” benefits from the groove that bassist Rick Rosas and drummer Chad Cromwell fall into, as well as mainstay Ben Keith’s pedal steel and backing vocals.

It also benefits from a straightforward electric guitar solo the skirts around the melody and sets up the final verse.

We had drugs and we had booze
But we still had something to lose
And by dawn I wanted
To marry you
With our attitudes by day
And our secret dreams by night
Can we really live our lives
That way

Was I too far gone
Too far gone
Too far gone
For you?

As the song makes clear from the opening couplet, the answer to the question — no matter how many times Neil might rephrase it — is still “yes.” As a matter of fact, Neil, you were absolutely too far gone, but not so far gone that you couldn’t recognize how much re-recording this song would help.

“Too Far Gone”

“Too Far Gone” live in Tokyo, 1976

“Too Far Gone” (1977 outttake)

“Too Far Gone” live in Germany, 1989

Every Certain Song Ever
A filterable, searchable & sortable somewhat up to date database with links to every “Certain Song” post I’ve ever written.

Check it out!

Certain Songs Spotify playlist
(It’s recommended that you listen to this on Spotify as their embed only has 200 songs.)

Support “Certain Songs” with a donation on Patreon
Go to my Patreon page

[from https://ift.tt/2lwcL5j]

No comments: