Hello, Mr. Soul – Neil Young Covers (1967-1978)
If, like me, you like music you probably marvel every now and then about how that triple-LP compilation (and double-CD/double-tape) Decade captures just that very first decade of Neil Young at work. A couple of groups, some early solo work and then those classic cuts from a handful of magical albums from across the early/mid-70s; a wonderful compilation – one you can walk away from for a while and then (instantly) fall back in love with it. You can leave it on the shelf for years and it’s still (always) your best friend. You can play it over and over and never tire of it.
Well, you need to head on over to Aquarium Drunkard (a place you probably visit anyway, or certainly should if you’ve never been there before) where you’ll find this compilation of covers of Neil Young songs from that same time-period, that first decade in business.
Some of them are very well known – Nicolette Larson singing Lotta Love, Linda Rondstadt doing Love is a Rose – others are perhaps not as well known, you might have even forgotten all about acts like Matthew’s Southern Comfort (Tell Me Why) or Undisputed Truth (Down By The River).
The recent 20 Feet From Stardom film (and its accompanying soundtrack) introduced Merry Clayton’s fabulous cover of Southern Man to a lot of people, reminded a bunch of others too no doubt – and that’s here on this compilation also. It’s here alongside Jackie DeShannon taking on Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Bettye LaVette’s version of Heart of Gold, The Byrds’ version of Cowgirl in the San and Buffy Sainte-Marie singing Helpless.
A thoughtful – and fascinating – collection. That huge depth he offered across that first decade, here it is again – a sampling from it, reinterpreted. Many of these versions come class to surpassing Neil’s original tracks. It’s that good.