by Neil Young


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Neil Young's most popular album, Harvest benefited from the delay in its release (it took 18 months to complete due to Young's back injury), which whetted his audience's appetite, the disintegration of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Young's three erstwhile partners sang on the album, along with Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor), and most of all, a hit single. "Heart of Gold," released a month before Harvest, was already in the Top 40 when the LP hit the stores, and it soon topped the charts. It's fair to say, too, that Young simply was all-pervasive by this time: "Heart of Gold" was succeeded at number one by "A Horse with No Name" by America, which was a Young soundalike record. But successful as Harvest was (and it was the best-selling album of 1972), it has suffered critically from reviewers who see it as an uneven album on which Young repeats himself. Certainly, Harvest employs a number of jarringly different styles. Much of it is country-tinged, with Young backed by a new group dubbed the Stray Gators who prominently feature steel guitarist Ben Keith, though there is also an acoustic track, a couple of electric guitar-drenched rock performances, and two songs on which Young is accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra. But the album does have an overall mood and an overall lyric content, and they conflict with each other: The mood is melancholic, but the songs mostly describe the longing for and fulfillment of new love. Young is perhaps most explicit about this on the controversial "A Man Needs a Maid," which is often condemned as sexist by people judging it on the basis of its title. In fact, the song contrasts the fears of committing to a relationship with simply living alone and hiring help, and it contains some of Young's most autobiographical writing. Unfortunately, like "There's a World," the song is engulfed in a portentous orchestration. Over and over, Young sings of the need for love in such songs as "Out on the Weekend," "Heart of Gold," and "Old Man" (a Top 40 hit), and the songs are unusually melodic and accessible. The rock numbers, "Are You Ready for the Country" and "Alabama," are in Young's familiar style and unremarkable, and "There's a World" and "Words (Between the Lines of Age)" are the most ponderous and overdone Young songs since "The Last Trip to Tulsa." But the love songs and the harrowing portrait of a friend's descent into heroin addiction, "The Needle and the Damage Done," remain among Young's most affecting and memorable songs.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/14/2009
Label: Reprise / Wea
UPC: 0093624978992
catalogNumber: 517937
Rank: 2046

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Neil Young   Primary Artist,Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals
London Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble,Track Performer
Graham Nash   Vocals,Background Vocals
Linda Ronstadt   Vocals,Background Vocals
Steve Stills   Vocals,Background Vocals
James Taylor   Vocals,Background Vocals
Jack Nitzsche   Guitar,Piano,Keyboards,Slide Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar
Ben Keith   Dobro,Guitar,Pedal Steel Guitar,Vocals
Kenny Buttrey   Drums
David Crosby   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Tim Drummond   Bass,Drums
John Harris   Piano
Teddy Irwin   Guitar
David Meecham   Conductor
Stray Gators   Group,Track Performer
James McMahon   Piano
James Taylor Move   Banjo,Guitar,Vocals
John Harris   Piano

Technical Credits

Neil Young   Composer,Producer,Audio Production
Jack Nitzsche   Arranger,Producer,Audio Production
Henry Lewy   Producer,Audio Production
Elliot Mazer   Producer,Audio Production

Customer Reviews

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Harvest 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
a classic rock station played ''old man'' and the music and voice carried me back to the days when I was young and wild. This music never gets out dated. It still has the same power as it did twenty years ago. Do you have this on CD?
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the greatest tapes to listen to with sandals on, or no shoes at all!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like mellow music this is the album to buy. Neil Young puts his heart & soul into his music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently had the awesome good fortune of attending a live performance by Neil Young in Philadelphia. The man is over 60 and rocks like a teenager! He has overcome brain surgery as an adult and polio as a child. I purposely listened to this CD to see how he has evolved. His music is not out-dated, it's timeless! "Old Man" still captures that feeling when you cross over from adolescent to adult and can be appreciated by someone 24 "and so much more" and someone who is twice that age (like myself). "The Needle and the Damage Done" is as relevant today as the 60's and 70's. I recommend that everyone give Neil Young a listen. This album (remember albums?) was a number one seller in 1972. According to the liner notes, he performed nearly all of the album in a back brace due to a painful condition. This was over 30 years ago and he is still going strong. James Taylor and Linda Rondstadt provide backing vocals on "Heart of Gold". Additional background vocals on the album were provided by David Crosby, Graham Nash and Stephens Stills (sound familiar to anyone - CSNY?) If you don't recognize those initials, you need to do some Classic Rock research to get up to speed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album was released just as I was returning from VietNam. I heard it on radio station KXLS in Oklahoma City, stopped in at a local record store and bought it immediately. I was raised in a house where Hank Williams only stopped playing when something St Louis bluesy came on the radio. I never liked either and during my enlistment had come to enjoy classical music and especially Stravinsky. Young has taken the soap opera melodrama out of the country and the "poor little me" out of the blues and sings of the sorrow of every man in a real world way. It really struck home with me and apparently with the rest of the country. I wore out the LP of the album that I had bought and now I'm buying it on CD. If you haven't heard this one, you should. It's a little bit of a downer album, but if you know about positive thinking, it will help you think away your stress, and feel better for having listened. Put this recording on, relax, turn down the lights, and listen to the music and the lyrics - this is not back ground music - and I think you'll be glad you did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fantastic album!!! "Heart of gold" is one of the best ballads ever written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The album that solidified Mr. Young as the legitimate solo contender to Bob Dylan. Album set a precedent that was an impossible act to follow for other artists. Although, not his best it still speaks volumes of what a real artist is expected to produce.
JohnQ More than 1 year ago
There is a whole lot more going on in this album than just "Heart of Gold" and even that great song is made better when heard in the context of the whole album. One of the best albums of all time and deserves to be a part of your collection.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
There are two good songs from this record. The songs are "Heart of Gold," and " Are You Ready For The Country." The second song was re-recorded by Waylon Jennings later on in the 1970's and is a better version. I do not care for the symphony orchestra in two of the selections making it very dated. This not a recommended record from this buyer. The group " America," had some better material.