Crazy Horse “Crazy Horse”

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse was formed by the excellent songwriter Danny Whitten, who originally released an album while known as The Rockets, considered essential for collectors. Nils Lofgren, virtuoso guitarist, and Jack Nitzsche, Spector associate and renowned producer, joined when Neil Young recruited the band to back him on his 2nd solo album, and they were renamed Crazy Horse. Their debut is an excellent hard country rock LP that would prove the capability of the band apart from Neil Young’s lead vocal and songwriting.

This record packs a most satisfying punch. There are some bruisers on here in “Gone Dead Train” and the foot-stompin’ “Beggars Day” with its phaser/flanger effect penetrating the mix. Parts sound inspired by Young and “Dance, Dance, Dance,” under his pen, is a kickin country rock number with an old-timey feel. Arguably, the best tunes come from Whitten, like the hypnotic “Look At All The Things,” a soft and beautiful ballad, “I Don’t Want To Talk About It,” and of course the rollicking “Downtown” which would resurface on Neil’s Tonight’s The Night.

Sadly, Danny Whitten’s heroin use would lead to him being excused from Crazy Horse and he overdosed in late 1972. A major loss considering his unrealized talents, best heard on this album, and his death would partly influence the Ditch Trilogy.

Forget the whole story though. Forget Neil Young. Just get yourself some Crazy Horse and drive.

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“Look At All The Things”

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13 Comments.

  • If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect that this is actually Vic Chesnutt backed by Drive-By Truckers.

  • Brendan

    I truly believe in the democratic process, but whoever rated this album 5 stars out of 10 hasn’t listened to this record or doesn’t understand it, im(ns)ho. Speak up if you know better.

    (btw, Happy, glad to see you stop by)

  • ib

    Excellent choice, Brendan! The fact that Whitten’s material has dated so little is an accolade in itself.
    The strongest Neil Young material has seen the sadly dwindling Crazy Horse lending him support, and sooner or later anybody in their right mind can’t help but seek out this album.

    Once again, love the site! I need to spend some time checking it out in detail. Can’t argue with the “Hall of Fame” either…

  • Brendan

    Thanks, ib. I was thinking the same thing, I can’t understand why this record is not a widely known classic, specially NY fans.

  • cameo

    i rated it five stars. i’m a huge young fan and have this record because of the important connection. perhaps i just “don’t understand it,” but to me the best description of the record is “hit or miss.” rethinking it, maybe i should have given it 6 stars…it’s just not amazing to me.

    however, i love the site and the gems uncovered here have been great to dig into. thanks…

  • Brendan

    Ahh, don’t mind me. You are right to rate it as low as you want and I value your input. I think I was drunk commenting there, got a little defensive! ;)

  • Chris

    Brendan,

    This is one of my favorites from “Thr Rising Storm”. I love this site for albums such as this.

    C.

  • dk

    Considering that Danny Whitten fell into a heroin problem that led to his death, the sentence “This is a real good album to throw on for a fix” is probably a poor choice of words.

    Other than that, I’m really digging your site. Keep up the good work!

  • Brendan

    Yes, sir, you make a good point. I promise that I did not intend that as double-meaning or slang.

  • dk

    If it makes you feel any better, I wrote a really dumb review of this album whilst hammered on tequila. Bad idea…

  • Tom

    Dumb question maybe, but speaking of heroin, is Crazy Horse itself a reference to heroin. Number 2, Down by the River, must be about heroin, but I’ve seen some who say no. What do you think?

  • goto the website and all your questions will be answered….

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