Billy Talbot

Alive in the Spirit World

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After playing with Neil Young for 30-plus-years, Crazy Horse's bassist, Billy Talbot strikes out on his own with his debut solo record, Alive in the Spirit World. Talbot's gravely voice is even shakier than Young's, but it's far from unpleasant, and has a razored charm all its own. And he's a good songwriter. Fans of the Crazy Horse sound will not be put off by the sonics here. The distorted raw guitar, plodding tempos, snaky lead lines, rudimentary time-keeping, all of these are endearing qualities in this context. Produced by Talbot and Mark Humphreys, the small-group setting, with plenty of volume, warmth and immediacy places Talbot's songs in fine light. Talbot is a subtle lyricist; he lets his word fall into his melodies and arrangements without effort, whispering atop the barely contained roar of the music. The standouts are the single, "Security Girl," and the title track. It is worth noting that Alive in the Spirit World is far more satisfying than any of Young's own efforts the past decade.

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