Neil Young

Road Rock, Vol. 1: Friends & Relatives

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For some reason, Neil Young decided that his 2000 tour was particularly hot, so he decided to record a live album and rush release it by the end of the year. So, that explains the appearance of Road Rock, Vol. 1, an eight-song collection recorded with an ensemble featuring Spooner Oldham on keyboards, Duck Dunn on bass, Jim Keltner on drums, and Astrid and Pegi Young on vocals -- thereby explaining the "Friends & Relatives" subtitle. This band is pretty good, even supple, but this doesn't feel necessary at any time and suffers from indulgence. And it doesn't shy away from this indulgence, either, opening with an 18-minute "Cowgirl in the Sand" that only diehards could sit through. And, in a sense, that summarizes this album, since only diehards will thrill to an 11-minute "Words," a previously unreleased "Fool for Your Love," a ten-minute "Tonight's the Night," or an "All Along the Watchtower" featuring opener Chrissie Hynde on guitar. This isn't bad, but it's not really good, either, and as the third live album in one decade, it's not just anticlimatic, it's unnecessary even for diehards, who probably would find this more exciting as a bootleg than an official album.

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