Neil Young – Summer Songs (2022)

Posted by Green on January 26, 2022
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Summer Songs, an unreleased album that he recorded by himself at his Broken Arrow Ranch in 1987. The compelling eight-song set is acoustic throughout, though he does supplement one song with synthesized bass, percussion and keyboards. In some respects, it’s akin to the acoustic Hitchhiker album that he shelved in 1976 and didn’t release until 2017, as most of the songs surfaced on future albums. And like that set of songs, these are all gems.

“American Dream” wound up as the snappy title track of CSNY’s 1988 reunion album, which also featured “Name of Love.” “Someday,” “Wrecking Ball” and “Hanging on a Limb” are among the linchpins of Freedom, his “comeback” album in 1989. “For the Love of Man” provides heart to his 2012 classic with Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill; and “One of These Days” is one of many highlights from Harvest Moon, his 1992 sequel to his classic 1972 outing, Harvest. And though it’s yet to make its way onto an official album, “Last of His Kind” is known to many fans due to Neil playing it at Farm Aid through the years.

In a conversation with Rick Rubin on Rubin’s Broken Record podcast, Neil called the tracks “sketches” and not demos, which I imagine means he heard them as pencilled outlines and not completed works. Still, what’s here is starkly beautiful and far better than what he released around the same time (Landing on Water, Life, This Note’s for You and, with CSNY, American Dream).

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