Monday, July 29, 2013

Neil Young - Everybody's Rockin'

This month (on July 27th), we marked the thirtieth anniversary of Everybody’s Rockin’, the thirteenth studio album from Neil Young.

He was accompanied by the Shocking Pinks, who shared co-billing on the album. This one-off group consisted of Larry Byrom (piano and backing vocals), Anthony Crawford (backing vocals), Tim Drummond (upright bass), Karl Himmel (snare drum), Ben Keith (saxophone and lead guitar) and Rick Palombi (backing vocals). The 1983 release charted at number 50 in the UK, number 46 on the US Billboard Hot 200, number 30 in Australia, number 22 in Canada, number 21 in New Zealand, and number 15 in Sweden.

Where as Young’s previous album from 1982 Trans (click here for that review) was more of a modern, synth record, this one went down the route of rockabilly. It was a mix of classic rock ‘n’ roll songs and original compositions.

Side one begins with “Betty Lou’s Got a New Pair of Shoes”, a cover of the 1958 pop and R&B hit by Bobby Freeman.

Blues man Slim Harpo wrote and recorded “Rainin’ in My Heart” in 1961. Young uses his harmonica to add to the song’s sorrowful mood on this cover.

“Payola Blues”, written by Young and Keith, makes a derogatory comment on the relationship between record labels and radio station programming managers.

The meandering mid-tempo “Wonderin’” was released as a single but failed to make much noise. I remember hearing this one on the local rock station occasionally in the early 80’s.

“Kinda Fonda Wanda”, written by Young and Drummond, was written to amuse Young’s wife. It name-drops some classic rock song gals.

Side two starts with another original tune “Jellyroll Man”. I am impressed with how it sounds exactly like a song that could have been released in the late 50’s, from the lyrical structure to the musical quality.

Next up is another cover by Young and the band. “Bright Lights, Big City” was a 1961 R&B smash for Jimmy Reed.

“Cry, Cry, Cry” was also released as a single. I like the piano on this one, and Young puts in a guitar solo too.

“Mystery Train”, written by Junior Parker, was originally released in 1953; Elvis Presley covered the tune early in his career.

The original title track “Everybody’s Rockin’” closes things out.

Clocking in at just over twenty-five minutes total, Everybody’s Rockin’ is a quick record but it really fits the style of the classic rock model. I enjoy the music from the 50’s and early 60’s, so this album really hit a good spot for me.

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