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Status Quo - Pictures of Matchstick Men


A couple of years ago Neil Young recorded an album of experimental ambient rock featuring just an electric guitar and his voice. A year or so before that he recorded a concept album about his electric car. Now he's recorded an album of garage rock covers of traditional American folk songs.

Say what you will about Neil Young, but he's not exactly predictable.

So what does a set of traditional folk songs sound like when sung by Neil Young and Crazy Horse? Well... pretty outstanding actually. It's rough, it's bonkers and it's joyously indulgent in many ways. You get the impression that at this point in Young's career he will indulge every whim that pops into his head. Occasionally, as with Fork In The Road in 2009, it's a disappointing misstep. In this case, however, you can't help but smile when you hear his take on songs that are oh-so familiar, such as Clementine or Jesus' Chariot (She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain), transformed into garage rock jams that threaten to descend into chaos but never quite get there. One thing is for certain: you will never listen to these songs in the same way again.

There are moments which don't quite work (God Save The Queen) and you probably have to be in the right mood to want to dig this one out of your record collection, but this is not just an enjoyable oddity in Neil Young's ever expanding back catalogue. This is a very good record which proves that, no matter how long in the tooth you seem to be and no matter how many accusations of creative bankruptcy are thrown at you, there is always joy in surprising critics and having a damn good time while you're doing it.

KEY TRACKS: Oh Susannah, Clementine, Travel On

1. Oh Susannah
2. Clementine
3. Tom Dula
4. Gallows Pole
5. Get A Job
6. Travel On
7. High Flyin Bird
8. Jesus' Chariot (She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain)
9. This Land Is Your Land
10. Wayfarin' Stranger
11. God Save The Queen


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