it's only castles burning

  • Aug. 28th, 2007 at 2:37 PM
my_daroga: Mucha's "Dance" (fantomas)
Sundries:

First, science. The NY Times article traces the shrug/upturned palm gesture back to a primordial submissive gesture used by reptiles on up. Including chimps, who understand it to mean "gimme" or bonobos, for whom it often means "play."

Hmm. Where have we seen this before? Dogs, maybe? The play bow is one of their most distinctive moves, and is pretty much the opposite of the aggressive, on the toes stance. Well, then there's plain rolling over.

But anyway, I find this interesting because of the links I've already discerned between human and animal behavior. In reading books on dog aggression, so much of what I've learned seems to relate to children and people as well. I mean, dogs are pretty much two year old children all their lives. Lots of the same techniques apply.

And now for something completely different.

Neil Young. If you like him at all, you owe it to yourself (and him) to go out right now and get Live at Massey Hall, 1971. Young was 24 and in the best voice of his life. Seriously--if you've ever said, "Man, he writes good songs, but was his throat ripped out by coyotes?" you will take it back. He's crystal clear here, isn't straining for any of the notes, and achieves a strange, androgynous quality that made me tear up multiple times on first listen.

It's also a really good time for him song-wise, and most of these songs were unknown to the public at the time. He plays them all on acoustic guitar or piano, and I was surprised to learn how great an acoustic player he is--usually, I'm so focused on his electric solos. The other surprise is hearing these songs before they became Young/Crazy Horse arrangements: "Cowgirl in the Sang" without the harmonies, "Ohio" as a quiet acoustic plea. "A Man Needs a Maid" is intriguingly paired with "Heart of Gold" and, stripped of that atrocious string arrangement, stands as a lonely man's testament to what he thinks will save him, and won't.

This isn't the only place you'll hear Young on acoustic guitar. But it's a pitch-perfect concert, and one he once said (in the biography Shakey) that he'd never release because it's "too good."

I kind of agree. I mean, not that it shouldn't come out, and obviously he doesn't actually think that either. But it's so beautiful it almost hurts. If I wasn't already a fan--and I admit, it took a few years for me to really respond to him--this would have got me there.

Side note: this is a precursor to a purported archive of Young's work, including video footage of various things. The trailer, here, looks intriguing.
massey hall track listing )

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