I’ve known the song “Long May You Run” for a long time, but I never really realized it came from a non-Neil Young album. The album is by The Stills-Young Band and the history of the album may be more interesting than the album itself (in sum: CSN&Y broke up, C&N made and album so S&Y made an album. C&N were supposed to be on the S&Y album but they fought and S&Y removed their vocals).
So what we get is nine songs. Five written by Neil Young and four by Stephen Stills. The songs are played by Stills’ solo backing band and while the credits suggest that they played on each others’ songs, it doesn’t really seem like it. It seems like you get 5 Neil Young solo songs and four Stephen Stills solo songs.
It’s also odd that the cover of the album shows buffalo running in the plains (nod to Buffalo Springfield, I’m sure) but so many of these songs are about water. Maybe that disconnect feeds the whole thing.
By the way, “Long May You Run” is a catchy little country number that I never realized was about his car until recently.
Stephen Stills’ first song is the utterly unsubtle, possibly seductive in the 70s but hilariously outre in 2001 “Make Love to You.” It’s full of 70s synths and has a very serious tone (despite the 70s synth). And the lyrics, hoo boy:
Girl your body said everything and I know you knew/I wanna make love to you, make you feel all right/I wanna make love to you, yes, it’ll take all night
Which is about as long as the shower you need to take after hearing that song.
“Midnight on the Bay” is a pleasant enough song from Neil. It’s a bit too much into the 70′s-lite music genre for my liking, but it’s not too terrible.
The thing about Stephen Stills is I like his voice. It’s unusual and unique and I like hearing him sing. But man his lyrics are crazy. I like the opening riff of “Black Coral” with its staccato piano. Yet it seems like he’s got but one thing on his mind. The song is ostensibly about being underwater:
Got to move slow/Take it easy down there/You’ve only so much air/When you get a little deeper/If you slow down/You might keep her/The sea, unforgiving and she’s hard/But she’ll make love to you/Show you glimpses of the stars.
But maybe that’s metaphorical. Because when you go deeper, “I saw Jesus, and it made sense that he was there.”
“Ocean Girl” is sort of Neil’s answer to that song. It’s got a very 70s wah wah sound and a very easy to sing chorus. Consider it a catchy but inessential Neil song. “Let It Shine” is also Neil’s song (and there’s more stuff about his cars here–so you know he’s really into it). It’s a more substantial song than most of the rest although it has a very easy feel.
“12/8 Blues” (love the title) feels like an Eagles song (“Life in the Fast Lane” to be specific, although they both came out in the same year. Hmm). It’s fairly generic (like the title) but I like it (crazy time signatures are my thing, man).
“Fontainebleau” is an interesting angsty Neil song that I think would have done very well with CSN&Y. I never really paid attention to the lyrics before, but it’s fairly interesting and the guitar solos are soft but cool.
The final song goes to Stills. “Guardian Angel” feels like a combination of all of his other songs, and it’s probably his best on the disc. It’s got the slinky 70s vibe of the first song, the staccato piano and, interestingly a chorus that would sound great with the 4 part harmony of CSN&Y. It also rocks harder than anything on the record (which isn’t saying all that much). The end has a cool extended instrumental section which I rather like as well.
So this is a weird little hybrid record. There’s some good stuff for Neil Young fans, although it’s far from essential. I actually don’t know much about Stills’ solo work so I don’t know how this compares, but he does seem a little one-track here.
[READ: November 4, 2011] “He’ll Take El Alto”
I don’t read Gourmet magazine. I’m not a foodie and it seems like it’s just a food magazine. But here’s the second article in Gourmet by a writer that I really like. The first of course would be David Foster Wallace’s “Consider the Lobster.” Is Gourmet more than just recipes? Does it often have contributions from respected authors? Am I missing out?
This issue is the Latino issue, so it deals with food from Cuba, El Salvador, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. And Junot Díaz is our resident Dominican, so he’s given the task of talking up the cuisine.
Unlike Wallace’s essay, which was about a trip to the Maine Lobster Festival, Díaz’s essay is about how upper Manhattan (known as El Alto) has become a hotbed for Dominican food.
Díaz explains how when Dominicans first arrived in New York, there were no restaurants. Dominicans had to eat Cuban food to approximate their home food. But now that there are vast enclaves of Dominicans living in El Alto, there are excellent restaurants everywhere (the sure sign that a culture has made it is when you have people from other cultures as your waitstaff).
Díaz revel as his own and his friends’ and acquaintances’ preferences for favorite Dominican restaurants. As this article is four years old and most of the places seem to be holes in the wall (which everyone knows serves the best food, even if they don’t last very long), I’m not going to bother saying which places they are or checking to see if they are still extant). Okay, well, Malecon is still around, anyhow.
But in addition to the fancy restaurants, Díaz is also pleased with the pushcarts and chimichurri trucks. In fact, while waiting to go to dinner one afternoon, Díaz saw one of these trucks and couldn’t resist ordering a kipe (bulgher dough stuffed with meat and raisins), an alcapurria (a deep-fried pocket made from yuca) and a pastelito de pollo (fried dough stuffed with chicken). Mind you, this is while he was waiting to go to dinner!
The end of the article includes a glossary of what all of these yummy food stuffs are. So, if you’re in the mood for some Dominican food (which I am now, thanks Junot), grab this article, grab the glossary and head to El Alto.
For ease of searching, I include: Diaz