ALBUM REVIEW: Tuscaloosa (Live) by Neil Young + Stray Gators

By Loic Tuckey | 19/07/2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Tuscaloosa (Live) by Neil Young + Stray Gators

GODFATHER of grunge Neil Young continues to delve into his archives with the fourth release in his live Performance Series. 

Recorded during his 1973 concert in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, this 11-track album features an excellent mix of crowd-friendly Americana/folk songs accompanied by his backing band, the Stray Gators. 

The three-time Grammy Award winner’s career has lasted more than 45 years — but his work produced in the early 70s is what defines him. 

This snap-shot of the live concert is opened by the Canadian singer-songwriter performing versions of a couple of pleasing stripped-back numbers. 

Solo renditions of Here We Are In The Years and After the Gold Rush complete a gentle, intimate opening. 

Even after the Stray Gators join Young onstage, they refrain from damaging the mood.

Instead, they retain the honest, acoustic sentiment of songs which appear on Young’s early albums After The Gold Rush and Harvest — both released prior to this live show.

Young’s performance of Old Man is an exceptional demonstration of raw sentiment — it could shatter the toughest of hearts or repair a broken one.

A nice feature of this live recording is Young’s chipper mood. 

He’s been accused of being a cantankerous fuddy-duddy at times but on this recording the experimental artist’s dry wit shines through when he mentions taking the next song commercial.

“Don’t clap at this story because I’m making most of it up and it’s not true,” he adds, before cracking into Heart Of Gold. 

I believe music is the closest thing we’ve got to magic. It can transform a bad mood and enable us to time travel. 

This body of work transported me to an era I crave the most, a time I sadly couldn’t experience first-hand.

Young’s performances of Alabama, Out On The Weekend and Time Fades Away gave me an unending regret that my birth arrived a few decades too late. 

This nugget of history in Young’s extensive career is a window for fans to peer into and hear a young man, performing Old Man — unaware of what Rolling Stone’s “34th greatest rock ‘n’ roll artist” was about to go on and achieve.

Fans can listen to the album on Young’s new subscription website, visit neilyoungarchives.com