10.16.2005

When God Made Neil Young

Back in the late 1970s, when I was living in Orlando, I used to have a bumper sticker on my car (a Toyota Corolla, if I recall) that said: Neil Young is God. I was a huge Neil Young fan and had all of his albums. When Neil Young announced a concert in Atlanta – about an 8-hour drive away – my friends and I didn’t hesitate to order tickets and drive up for the show.

All those years later, I’m still a big Neil Young fan and buy most everything that he releases. Last month I stumbled upon his new album, Prairie Wind at a small shop in Bangkok. Musically, the album is in the vein of his laid back classics such as Harvest, Harvest Moon, and Comes a Time; lots of mellow songs, acoustic arrangements and introspective lyrics. The closing song, “When God Made Me,” is particularly moving and wise:

Was he thinking about my country
Or the color of my skin?
Was he thinking about my religion
And the way I worshipped him?
Did he create just me in his image
Or every living thing?Was he planning only for believers
Or for those that just had faith?
Did he envision all the wars
That were fought in his name?
Did he think there was only one way
To be close to him?
Did he give us the gift of love
To say who we could choose?
Did he give me the gift of voice
So some could silence me?
Did he give me the gift of vision
Not knowing what I might see?
Did he give me the gift of compassion
To help my fellow man?

...When God made me…When God made me

2 comments:

Jimbob said...

God bless Neil Young ! Definitely an American treasure ( even if he is from Canada ). Just read where he is going to be the musical guest on Conan O'Brien for an entire week the first week of November. I'll have to program my DVR for that one for sure !

His long overdue box set is supposed to be out next year and from what I understand it may be box SETS. One of them is reported to contain a live version of " Tonight's the Night " in its entirety, recorded on tour in Europe in the mid 70s. According to Neil, it blows the album version away ! Also has some live recordings of songs from " Harvest " recorded a year before the album was released.

John in Atlanta said...

I've been a Neil fan since After The Gold Rush. I think I was all of 13 when it was released. I even liked Trans when most people said it was too industrial. I love that he has never been afraid to experiment. I'll be picking up Prairie Wind sometime this week. Thanks to Bangkok Bertha for sharing those excellent lyrics! That song should be required listening for all progressives. Hell for all Americans. But 37% of us wouldn't get it.