Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Music Review: Lucinda Williams and Neil Young


Eric Green

Lucinda Williams, "Little Honey"
2008, Lost Highway
Neil Young, "Fork in the Road"
2009, Reprise

Lucinda and Neil ROCK

Lucinda Williams and Neil Young have not lost their edge; the edge has only gotten sharper.

For Lucinda it is the music industry that has her more than a little been angry; for Neil it is the state of world, including his ever-present opposition to war and corporate greed.

Lucinda's, "Little Rock Star" has the following chorus: "Hey Little Rock Star; what don't you see; This is not all that it's cracked up to be; And I can't say I blame you; For throwing the towel in or buying more fame by cashing your chips in; But with all of your talent, and so much to gain; To toss it away like that would be such a shame."

She is clearly worried and upset with songwriter singers who put their standards aside to make it in the business.

"Even if you fake it to get attention; whatever it'll take to get them to listen; piss on your designer boots and designer leathers."

Get the picture?

But, her, "It's a Long Way to the Top" where Williams gives the message for her most recent CD. As she says "It's a Long Way to the Top if you wanna Rock 'n Role'" at the conclusion of this song which makes it very clear just how difficult it is to work as a singer, possibility making it and then keeping your own edge.

Elvis Costello joins Williams on "Jailhouse Tears." Their collaboration is musically perfect and the lyrics are very good.

The title song of the Album, "Little Honey" brings us to "Honey Bee," "Tears of Joy," "Real Love," and "Plan to Marry" Lucinda's songs to her life with love. These are all very nice and constitute an album to themselves, but the songs that relate to the trials and tribulations of being a songwriter and singer, I think, make this album even more special.

On thing that does link Williams and Young is there use of the four letter word, "F—k" in their songs to show raw emotion of rage, disappointment and fire.

In "Fork in the Road," the title song of the CD, Young makes it clear that he is still quite angry and remains angry that the wars are still going on.

He of course laments his growing older and his "pot belly" getting in the way of his driving his rig. And, it appears that he has been doing some driving around the country to keep in touch with people. But, then he drops that slice of life reports and says, "About this year; We salute the troops; They're all still there; In a fucking war; It's not good; Whose idea was that?"

And, then he turns he attention to the Wall Street bailout though the eyes of everyday people:

"I've got hope; but, you can't eat hope; I'm not done; Not giving up; Not cashing in; too late."

Then he points his deadly finger:

"There's a bailout coming but it's not for me; it's for all those creeps watching tickers on TV; There's a bailout coming but it's not for me."

Then he makes it personal:

"I'm a big rock star; My sales have tanked: But I still got you; Thanks; Download this; Sounds like Shit."

He takes an interesting swipe at the bloggers:

"Keep on bloging'; 'Til the power goes out; "Your battery's dead; "Twist and shout."

The other original songs on this album show that Neil Young is not a happy camper.

And, along with Williams, who seems to be very much in love….they are both continuing commentators on the scene they live in.

This period of time for the peoples' movements is hanging in the balance. The creative worlds of Williams, Young and the other great singers and writers of our day like Bruce Springsteen are joining the struggle.