“Cowgirl in the Sand” update
I was hoping to end our Neil Young week last month with some of my favorite versions of Neil Young’s “Cowgirl in the Sand,” as suggested by dedicated J&B reader Brian Johnson. I found some good ones, among them…
a live acoustic version from Massey Hall, 1971
and a more recent live version from earlier this year.
And I’ll add one: Live in London, solo, during his 1973 tour with the Santa Monica Flyers (MP3 format, 15.3M), a distant audience-recorded bootleg, but a performance that manages to be both wavering and strong simultaneously
But wait. Those performances show only one side of Neil: the quiet, precise, intense solo side. The wild, messy electric attack on “Cowgirl” isn’t well-documented on YouTube or any video side I could find (let me know in the comments if you found anything) so Jewels and Binoculars wants to deliver a pair of messages from that side:
Live with Crazy Horse at the Fillmore East, 1970 (M4A format, 15M): Young and Danny Whitten trade scorching solos, Jack Nitzsche adds muscle to the rhythm section; at 16:09, this is way too short (Like it? Buy it.)
Live at Red Rocks in 2000 (M4A format, 16.9M): gets off to a rough start (roughly half the band, including Young, starts leaning into “Like a Hurricane” — with headphones on, you can hear a woman in the crowd yell “Like a Hurricane!” — until everyone agrees which song to perform), then they work up to the expected level. (Like it? Buy it.)