The latest in Neil Young’s Archives series of live recordings, Bluenote Cafe dates from 1988, when its parent album This Note’s for You marked his return to Reprise following an unhappy period at Geffen.
It also drew to a close Young’s Eighties era as a prolific musical quick-change artist, each album indulging a different style – in this case, big-band blues, with the songs liberally punctuated with strident stabs of brass, and Neil himself essaying a choice selection of guitar solos which (thankfully) stretch the usual limits of blues modes.
Because otherwise, things can get a bit bogged down and stodgy: the opener “Big Room” is like porridge sliding slowly down a bowl, while “Ten Men Workin’” undeservedly celebrates the size of his band.
But the anti-corporate-sponsorship protest “This Note’s for You”hits its mark; and a piercing “Crime in the City” presages the following year’s return to form with Freedom.
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