Be on my side, I'll be on your side
1. In continuation of this week's Neil Young theme, here is a fine You Tube clip you should take a gander at. This version of Down by the River, a full Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young rendition, is notable for many things, chief among them the glorious one-upmanship of the SOLO. I put that in caps because anyone who has seen Young live can tell you what a disorienting feeling watching him go OFF on his guitar can give you. There is no put-on to this man's soloing style; this is no show for you. It's private and almost dirty; a whirling dervish of sonic ecstasy that leaves you breathless.
But back to Down by the River. Start paying attention around the 1:42 minute mark. Poncho rockin' Stephen Stills gets the first solo and he goes after it with athletic determination. Watch the empty, Neanderthal expression on Young's face as he watches Stills play. I can almost see him deconstructing Still's riffs in his head. Then almost imperceptibly, Young insinuates himself into the Stills solo and BOO-YA! He STEALS that shit. Stills looks surprised and also...thrilled. For a guy who clearly likes coming out on top in terms of playing, at first, he's remarkably game and volleys. He answers Young's frantic, downward jabs with matching ones. But he's no match for him, which is why when the vocals come back in, Stills tries to hold onto his manhood by trying to out-sing Young. Ah, mistake! While Stills is technically the better singer, Young schooled his punk ass and knows it. The blank expression has changed into one of satisfaction. His and ours.
Down by the River (Live)/Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
2. You wanna help a sistah out by giving her an early Valentine's Day gift? If you plan to go to a show this weekend or just happen to have a ton o' music loving friends, go HERE and print out the 1/4 page Neon Lights flyer designed by the beautiful and talented Miriam Kasell. There are four to a page and in black and white for easy printing. Give 'em to your indie rock show-going friends, make a t-shirt of them, use them as note paper and/or stick 'em on your face. I'll repay you with a mix right here on Soft Communication. That's a promise!