Narrator Jay Snyder provides an authoritative performance of this examination of Neil Young's album Harvest, whose equivocal reception from critics belied its popularity. Young, who was still dealing with his insecurity about his voice and his desire to mix musical genres together, produced an album that was a commercial success but alienated hardcore fans. Harvest was dismissed as country & western music for people who dislike country & western, and even more damningly, Neil Young for people who don't like Neil Young. Snyder's straightforward and thoughtful narration maintains writer Sam Inglis' evenhanded tone as he explores Harvest's creation and legacy, as well as its role in Young's ouvre.
Neil Young's Harvest is one of those strange albums that has achieved lasting success without ever winning the full approval of rock critics or hardcore fans. Even Young himself has been equivocal, describing it in one breath and his "finest" album, dismissing in the next as an NOR aberration. Here, Sam Inglis explores the circumstances of the album's creation and asks who got it right: The critics, or the millions who have bought Harvest in the 30 years since its release?
33 1/3 is a new series of short books about critically acclaimed and much-loved albums of the last 40 years. Focusing on one album rather than an artist's entire output, the books dispense with the standard biographical background that fans know already, and cut to the heart of the music on each album. The authors provide fresh, original perspectives - often through their access to and relationships with the key figures involved in the recording of these albums. By turns obsessive, passionate, creative, and informed, the books in this series demonstrate many different ways of writing about music.
Rock on: listen to more of the 33 1/3 series.
©2003 Sam Inglis; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
"A study that's as much about Neil Young's 1972 LP as it is about the notion of whether records embraced by casual listeners are necessarily "classic" or representative of their makers. Journeying through Young's past and outlining Nashville's country traditions, Sam Inglis outlines the album's genesis and formation while considering whether "Harvest" is as mainstream as it appears. The overarching themes of finesse, product and art are pertinent to a society fixated on TV shows such as "American Idol." (The Chicago Tribune)
Before I bought this book, I thought it would contain interesting facts and anecdotes about the recording of Neil Young's Harvest. Instead, this is basically a long-form review of Harvest, like you would read in the Rolling Stone album reviews section. It's like listening to an opinionated, but uninformed, friend talk about what he likes or dislikes about Harvest.
The author talks about what he thinks is good or bad about the songs, where Harvest belongs in the Neil Young catalogue, and how the album arose from and fit into the time of its creation. What is missing is more detail about how the album was recorded, any interesting stories about the people involved in making the album, or any real facts about the album.
The bottom line is that you won't learn anything new about Harvest by listening to this audiobook.
A minor problem is that they never play any songs or clips from songs. I suppose its a licensing thing, but its inconvenient and weird to have someone talk about music for so long, without actually hearing any of the music.
I would recommend that you spend the 3 hours listening to this album 4 to 6 times rather than reading this book.
Nothing. He did a great job with the material that he had. However, I just did not enjoy it.
Disappointment that I wasted 3 hours of my time listening to it.
This was my first 33.3 album audio books that I purchased. This will probably be my last.
Sam Inglis does a good job of exploring the many paradoxes of Harvest - particularly its status as Neil Young's most overwhelmingly popular album in terms of sales and public recognition, as contrasted with its frequent dismissal by hardcore fans and the artist himself - for about two-thirds of this book, but then suddenly switches to a much less interesting track-by-track review and series of potted biographies of the main players in the final third. Its a shame, as he could have gone much deeper into the themes of the earlier sections, for much more reward. The first part is good listening, but this is still one of the less satisfying entries in the 33 1/3 series that I've read or listened to.
Jay Snyder is a poorly matched reader here - where the book often has a nice humorous touch, he tends to overrun it with his VERY DRAMATIC reading. Someone to match the gentle lilt of both the book and Harvest itself would have been a better fit.
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