Review: Neil Young's long-shelved 'Homegrown' a missing link

  • This cover image released by Reprise Records shows "Homegrown," a release by Neil Young. (Reprise via AP)

    This cover image released by Reprise Records shows "Homegrown," a release by Neil Young. (Reprise via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Updated 6/15/2020 9:14 AM

Neil Young, 'œHomegrown' (Reprise)

Neil Young's 'œHomegrown," finished 45 years ago but not released until now, is the missing link during one of his most productive and creative periods.

 

If it had been released as originally planned, 'œHomegrown' would have come out after his smash 'œHarvest' that includes two of his most-loved songs, 'œHeart of Gold" and 'œOld Man.' In the decades that followed, five of the 12 songs that are on 'œHomegrown' were released, in one form or another, but never as Young originally intended.

The legend and mystique around 'œHomegrown,' much like the lost Beach Boys record 'œSmile,' only grew.

Now, nearly 50 years later, Young is unleashing what he describes as 'œthe one that got away.' As any Young fan knows, there is far more than just 'œone' that got away from the artist known for his mercurial ways, recording and then shelving projects numerous times over his career.

But what to make of 'œHomegrown"?

It's Young's breakup record, coincidentally recorded the same year as one of the most famous breakup records of all-time, Bob Dylan's 'œBlood on the Tracks.'

'œHomegrown' also features backup players closely associated with Dylan. There's Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm from The Band, along with Emmylou Harris on one song. Longtime Young collaborators Ben Keith, Tim Drummond and Stan Szelest are also on board.

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That all combines for a familiar mid-1970s sound for Young, with acoustic guitar and harmonica dominating.

There are songs long familiar to Young fans, most notably 'œLove is a Rose,' one of five songs that would appear in different versions on subsequent Young records. There's also the out-of-left-marijuana-field 'œFlorida,' one of seven previously unreleased tracks, which is less of a song and more of a stoned stream of consciousness ramble.

'œHomegrown' stands up nearly 50 years later as both a work of art and as filling a gap in Young's storied career.

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