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Scratchy: The Complete Reprise Recordings
     

Scratchy: The Complete Reprise Recordings

by Crazy Horse
 
Neil Young may not ever allow his Reprise outtakes to be released, but that doesn't mean there's not a lot of equally cool stuff from an orbit near his that can't be enjoyed -- and Rhino Handmade has hit a mother lode with this double-CD set, which offers a lot more than even dedicated Crazy Horse fans may

Overview

Neil Young may not ever allow his Reprise outtakes to be released, but that doesn't mean there's not a lot of equally cool stuff from an orbit near his that can't be enjoyed -- and Rhino Handmade has hit a mother lode with this double-CD set, which offers a lot more than even dedicated Crazy Horse fans may expect. Thanks to their convoluted membership history and a series of label changes, Crazy Horse had one of the stranger release histories of almost any '70s band -- their stuff and, to some extent, their sound are all over the map. Scratchy: The Complete Reprise Recordings makes a strong case, however, for the primacy of the first lineup and their work on Reprise, assembling all of their released work for the label plus the equivalent of an album's worth of outtakes and radio spots, and two tracks by Danny & the Memories, the group that preceded the formation of Crazy Horse by five years or so. The group's self-titled debut album has bounced in and out of print for the last 34 years, but here it's been remastered with the kind of attention that makes it sound like one is hearing it for the first time -- the close sound of the acoustic guitars on "I Don't Want to Talk About It" and the roaring electric instruments on "Gone Dead Train," "Dance, Dance, Dance," and "Downtown" are impressive to these ears, the harder-rocking numbers now displaying the raw power and impact that the group exuded on-stage; the remastering job has undone the inevitable flattening process that went into the vinyl release, so that Billy Talbot's bass, in particular, now gets a killer showcase, and Jack Nitzsche's piano on "Carolay" gets as much play as the massed acoustic guitars that carry the rhythm figure at the center of the song. What's more, the crispness of the sound has brought the singing out in vivid detail -- if the LP could have sounded this bracing and powerful, this band might well have seen the success it deserved. The second half of the first CD is filled out with the tracks off of their second album, Loose; thanks to the ensuing lineup changes that took place, they're a bit of a letdown after the 11 gems from Crazy Horse, though not bad on their own terms -- the group plays from less melodic strength and raw inventiveness, but make up for it with a lot of enthusiasm and positive vibes in their sound, especially on the acoustic numbers such as the gorgeous "One Thing I Love" or "All Alone Now." The real treat, however, is the second disc, which opens with a string of extraordinary outtakes, including the title track -- the outtakes sound incredible and feature exceptional playing, and "Scratchy" by itself is worth the price of admission, 12 minutes of stunning electric interaction; and it's followed by the gorgeous acoustic piece "Dear Song Singer," plus a long version of "Downtown"; the first Danny & the Memories cut, "Can't Help Loving That Girl," was, in its own time, a throwback to early-'60s doo wop style, while the second, "Don't Go," was much more contemporary circa 1965. The set is attractively designed, with separate pockets for each disc and a beautifully designed booklet with extensive annotation, all in a very practical slipcase-style package. It's a bargain for any fan of this band or any of its members, and worth tracking down.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/14/2014
Label:
Wounded Bird Records
UPC:
0664140643826
catalogNumber:
6438

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Crazy Horse   Primary Artist
Ry Cooder   Slide Guitar
Nils Lofgren   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Jack Nitzsche   Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals
John Blanton   Organ,Harmonica,Piano,Cello,Vocals
Greg Leroy   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Bottleneck Guitar
Ralph Molina   Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals
Billy Talbot   Bass,Vocals,Background Vocals
George Whitsell   Acoustic Guitar,Conga,Electric Guitar,Vocals
Danny Whitten   Guitar,Vocals,Background Vocals
Gib Gilbeau   Fiddle

Technical Credits

Crazy Horse   Producer
Nils Lofgren   Composer
Neil Young   Composer
Jack Nitzsche   Composer,Producer
Jerome Kern   Composer
John Blanton   Composer
Bruce Botnick   Producer
Fred Catero   Producer
Oscar Hammerstein   Composer
Greg Leroy   Composer
Russ Titelman   Composer
George Whitsell   Composer
Danny Whitten   Composer

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