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Having apparently exorcised his demons by releasing the cathartic Tonight's the Night, Neil Young returned to his commercial strengths with Zuma (named after Zuma Beach in Los Angeles, where he now owned a house). Seven of the album's nine songs were recorded with the reunited Crazy Horse, in which rhythm guitarist Frank Sampedro had replaced the late Danny Whitten, but there were also nods to other popular Young styles in "Pardon My Heart," an acoustic song that would have fit on Harvest, his most popular album, and "Through My Sails," retrieved from one of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's abortive recording sessions. Young had abandoned the ragged, first-take approach of his previous three albums, but Crazy Horse would never be a polished act, and the music had a lively sound well-suited to the songs, which were some of the most melodic, pop-oriented tunes Young had crafted in years, though they were played with an electric-guitar-drenched rock intensity. The overall theme concerned romantic conflict, with lyrics that lamented lost love and sometimes longed for a return ("Pardon My Heart" even found Young singing, "I don't believe this song"), though the overall conclusion, notably in such catchy songs as "Don't Cry No Tears" and "Lookin' for a Love," was to move on to the next relationship. But the album's standout track (apparently the only holdover from an early intention to present songs with historical subjects) was the seven-and-a-half-minute epic "Cortez the Killer," a commentary on the Spanish conqueror of Latin America that served as a platform for Young's most extensive guitar soloing since his work on Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere.
|Label:||Reprise / Wea|
Performance CreditsNeil Young & Crazy Horse Primary Artist,Track Performer
Crazy Horse Group,Track Performer
Crosby, Stills & Nash Track Performer
Graham Nash Vocals
Steve Stills Bass,Vocals
Neil Young Guitar,Harmonica,Vocals,Multi Instruments
David Crosby Guitar,Vocals
Tim Drummond Bass,Drums
Russ Kunkel Conga
Ralph Molina Drums,Vocals
Frank "Poncho" Sampedro Guitar,Strings,Rhythm Guitar
Billy Talbot Bass,Vocals
Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young Track Performer
Technical CreditsNeil Young Composer,Producer
David Briggs Producer
Tim Mulligan Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a truly amazing album, make all the more remarkable by the fact that it has been all but forgotten by everyone other than the most die hard Neil Young fan. Zuma accomplishes that rarest goal - truly capturing the moment. Neil Young was at a critical transition point, and he approached it with grace and style and more soul than a swimming pool full of grits. The music is truly beautiful and needs no rearranging or remixing. It sounds like it would sound if you were sitting in the studio with the band. And the lyrics are pure poetry. People are surprised when I mention this album, let alone describe it as one the ten best albums ever recorded. But it is.