Friday, 12 November 2010

"More barn!"

Neil Young was born on this day in 1945.

Although the title track from his 1992 album Harvest Moon is probably among my top twenty favourite songs, I'm not a diehard Neil Young fan; but one of my oldest friends is. Sean and a couple of fellow devotees - connoisseurs might be a better word - hosted a Neil Young party in Bon'ess some years ago, at which I remember standing chatting to a cardboard horse with, as I recall, no name; and wondering about someone on the other side of the room, across whose chest were printed the words, "More barn!"

So I asked, and now, every time I hear a Neil Young track, Sean comes into my mind and "No barn!" rings in my ears.

In case you don't know it, the story is this. In 1972 producer Elliot Mazer persuaded Young to record some tracks in his Quadrofonic Sound Studios in Nashville, which became part of the Harvest album. Other tracks were recorded at Young's California ranch, and Mazer came to the ranch (along with Crosby and Nash, who also played on the album) to do the mixing. During recording, Mazer had set up PA speakers in the barn, to be used in place of headphones, a decision which produced a good deal of sound leakage which Young, in the event, enjoyed. When it came to the mixing session, Mazer ran one set of cables to the PA speakers still in the barn, and the other to the house; and Crosby, Nash and Young sat outside and listened. At one point, when Young was asked about balance he yelled, "More barn!"

That's it. The words were headed for immortality, and if you say "More barn" to any Neil Young fan, I guarantee they'll know what you mean and their eyes will shine with nostalgia, or affection - or even worship.

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