Letters from Ireland #2

I’ve been doing a fair amount of driving in Ireland, and listening to the radio. Today FM has an excellent evening show, which has been featuring the four remastered Neil Young albums which have just hit the shops (Neil Young, Harvest, After the Goldrush and one whose name escapes me at the moment), as well as the new Wilco album (they were playing in Dublin last week), some good new stuff from Yola Tengo, and a band called Boxer Rebellion which I vaguely recall as being quite interesting.

I’m now in possession of my father’s Neil Young CD with a glorious 8 minutes 20 seconds of Like a Hurricane, a track I’ve somehow never managed to get hold of myself before except for a very crackly version on an old cassette tape. Driving through the night, listening to the wigging out guitar solo (and yes, wigging out is the technical term), it’s almost impossible to resist the urge to close your eyes and really get into it.

I saw Neil Young live once, possibly at Reading? It was one of those gigs where your enjoyment is slightly spoilt by spending most of it thinking, ‘Please do Like a Hurricane…’ ‘Surely he must do Like a Hurricane…’. ‘My life will not be complete unless he does Like a Hurricane…’; and eventually he did and it was stupendous. A complete racket, and he fought with his guitar like a man wrestling an alligator… awesome. The memory is not at all spoilt by the fact that I learnt this week that Neil Young’s middle name is Percival.

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