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The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - REVIEWS CDs - Kevin Court­ney Jo­ce­lyn Clarke Sinéad Glee­son Kevin Court­ney

NEIL YOUNG AND CRAZY HORSE Live at the Fill­more East 1970 Reprise ★★★ On March 6th and 7th, 1970, Neil Young, fresh out of Buf­falo Spring­field, and now known as the Y in CSNY, played two con­certs in New York with his crack new band, Crazy Horse: gui­tarist Danny Whit­ten, bassist Billy Tal­but, drum­mer Ralph Molina and elec­tric pi­ano player Jack Nitzsche. Thus be­gan a mu­si­cal part­ner­ship that lasted on and off for the next three decades. Th­ese never-be­fore-re­leased record­ings, the first in the Neil Young Archives Per­for­mance se­ries, fea­ture just six songs taken from this twonight stint. The album is short on songs but long on ex­tended jam­ming – Down by the River is, char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, 12 min­utes long while Cow­girl in the Sand clocks in at 16 min­utes, al­most a whole side of an old-fash­ioned LP. The time is taken up mostly with Young and Whit­ten’s sig­na­ture gui­tar du­el­ing and Nitzche’s dis­tinc­tive honky-tonk or­gan lines. The album starts with the ti­tle track from the soon-to-be re­leased Ev­ery­body Knows This is Nowhere, and, along with the clas­sic Win­ter­long and Won­der­ing, also fea­tures Come on Baby Let’s Go Down­town, writ­ten by Whit­ten. A great live band, for sure, but it’s hard not to feel short-changed by the dearth of tunes. www.neily­oung.com SUF­JAN STEVENS Songs for Christ­mas Rough Trade/ Asth­matic Kitty ★★★★ VAR­I­OUS Dave Fan­ning’s Fab 50 Vol. 2 EMI ★★★ Some (pos­si­bly al­co­hol-fu­elled) night this De­cem­ber, you may end up invit­ing a bay­ing troupe back to your house. Year round, Back to Mine and FabricLive com­pi­la­tions ful­fil the mu­si­cal re­quire­ments, but not at Christ­mas. Peo­ple in­ex­pli­ca­bly start de­mand­ing hits, clas­sics and nos­tal­gic indie. Cue Mr Fan­ning, his 20-odd years of mu­sic ex- Recorded over five years on five EPs (Noel, Hark!, Ding Dong!, Joy, Peace), Suf­jan Stevens’s Songs for Christ­mas is the Michi­gan Yooper singer-song­writer’s most idio­syn­cratic song col­lec­tion to date. Tra­di­tional carols such as Silent Night, We Three Kings and Jin­gle Bells sip eggnog along with comic dit­ties Get Be­hind Me, Santa and Let’s Boo­gie to the Elf Dance, and aching bal­lads That Was the Worst Christ­mas Ever and Did I Make You Cry On Christ­mas Day?. Stevens’s oc­ca­sion­ally ironic but mostly heart­felt jux­ta­po­si­tion of tra­di­tional and orig­i­nal songs man­ages to be both sin­cerely devo­tional and gid­dily fes­tive. Com­plete with self­penned short sto­ries and ex­ten­sive liner notes, Christ­mas stick­ers, and a Christ­mas song­book (with lyric sheets and chord charts), Stevens’s yule­tide boxset is a gen­uine de­light. www.asth­mat­ickitty.com pe­ri­ence and the sec­ond of his triple-CD com­pi­la­tions. This year, the track­list veers left of cen­tre: Devo, The Dead Kennedys and XTC rub shoul­ders whileWire are sand­wiched be­tween Bob Dylan and Daft Punk. Ir­ish con­tri­bu­tions in­clude Mi­crodis­ney and Ash; iconic bands are of­ten rep­re­sented by atyp­i­cal choices ( The Trader by The Beach Boys). With 50 gen­res­pan­ning tracks, this will yield plenty of de­lighted, serendip­i­tous gasps all round (Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You, any­one?). www.emirecords.co.uk/ FOO FIGHT­ERS Skin and Bones RCA ★★★★ VAR­I­OUS John Peel’s Dan­de­lion Cherry Red ★★★

while veal a hith­erto hid­den scope. You can take the man out of the metal, etc. www.foofight­ers.com Af­ter their quiet/ loud dou­ble album, In Your Honor, head Foo Fighter Dave Grohl de­cided to do a se­ries of un­plugged gigs at LA’s Plan­tages theatre. He ex­panded the core band of Tay­lor Hawkins, Nate Men­del and Chris Shi­flett into an eight-piece and even in­vited for­mer Foos gui­tarist Pat Smear to join the party. Though their rep­u­ta­tion as a fe­ro­cious live band was al­ready sealed, the Foo Fight­ers had to prove they could step out from be­hind their pro­tec­tive wall of dis­tor­tion and cut it as a live acous­tic act. Hap­pily, Grohl’s done this sort of thing be­fore with his for­mer band, and his song­writ­ing tal­ents see the Foos through this 15-song jour­ney through un­known ter­ri­tory. Well-known tunes such as Walk­ing Af­ter You, Next Year, Big Me and Ever­long shine un­der the softer light. But just be­cause it’s un­plugged doesn’t mean you could leave your earplugs at home. The band still get pretty rau­cous on My Hero, Skin and Bones and Fe­bru­ary Stars, Times Like Th­ese It’s some­thing you will never, ever get with all this down­load­ing lark: a sym­bi­otic re­la­tion­ship with a record la­bel run by peo­ple who don’t par­tic­u­larly mind if a record sells or not. DJ John Peel founded the Dan­de­lion record la­bel back in the less com­mer­cially aware late ’60s, when a cer­tain level of jazz wood­bine-in­duced op­ti­mism still held sway . Like most of th­ese one man-one mind­set op­er­a­tions (cf Belfast’s Good Vi­bra­tions), Dan­de­lion was doomed to not suc­ceed. Some of the acts were ris­i­ble (Bill Od­die, Will Dandy & the Dandylettes), some were in­flu­en­tial (Brid­get St John), and a mere one or two en­tered into the main­stream (Clifford T Ward), even if only for a few years. Most were never heard of again (Beau, Prin­ci­pal Ed­wards Magic Theatre, where are you?). What mat­tered to Peel and his ilk, how­ever, was not mea­sured in mu­sic in­dus­try terms but in the creative re­quire­ments of whether an act was in­ter­est­ing enough. The Dan­de­lion spirit lives on in small la­bels too nu­mer­ous to men­tion - but you could ar­gue it was the same kind of pi­o­neer­ing ven­ture that, say, Rich-

Westlife dis­counted: do we have the Gro­cery Or­der to thank for this?

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