Neil Young and Crazy Horse reunite for 'Americana' due June 5
The new collection, slated for release June 5, includes Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” Stephen Foster’s “Oh Susannah,” the British national anthem “God Save the Queen,” and folk songs from the 19th century and earlier including “Tom Dooley,” “Clementine,” “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the Mountain” (under the title "Jesus Chariot") and “Wayfarin’ Stranger.”
In his notes with the album, Young says he and longtime collaborators Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot and Poncho Sampedro have tapped the notion of “the folk process” in which traditional songs were sometimes modified to make them more digestible by rock music fans in the early days of what came to be known as folk-rock.
The Young-Crazy Horse version of “This Land Is Your Land,” for instance, omits the widely known verses popularized through grade-school renditions of the song and opts instead for the lyrics omitted from Guthrie’s own recording.
“This folk song was written by Woody Guthrie in the 1940s,” Young writes, “to a preexisting melody as a response to ‘God Bless America,’ which Guthrie was tired of hearing. The lyrics Guthrie sang varied over time, but the lyrics sung in Americana version were in the original manuscript of the song."
Young’s definition of folk music is broad enough to encompass the Silhouettes’ 1958 doo-wop hit “Get A Job”—“It is a genuine folk song with all the true characteristics,” Young states—and a couple of the arrangements, “High Flyin’ Bird” and “Tom Dooley” (under the title of its older incarnation, "Tom Dula"), are credited to the Squires, the rock band Young played in while he was still in high school in Winnipeg.
Update on March 27 at 8:45 a.m.: For the Record: An earlier version of this posted identified the Squires as Neil Young's high school rock band in Toronto. The band was in Winnipeg.
Top photo of Neil Young. Credit: Pegi Young.
Cover image from Neil Young and Crazy Horse's 'Americana.' Credit: Warner Bros. Records.