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Crazy Horse At Crooked Lake

Crazy Horse

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Album Review

After releasing a promising debut album, Crazy Horse, in February 1971, Neil Young's former backup band was reduced to its rhythm section of bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina, who enlisted three new members — George Whitsell, Greg Leroy, and John Blanton — to make Loose (January 1972), essentially the work of a different, inferior group. Nine months later, 40 percent of the membership of Crazy Horse has turned over again for the band's third album, At Crooked Lake, with the departure of Whitsell and Blanton and the arrival of Rick and Michael Curtis. This lineup turns out to be better than the one that made Loose, but still nowhere near the one that made Crazy Horse. And, as fronted by yet another couple of lead singers and songwriters, it again seems like a different band. The Curtis brothers are competent performers, particularly Rick, who writes or co-writes five of the ten selections and sings in a slightly whiny voice while contributing rhythm guitar and banjo. Keyboardist Michael Curtis gets his name on a couple of tracks, and Leroy writes three, among them the attractive ballad "Your Song," while adding effective lead guitar and bottleneck playing. With the acoustic guitars strumming and occasional steel guitar interludes, this is country-rock in the style of Poco, sometimes, as in Leroy's "85 El Paso's," going into straight country. But the songwriting still isn't as good as that of Poco, the Flying Burrito Brothers, the Eagles, or for that matter, the material banished Crazy Horse member Danny Whitten (who finally died of a drug overdose the month after this LP was released) contributed to the first album.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Out of all the backing bands Neil Young has recorded and performed with during his long and illustrious career, the best-known of the bunch (and perhaps one of the greatest garage rock bands of all time) remains Crazy Horse. The band's roots lay in the obscure early '60s doo wop band Danny & the Memories, which contained future Crazy Horse members Danny Whitten, Billy Talbot, and Ralph Molina, among others. Although all three would later play instruments in Crazy Horse, the trio focused solely...
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