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American Stars 'n Bars

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iTunes Review

An often-overlooked release, American Stars ‘n Bars is a ragged summation of Neil Young’s most tumultuous and artistically rewarding decade. An off-kilter blend of self-destructive joy and soul-seeking sorrow and regret, the album features the lascivious “Saddle Up the Old Palomino” and “Bite the Bullet,” as well as the meditative “Will to Love” and fan favorite “Like a Hurricane,” which provide a welcome dose of morning-after reflection. Though hardly Young’s most cohesive album, Stars ‘n Bars gains strength from its patchwork, off-the-cuff qualities. Young’s guitar work shines in fits and starts, stumbling towards transcendence.

Customer Reviews

Severely Underrated, some of his best, at the least underlooked.

While not a 5 star album; American Stars 'N Bars has some Neil's best songs (including my personal favorite) prior to Rust Never Sleeps (This was released on LP in 1977, CD in 2003). Like a Hurricane is of course the stand out here; an electric masterpiece on a level completely in and of its own, while it may be his trademark "live" rockout song, the album version is still absolutely great. Will to Love is a very unique piece and has some strange production techniques, good song, though. Homegrown is a happy but sly little tune, and Bite the Bullet is a rock-out-loud southern song in the ways of Lynard Skynard. The softer tunes on the album are so-so, Star of Bethlehem being the best among them. Not to mention the absolutely classic cover art on this one, right up there with On The Beach and Zuma for originality. Originally part of the "missing 6" (now the "missing 1" [or 2 if you include JTTP OST]) it had absolutely terrible sales on its release and was limited to 1 pressing in the US only, and then completely forgotten when Comes a Time and Rust Never Sleeps flung Neil back into mainstream popularity. Worth the buy, it's been unfairly cast into obscurity because its best song (Like a Hurricane) was put onto Live Rust only 2 years later. As the iTunes review says, this was recorded extremely sparsely, because originally Neil planned to release an album called "Chrome Dreams", which contained Like a Hurricane, as well as a lot of material that ended up on Rust Never Sleeps. Many of the songs on this album were snatched from Homegrown (a scrapped project that Neil started shortly after Harvest, vis a vi the last song, Homegrown), and only contains a few really "original" songs, and is perhaps considered a kind of trunk song compilation capped off with an incoherent B side containing an out of place masterpiece.

My favorite Neil album...

This is one of the missing six (vinyl only) that I enjoyed on vinyl for years, all the way up to the 2003 remaster release. The vinyl sound still rings in my ears, but this is still a GREAT download and well worth it for any Neil fan...

Solid album

This album is one of his least known albums for such quality. This one and On The Beach are my favorites... maybe because I have heard Old Man and Heart of Gold too many times. The first side of this album is perfect for summer nights of tanking beers and listening to country records on the front porch.


Born: November 12, 1945 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Rock

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

After Neil Young left the California folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield in 1968, he slowly established himself as one of the most influential and idiosyncratic singer/songwriters of his generation. Young's body of work ranks second only to Bob Dylan in terms of depth, and he was able to sustain his critical reputation, as well as record sales, for a longer period of time than Dylan, partially because of his willfully perverse work ethic. From the beginning of his solo career in the late '60s through...
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