Tuesday, February 26, 2013

add 0082

In 2005, Rhino Handmade, the Internet-only mail-order specialty label dedicated to limited-edition reissues from the vaults of Warner Bros. Records, released Scratchy: The Complete Reprise Recordings, by Crazy Horse. The two-disc set contained Crazy Horse's two albums for the Warner subsidiary Reprise Records, Crazy Horse (1971) and Loose (1972), on the first CD, with the second CD containing rehearsals and outtakes, plus two tracks recorded by the group in its '60s doo wop days as Danny & the Memories. Only 2500 copies of the set were printed, and they sold out quickly. So, the British branch of Warner Bros. decided to re-create the album for conventional retail, minus the Danny & the Memories tracks, asThe Complete Reprise Recordings 1971-'73Crazy Horse went on to make several additional albums for other labels over its career while, of course, gaining its greatest recognition as a backup band for Neil Young. But even on the material heard here, the group's essential nature is clear, confusing as it is. In essence, the history of Crazy Horse, not unlike the history of Fleetwood Mac, is one of a rhythm section, in this case bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina, backing a changing population of singer/songwriter/guitarist frontmen (and that's even leaving Young out of the discussion). It didn't look like that would be the story at first, however, as TalbotMolina, and singer/songwriter/guitarist Danny Whitten made up the core of the initial group, as they had Danny & the Memories and the Rockets, another early configuration. Adding two talented journeymen, veteran pianist/arranger Jack Nitzscheand young guitarist Nils Lofgren, as quasi-members, they made Crazy Horse, a highly regarded country-rock effort in the style of the Young/Crazy Horse albums Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After the Gold RushWhitten, with his singing and playing, and with standout songs like the future Rod Stewart hit "I Don't Want to Talk About It," was the obvious star, but he was also the band's first casualty, suffering from a heroin addiction that caused him to be dismissed from the group shortly after the LP was released. That sabotaged promotion for the album, and it never found the audience it deserved. Nitzsche and Lofgren went back to their other activities, and Talbot and Molina were forced to recruit three new members to make Loose, which, not surprisingly, sounds like the work of an entirely different, and vastly inferior, band. This means the first 11 tracks on the first disc here are the only essential ones, although some of the playing in the outtakes is powerful. Even two tracks shorter, the package is an important one for fans of '70s country-rock.


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