Everybody Knows This is Nowhere Neil Young and Crazy Horse / 1969
Well, Neil Young finally was honored last night at the Grammy’s, for the miniscule category best art direction
on a special edition CD or boxed set. In the midst of the “Fall of the Roman Empire” excesses of Lady Gaga being dumped into a giant incinerator to come out soot-covered to sing with a soot covered Sir Elton, to Pink’s song sung on a twirling trapeze, to Beyonce bringing a stomping army onstage, to Taylor Swift singing horrendously flat, mangling her duet with Stevie Nicks (where’s that auto tune when you need it?) it would have been nice if they’d had something classy and actually honored Neil, had him come out and sing Harvest Moon or Heart of Gold, but no.
So, in response to the Grammys, Muddy Water chooses “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere” as the song of the day. From its opening staccato back porch guitar picking, Neil creates a laid-back, wistful song of yearning for his roots, which he’d left behind years ago. He plaintively sings the lines, “I think I’d like to go back home and take it easy… I gotta get away from this day to day runnin’ around, everybody knows this is nowhere.” Young had been in LA playing in Buffalo Springfield, who broke up in 1968 after a less than two year existence. “Everybody Knows This is Nowhere,” also the album title, came out in May 1969, and it was Neil’s first record with Crazy Horse – Danny Whitten/ guitar, Billy Talbot /bass, Ralph Molina/drums – the band that he would record with through his entire life. The chemistry he has with Crazy Horse is obvious – this is music from the heart, no slick production in sight. “Everyone Knows This is Nowhere”
is just a story simple told, beautifully played, background vocals singing their “la la la, la la la la’s” as if in yearning,
as if inviting the singer to do what he says he’s going to do. Head home to where the heart is.
As far as the Grammy’s, you were hard pressed to find much there – I was thankful for Jeff Beck and Imelda May’s excellent, heartfelt tribute to Les Paul and Mary Ford’s classic, “How High the Moon,” bless Jeff’s blazing fingers.