Acoustic Sounds

Neil Young

Harvest Moon

Music

Sound

Neil Young "Harvest Moon"

Produced By: Neil Young and Ben Keith

Engineered By: Tim Mulligan and Patrick Nowland

Mixed By: Neil Young, John Nowland and Tim Mulligan

Mastered By: Tim Mulligan

Lacquers Cut By: Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering

By: Michael Fremer

November 6th, 2023

Genre:

Folk Folk Rock

Format:

Vinyl

One of Neil Young's Best Gets a one and a half LP Reissue

though only forty seven when he recorded this, Young was in a reflective, nostalgic mood

One of Neil Young's finest, most reflective and at times sad and occasionally depressing albums, Harvest Moon released in 1992 finds the then 47 year old looking back. On the opener "Unknown Legend" he's remembering observing a waitress in a diner who a few years later he'd marry. About Pegi Young he sang "Never saw a woman look finer/I used to order just to watch her float across the floor".

On "From Hank to Hendrix" he reflects on how music provides the soundtrack to life and love. "From Marilyn to Madonna/ I always loved your smile/Now we're headed for big divorce/California-style", but he wasn't singing about his own divorce from Pegi, which wouldn't happen until 2014 twenty two years later.

The title tune is one of Young's most loving and romantic songs, one that celebrates a relationship's longevity—"Because I'm still in love with you/I want to see you dance again/Because I'm still in love with you/On this harvest moon."

On "You and Me" he reprises an old melody and becomes the "old man" he once sang about on the album Harvest released thirty years earlier (though the song had its unfinished origins in 1971). "One of These Days" has Young again looking back and promising to write a letter to all the good friends he's known, admitting to himself that while he "...never tried/To burn any bridges/Though I know I let some/Good things go." Fans steeped in Young lore, and CSN&Y lore could probably write a book off of that line!

On "Old King" he pays tribute to a dog who was "...the best old hound dog I ever did know", though he admits in the song to once kicking King.

Young has backing help from many of the musicians who played on the original Harvest including drummer Kenny Buttrey and bassist Tim Drummond as well as background vocals from Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. Crosby, Stills and Nash were not onboard. Jack Nitzsche returned to arrange "Such a Woman" and as on the original Harvest there's a live track, the ten minute long "Natural Beauty" recorded at the Civic Auditorium, Portland, Oregon. It's a powerful plea for natural wonder preservation that refers to "An anonymous wall of digital sound", though he's not referring to this recording, which was not only digitally produced but at 44.1/16 bit CD resolution so do not expect Harvest-like sumptuous sound because you're not going to get it! It would be foolish indeed though to reject this album because of the sound, which Young and Chris Bellman have clearly tried to warm up here. As you would expect from Young the production itself is quite fine. Just the storage medium was lacking.

Because this was a 1992 release, back when vinyl releases were scarce, the only version I could find at the time was an Allsdorf German pressing mastered by Greg Fulginiti at Masterdisk, NY. It was okay. In 2009 Chris Bellman cut a version pressed for Furnace Manufacturing at Pallas in Germany—at least the test pressing I received was. I don't think it was ever released. It sounds like a straight and honest transfer, which means it sounds like a pretty nasty CD, though it does have some attractively brutal qualities, none of which suit the music!

For this release, the tracks have been spread to three sides of a two LP set, with side four containing an etching of the cover image. The sound has been considerably but deftly warmed up and pushed back somewhat in space compared to earlier pressings and you'll make it through the three sides, with your ears unscathed. It sounds pretty good actually but don't expect Harvest like sound!

When I pulled out the German original pressing out popped the obit for Pegi Young who died of cancer at age 66 New Year's Day 2019 not long after the Youngs were divorced. I keep obits in albums. Neil married Darryl Hannah in 2018. I had an on-stage make-out scene with her before she started her work on "Splash". That's a story for another time but I wonder if she remembers. I do!

Music Specifications

Label: Reprise

Catalog No: 9362-49107-8

Pressing Plant: Record Industry

SPARS Code: DDA

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 120 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Source: 44.1/16 bit master

Presentation: Multi LP

Comments

  • 2023-11-06 04:17:53 PM

    DinaMoe wrote:

    "Bocce balls!!" ;-)

  • 2023-11-06 07:11:02 PM

    Seamus MacGleannain wrote:

    Hi Michael, I have that original German pressing as well. I also have that 3-sided version as well, it was released here in Europe for Record Store Day Black Friday 2017.

    It has this in the credits... Source| Mastered from 44/16 Digital, lacquers cut by Chris Bellman.

    • 2023-11-06 07:14:45 PM

      Seamus MacGleannain wrote:

      Here is the link on Discogs... https://www.discogs.com/release/11172799-Neil-Young-Harvest-Moon

      • 2023-11-09 10:38:32 AM

        andy wrote:

        I got that 3 sided release last year for around €25 and it sounds great, not harsh and digita at all.

  • 2023-11-06 07:56:46 PM

    Michael Zlotnicki wrote:

    I also have the 3 sided Bellman from the 2017 RSD.

    • 2023-11-08 12:12:53 PM

      AnalogJ wrote:

      I do as well. I thought it sounded pretty good the last time I played it.

  • 2023-11-06 07:56:51 PM

    Michael Zlotnicki wrote:

    I also have the 3 sided Bellman from the 2017 RSD.

  • 2023-11-07 11:50:42 AM

    PeterPani wrote:

    I welcome the spread out on 3 sides. Many audiophile issues spread a single LP out to 4 sides. This can be annoying - at some point there is no improvement of SQ anymore. So better make it on 3 sides and give some art on the 4th.

  • 2023-11-07 11:54:39 AM

    Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

    Wait.. You made out with Darryl Hannah?? I would play Kill Bill on infinite repeat! I have the 1st pressing from Germany Reprise Records – 9362-45057-1. Yeah, always sounded like a rough CD for the past 31 years...

    • 2023-11-08 10:13:12 AM

      Michael Fremer wrote:

      I'm surprised more people didn't notice that end comment. Yes, it's a very funny story I'll tell in a video some time, if I already haven't and just don't remember.

      • 2023-11-09 05:42:13 PM

        Jeff 'Glotz' Glotzer wrote:

        I don't think you have, but Please either way!

  • 2023-11-16 06:03:39 PM

    Frank A wrote:

    It`s a gorgeous album and I too have the RSD pressing (the one with the sticker), I think it sounds great even at 16/44 and much better than the very same CD. Beautiful music.