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Chrome Dreams II
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Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Neil Young (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, banjo, harmonica, grand piano, Hammond b-3 organ, pump organ, vibraphone, percussion); Ben Keith (vocals, electric guitar, slide guitar, pedal steel guitar, dobro, alto saxophone, Hammond b-3 organ); Larry Cragg (vocals, baritone saxophone); Rick Rosas (vocals, bass guitar); Ralph Molina (vocals, drums, percussion); Annie Stocking, Joe Canuck, Nancy Hall, Pegi Young (vocals); Frank "Poncho" Sampedro (guitar); Steve Lawrence (tenor saxophone, keyboards); Tommy Bray, John Fumo (trumpet); Claude Cailliet (trombone); Chad Cromwell (drums).
  • Intended by Neil Young as a follow-up to his near-mythic unreleased 1977 recording CHROME DREAMS, the 2007 album CHROME DREAMS II features the same basic band and approach. Unlike many of Young's more conceptual albums, it contains songs written over different periods of time in different stylistic modes. Some of the tunes here have been waiting around since the '80s, including the 18-minute epic "Ordinary People," a slow-burner in the classic Young tradition that he audaciously positioned as the album's single.
  • Arranged around that sprawling centerpiece are some humbly poignant folk-rock gems, including the pretty, acoustic-based ballad "Beautiful Bluebird" and the shimmering, waltz-time love song "Shining Light." On the harder side, there's the trademark Crazy Horse-style crunch and quirk of the chugging rocker "Dirty Old Man" and the "Down By The River"-esque workout "No Hidden Path." Ironically, by attempting to follow no single sonic template on CHROME DREAMS II, Young turned out perhaps his most consistent effort of the decade.
Professional Reviews
Rolling Stone (p.82) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Young was right to close with 'The Way,' a gloriously simplistic salvation song backed by a children's chorus that deserves to become his 'Give Peace a Chance.'"

Spin (p.128) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[A] record that's just like he used to make -- distorto riffs for their own sake and quasi roots rock with a tangible sense of loss and hope."

Entertainment Weekly (p.p.125) - "[A] nifty exercise in extreme dynamics....It's an album inclusive enough for both 'Dirty Old Man,' a garage-rock sinner's rant, and 'The Way,' a beautiful minor-key hymn..."

Uncut (p.119) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The album is powerful exploration of faith, with Young circling his own mortality. He does it quietly and noisily."

No Depression (p.93) - "It's hard to remember a Young release that has been as thematically cohesive yet as musically diverse as CHROME DREAMS II."

Q (Magazine) (p.113) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "'Ordinary People' dates from Young's one-off venture with the Bluenotes...It's an epic, free-ranging rant on behalf of the common man...It's an absolute monster."

Q (Magazine) (p.76) - Ranked #33 in Q's "The 50 Best Albums Of 2007" -- "A definite return to ragged glory."

Blender (Magazine) (p.155) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "Young's Les Paul erupts, horns not to Springsteen Americana; it all recalls vintage mid-'70s Young LPs..."

Record Collector (magazine) (p.99) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The HARVEST-like 'Beautiful Bluebird' opens, beautifully simplistic like Young's best childlike ballads."
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