Album of the Day: Neil Young (9/19/1970)

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For his third album, After The Gold Rush, Neil Young returned almost entirely to the plaintive country-folk songs of his self-titled 1968 debut LP. Only one of the tracks on the September 19, 1970 release matched the harder country-rock of his second album, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969). On “Southern Man,” Young’s stinging electric guitar punctuates the commentary on slavery, which earned Neil a sharp rebuke from Lynyrd Skynyrd in their song, “Sweet Home Alabama.” Otherwise, After The Gold Rush is all about love and romance and broken dreams (the title track is a lament to a bygone America) centered on Young’s acoustic guitar. It ultimately proved to be his breakthrough album and capped a period of prolific songwriting and playing, both as a solo artist and as a member of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young (Stephen Stills is featured on After The Gold Rush). Rolling Stone ranked After The Gold Rush #71 on the Top 500 Albums of All-Time.