Neil Young’s first solo effort is one of those debut albums where a newly liberated solo artists tries a bunch of different ideas. Freshly released from the talent laden and competitive Buffalo Springfield, Neil Young tries everything from a country instrumental on the opening ‘The Emperor of Wyoming’ to a rambling, sub-Dylan effort on the closing ‘The Last Trip To Tulsa’; some of these ideas stick and some don’t.
Most characteristic of his later career is the rocker ‘The Loner’, with Young’s distinctive fuzz guitar, while the organ and dramatic guitar riff of ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’ is another keeper. The most successful of the more experimental pieces is ‘The Old Laughing Lady’, which starts off atmospheric and acoustic, before taking a left turn into gospel with the backing singers. Even though the ten minutes of ‘The Last Trip To Tulsa’ are unique in Young’s catalogue, with their loping, cryptic story-telling, it’s not one of Young’s better songs.
It has its moments, but Neil Young is an erratic start to an erratic (but stellar) recording career.