Cocaine Eyes / Don't Cry / Heavy Love / On Broadway / Eldorado
by Steve Vetter (Farmer John)
Eldorado is the 21st release from Neil Young, one of the most prolific artists around today. Released as a special EP in Australia and Japan, and running at only 25 minutes, Eldorado is not much of a value. However, in that 25 minutes there is some of the hardest rocking music that Neil had put out, pre-Ragged Glory. Recorded with the Restless (making for the joke, Neil Young and the Restless), this is a wonderful accomplishment for only three players. The other musicians on the record are Chad Cromwell on drums and Rick "The Bass Player" Rosas, who both also appear on the album This Note's For You. One of the great things about Neil is that after playing with people such as Cromwell and Rosas (and more recently Booker T and the MGs), he gets a great idea for what would be fun to do next and does it. Unfortunately, this is the only time that Neil ever did anything like release less than a full album. The opening cut, "Cocaine Eyes," is perhaps my favorite track on the disc. It has a real groovy thing happening at the beginning that basically sounds like they threw it together in the span of five minutes. Neil plays a little riff-intro type of thing and says, "Let's try one like that," then breaks into the song like he had it all in his head the whole time. Cromwell's drumming is very punchy and fits very well. "Don't Cry" is the next track on the CD, and is also found on Freedom. I like this song for its music and lyrics. It has the words of a love ballad, but then Neil and the Restless break into a wild solo / power chord trip that scales up and down more times in the span of thirty seconds than an elevator does all day. "Heavy Love" is next, and has a sort of Ragged Glory-type Crazy Horse to feel to it. If you like the stuff on Ragged Glory, you will probably like this track. Personally, it is my least favorite on the disc, but do not take that as a professional opinion. "On Broadway" is next, which is a cover of the old sixties tune. Neil does a stock version, with the electric guitar and the rhythm section falling nicely into place. Then something changes, as Neil does a short solo and then seems to get angry, screaming "On Broadway" at the top of his lungs and breaking into another wicked guitar solo, until finally topping it off with "Gimme some of that crack! Gimme that crack! Aggggg!" It really sounds like he got pissed off on his way to the Hit Factory studio in New York City, where this was recorded. The title track is presumably Neil's favorite off the disc, being the only one that he performed with any regularity on the Freedom tour. It is interesting because Neil plays some Spanish guitar riffs that I find particularly enjoyable. At one point, he breaks it wide open with his guitar and fills your ears with wild distortion. I think that on this song you can also see some of the influence of the Bluenotes sessions. Mixed in with the riffs is some melodic, blues-type playing, however this track would have been out of place on the Bluenotes album. This EP is one of the most important pieces in Neil's career because it shows the beginning of the Freedom to Harvest Moon era of his popularity. I also think that it is one of those projects that we will look forward to more of in the future (but may never get). If you can find a copy (it's not readily available but is attainable), I don't think there's anyone who has regretted buying it.