Neil Young’s venture into rockabilly is a memorable one for all the wrong reasons; in fact, nearly everything about it just plain wrong. Let’s start with the cover: the record is credited to “Neil and the Shocking Pinks” and pictures Young with a guitar against a pink backdrop with a look on his face reminiscent of a physician studying a blue urine sample. Now here’s where it gets really fun: the cover is one of the best things about it. The music itself is unashamedly generic rockabilly but without any trace of enthusiasm from anyone involved. Consisting of utterly ruined covers and abortion-worthy originals, this is the musical equivelant of an Uwe Boll movie; nothing is right and most things are embarrassing. Young was approaching his 40’s when this was made, but here he sounds utterly ancient, like an 80-year old from the 1950’s being forced to sing in a near-empty karaoke bar by his sadistic grandchildren. The band itself positively sags with boredom and embarrassment and it sees Young’s songwriting, rather than scraping the bottom of the barrel, scraping under the barrel. There is good news however: ‘Everybody’s Rockin’ arrived after ‘Trans’ (a botched electro-rock album) which caused Young’s record company to sue him for making “uncharacteristic” records, so this agonizing abortion of a record may be nothing more than a middle-finger to his record company. The sad fact is though, this does not make it listenable in the slightest.
Neil Young’s output has seen incredible peaks (‘After The Gold Rush’ and ‘On The Beach’ to name but two), but this earsore of a record doesn’t even work as a joke. If any record shop insists on stocking it, I urge them to include a disclaimer – but then again the only way this will be found in any record shop is if it’s at the bottom of the mildew-gathering bargain bin next to Billy Ray Cyrus and Milli Vanilli.
Listen to this: never.
Key Track: none of them.