Live albums from the halcyon days of Danny Whitten are great and all, but its a look at those aborted studio sessions that Neil heads like myself have been waiting for. So while, as with most of Neil’s Archives projects, there’s no release date and no real promise that we’ll see one, it’s great that his people are even bothering to mention the possibility of hearing Toast, an album of outtakes from a “depressing” 2000 session with Crazy Horse in a run down San Francisco studio of the same name.
Now, years later, John Hanlon, the original co-producer with Neil, is at work mixing all of the Toast material. Many songs share a bluesy, jazz-tinged vibe as a common thread. Three solid rockers are interspersed in the mix. Other songs are long with extensive explorations between verses, a Crazy Horse trademark, kind of like a down-played Tonight’s the Night, except these songs deal directly with love and loss, not drugs. The ambient atmosphere, foggy, blue and desolate, pervades many of the tracks, if not all, with Tommy Brea’s muted trumpet and dusky male and female counter-part BGs occasionally surfacing from Poncho and Ralph on one side, Nancy Hall and Pegi Young on the other. A cool and sleepy lounge piano rises in the fog occasionally.
Toast is coming, a dark Crazy Horse classic for the ages. This first NYA “Special Edition” is the beginning of a new series of unreleased albums.