Harvest Moon is the twentieth studio album by Neil Young. Many of the musicians appearing on it also appeared on his 1972 album Harvest, and it is considered by many to be like a “sequel” to Harvest.
But Neil Young did not agree:
“…people see the correlation between the two, and it’s kind of a plus to be able to refer back 20 years and see the same people and do that. But the thrust of the albums is different, even though the subject matter is similar, so I tend to shy away more from comparisons between them…”
Recovering from a case of tinnitus that had come about after the recording of 1990’s Ragged Glory and its subsequent tour (which produced 1991’s Weld and Arc), Young was determined to return to the studio. Returning to Nashville and joining up with compatriots like Ben Keith, Young put down the electric guitar, returning to the acoustic guitar, piano and banjo that had dominated albums such as Harvest, Comes a Time and Old Ways.
The album earned the 1994 Juno Award for album of the year. The 2009 release Dreamin’ Man is a live album of the subsequent 1992 tour and contains live renditions of all Harvest Moon tracks in a different order.
One of Neil Young’s best albums in my book, many classic songs. I think it’s a far angrier album than Harvest and a record that is a testament to Young’s experience and growth as a songwriter.
The title track to Neil Young’s Harvest Moon encapsulates the mood of the entire album in a single song. The power of nature and music, as well as a feeling of celebrating lifetime love are the focal points here, and Young captures it all in his typically literate, artless style. The melody is positively gorgeous, and it’s one that could have easily framed a heavier song. The fact that Young uses the word “celebrate” underlines his feelings here, and the exquisite arrangement and backing vocals (which include Linda Ronstadt) underline this.
– Matthew Greenwald (allmusic.com)
Neil Young – Harvest Moon (Official video):
“Harvest Moon is in some ways a better album (than Harvest), without the orchestral bombast that stifled some of the songs on the first album and boasting a more diverse overall selection of songs. Harvest Moon manages to be sentimental without being sappy, wistful without being nostalgic. The lovely “Unknown Legend,” “From Hank to Hendrix,” and the beautiful “Harvest Moon” are among Young’s best songs.”
– Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)
The Stray Gators:
Neil Young — vocals, guitars, harmonica, banjo guitar, piano, pump organ, vibraphone
Ben Keith — pedal steel guitar, dobro, bass marimba, backing vocals
Spooner Oldham — piano, pump organ, keyboards
Tim Drummond — bass, marimba, broom
Kenny Buttrey — drums
Larry Cragg — backing vocals on “War of Man”
Nicolette Larson — backing vocals on “You and Me,” “War of Man,” “Such a Woman,” “Old King,” “Dreamin’ Man,” “Natural Beauty”
Linda Ronstadt — backing vocals on “Unknown Legend,” “From Hank to Hendrix,” “Harvest Moon,” “War of Man,” “One of These Days”
James Taylor — backing vocals on “From Hank to Hendrix,” “War of Man,” “One of These Days”
Astrid Young — backing vocals on “War of Man,” “Such a Woman,” “Dreamin’ Man”
Jack Nitzsche — string arrangement on “Such a Woman”
Suzie Katayama — conductor on “Such a Woman”
Maria Newman — concertmaster on “Such a Woman”
Maria Newman, Israel Baker, Betty Byers, Berg Garabedian, Harris Goldman, Robin Lorentz, Cindy McGurty, Haim Shtrum — violins on “Such a Woman”
Valerie Dimond, Matt Funes, Rick Gerding, Carrie Prescott, David Stenske, Adriana Zoppo — violas on “Such a Woman”
Larry Corbett, Ericka Duke, Greg Gottlieb, David Shamban — cellos on “Such a Woman”
Neil Young (w/Willie Nelson) – From Hank To Hendrix (live at Farm Aid, 1993):
All tracks written by Neil Young.
1. “Unknown Legend”
2. “From Hank to Hendrix”
3. “You and Me”
4. “Harvest Moon”
5. “War of Man”
6. “One of These Days”
7. “Such a Woman”
8. “Old King”
9. “Dreamin’ Man”
10. “Natural Beauty” (recorded live at The Civic Auditorium, Portland, Oregon, January 23, 1992)
Neil Young – Unknown Legend (live, 2012(?)):