After the Gold Rush is the third studio album by Canadian musician Neil Young. Released in August 1970 on Reprise Records, it was one of the four high-profile albums released by each member of folk rock collective Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young in the wake of their chart-topping 1970 album Déjà Vu. Gold Rush consisted mainly of country folk music, along with the rocking “Southern Man”. Songs were inspired by the Dean Stockwell-Herb Berman screenplay After the Gold Rush.
After the Gold Rush peaked at number eight on the Billboard Top Pop Albums chart; the two singles taken from the album, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” and “When You Dance I Can Really Love”, made it to number 33 and number 93 respectively on the Billboard Hot 100. Critics were not initially impressed with the album, though it has since been considered a masterpiece, and appears on a number of greatest albums lists.
Initial sessions were conducted with backing band Crazy Horse at Sunset Sound Studios in Los Angeles amid a winter tour that included a well-received engagement with Steve Miller and Miles Davis at the Fillmore East. Despite the deteriorating health of rhythm guitarist Danny Whitten, the sessions yielded the released tracks, “I Believe In You,” “Oh, Lonesome Me”, “Birds” issued as a B-side, and “When You Dance I Can Really Love”. Most of the album was recorded at a makeshift basement studio in Young’s Topanga Canyon home during the spring of 1970 with Greg Reeves, Ralph Molina of Crazy Horse, and burgeoning eighteen-year-old musical prodigy Nils Lofgren of the Washington, DC-based band Grin on piano. This was a typical idiosyncratic decision by Young; Lofgren had not played keyboards on a regular basis prior to the sessions. Along with fellow Young stalwart Jack Nitzsche, he would join an augmented Crazy Horse sans Young before enjoying his own group and solo cult success alternating with a 25-year membership in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band. The Young biographyShakey claims Young was intentionally trying to combine Crazy Horse and CSN on this release, with Crazy Horse appearing alongside Stephen Stills and CSNY bass player Greg Reeves. The cover art is a solarized image of Young, walking past New York University School of Law, passing an old woman.
Songs on the album were inspired by the Dean Stockwell-Herb Berman screenplay for the unmade film After the Gold Rush. Young had read the screenplay and asked Stockwell if he could produce the soundtrack. Tracks that Young recalls as being written specifically for the film are “After the Gold Rush” and “Cripple Creek Ferry.”
According to the Neil Young Archives the actual release date for After The Gold Rush was September 18, 1970.
Critics were not immediately impressed; the 1970 review in Rolling Stone magazine by Langdon Winner was negative, with Winner feeling that, “none of the songs here rise above the uniformly dull surface.” Critical reaction has improved with time; by 1975, Rolling Stone was referring to the album as a “masterpiece”, and Gold Rush is now considered a classic album in Young’s recording career.
- Track list
- “Tell Me Why”
- “After the Gold Rush”
- “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”
- “Southern Man”
- “Till the Morning Comes”
- Side two
- “Oh Lonesome Me” (Don Gibson)
- “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”
- “When You Dance I Can Really Love”
- “I Believe in You”
- “Cripple Creek Ferry”
Photo Credit: Takahiro Kyono