Neil Young - Hawkes And Doves
Not the greatest, serious artistic effort in the world, ever. Not the all out Crazy Horse magnificence of side two of 'Rust Never Sleeps', either. Yeah, Neil entered the 80s in modest fashion. After being voted artist of the decade in a certain music magazine, he gave us less than thirty minutes of new music. Nearly eight of these minutes are housed by just the one song, a composition dating back to 1974, 'The Old Homestead'. Still, the version of the Hendrix tune 'Little Wing' is nice, I enjoy it. Very relaxing, very nice harmonica, very sweet vocals. Affecting. Acoustic guitar is all over 'Hawks And Doves', by the way. It's not 'Harvest' type of sound however, not at all. We've just got a modest, unassuming set of songs performed very naturally and sounding like very low-key affairs. So, 'Lost In Space' is one of those camp-fire sing-a-longs, earnest strumming kind of thing, that Neil does so well. It's a decent song. Elsewhere, 'Captain Kennedy' is so quiet and unassuming, it may as well not exist at all, very slight, very slight. 'Stayin Power' is kind of clumsy sounding and only distinguished at all by being a full band performance. Drums, fiddle. A nice sound actually, even if the song itself isn't upto all that much. The chorus is decent but the verses aren't all that good. Still, credit where credit is due, the fiddle does sound good.
More fiddle runs through 'Coastline' as Neil slips more obviously into country mode. Pedal Steel? Yeah, it's all here. Again, not much of a song, but the sound is nice and warming. Unassuming yes, but very relaxing to listen to. Very easy to listen to. No great work of art, a let-down certainly after Neil's 70s peaks, but not awful or anything, no, not at all! The album has some kind of cohesion thanks to the clutch of semi-country/country tunes that decorate the second half. Come the closing title song, we get a song that sounds like it was recorded live and also a song that contains the only notable electric guitar playing of the record. At last, Neil plays his guitar! It combines with the fiddle sound! Oh, I like this song. Back to that near eight minute long 'The Old Homestead'? Yeah, it's good, a major Neil Young composition. It has a seriousness about the lyrics and the performance that's perhaps lacking elsewhere on the album. Still, credit where credit is due. It wasn't a new song, but it certainly is more than worthy of Neil having returned to for this album right here. A good album, nice. That word again, nice. 'Hawks And Doves' isn't going to set anybodies world on fire, but Neil fans will enjoy it, you know?
Little Wing / The Old Homestead / Lost in Space / Captain Kennedy / Stayin' Power / Coastline / Union Man / Comin' Apart at Every Nail / Hawkes & Doves