≡ Menu

Boomer Anthems: Mr. Soul

Trans Band (Berlin)1982 Ben Keith, Nils Lofgren, Ralph Molina, Bruce Palmer, Joe Lala, Joel Bernstein & Larry Cragg

Directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg

Oh hello Mr. Soul I dropped by to pick up a reason
For the thought that I caught that my head is the event of the season
Why in crowds just a trace of my face could seem so pleasin’
I’ll cop out to the change but a stranger is putting the tease on

I was down on a frown when the messenger brought me a letter
I was raised by the praise of a fan who said I upset her
Any girl in the world could have easily known me better
She said you’re strange but don’t change and I let her

In a while will the smile on my face turn to plaster
Stick around while the clown who is sick does the trick of disaster
For the race of my head and my face is moving much faster
Is it strange I should change I don’t know why don’t you ask her

Is it strange I should change I don’t know why don’t you ask her
Is it strange I should change I don’t know why don’t you ask her
Is it strange I should change I don’t know why don’t you ask her

“Written by Young after experiencing an epilepsy attack after an early show with Buffalo Springfield in San Francisco. Many people in the audience were questioning if it was part of the act. While being a patient at UCLA Medical Center, he wrote the song once he was awake and recovering and told to return for further tests. The lyrics reflected Young’s experience, feeling as though he was about to die. Thereupon, he was advised by his doctor to never take LSD or any other hallucinogenic drugs.

Advice, I note, Mr. Young obviously ignored. . .

“More Barn!” The Story of How Neil Young First Played Harvest for Graham Nash Young’s erstwhile CSNY bandmate Nash recounts the day Young first played him Harvest:

The man is totally committed to the muse of music. And he’ll do anything for good music. And sometimes it’s very strange. I was at Neil’s ranch one day just south of San Francisco, and he has a beautiful lake with red-wing blackbirds. And he asked me if I wanted to hear his new album, “Harvest.” And I said sure, let’s go into the studio and listen.

Oh, no. That’s not what Neil had in mind. He said get into the rowboat.

I said get into the rowboat? He said, yeah, we’re going to go out into the middle of the lake. Now, I think he’s got a little cassette player with him or a little, you know, early digital format player. So I’m thinking I’m going to wear headphones and listen in the relative peace in the middle of Neil’s lake.

Oh, no. He has his entire house as the left speaker and his entire barn as the right speaker. And I heard “Harvest” coming out of these two incredibly large loud speakers louder than hell. It was unbelievable. Elliot Mazer, who produced Neil, produced “Harvest,” came down to the shore of the lake and he shouted out to Neil: How was that, Neil?

And I swear to god, Neil Young shouted back: More barn!

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • patvann September 13, 2022, 3:24 PM

    I’ve heard that the speakers he used were Altec Lancing A2’s. Freaking huge. (I own the little sisters to those, the A7-500.)

    • ghostsniper September 13, 2022, 7:02 PM

      https://greatplainsaudio.com › VOTT.1983.pdf

      • patvann September 16, 2022, 10:47 AM

        Very familiar with the good folks at Great Plains. Thank you!

  • jwm September 13, 2022, 3:52 PM

    There is ONE. Exactly one Neil Young song that I like, and it is on my all time favorites list.
    This it.

    JWM

  • ghostsniper September 13, 2022, 6:48 PM

    I want that LP, cept in root beer quilted maple.

  • Skorpion September 13, 2022, 7:46 PM

    I always thought that the line about “In a while will the smile on my face turn to plaster” was a reference to the Plaster Casters. These were groupies of the era who would memorialize their conquests by making casts of rock stars’ erect members in plaster. Neil was a groupie favorite when he was with the Springfield, and no doubt some aging rock trollop has hidden away a memento of his young manhood.

  • Jack September 14, 2022, 6:56 AM

    Young is almost a king of esoteric lines and, for example, this is the first time that I have ever heard anyone give an indication of the meaning of Mr. Soul. I’ve always thought that he wrote great music but that his lyrics were painful efforts to create rhyme. What do I know?

  • brinster September 14, 2022, 7:32 AM

    Will good old Neil organize a concert protesting the abuses of the Brandon administration?
    Nah.

  • WDS September 14, 2022, 9:45 AM

    Won tickets to see CSNY at the Boston Garden (a million years ago) that also allowed us a backstage visit. Everyone was pretty cool and being an aspiring drummer it was great to meet the drummer on tour with them. Young was rude and smelled as if he hadn’t bathed in weeks.

    btw, I remember seeing a half a dozen road cases clearly marked “The Cowsills” on the side of the stage. Borrowed or bought, who knows?

Leave a Comment