Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Crazy Horse

  • Crazy Horse [Reprise, 1971] A-
  • Loose [Reprise, 1972] D+
  • At Crooked Lake [Epic, 1972] B-
  • Full Moon [RCA Victor, 1978] C+
  • Left for Dead [Sisapa, 1990] C

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Crazy Horse [Reprise, 1971]
The rhythms are deliberately deliberate, and maybe the reason four different guys sing lead is that they don't really trust Danny Whitten with the job. But this should throw a good scare into Neil Young even if they moved on with his blessing. It's literate both verbally (Jack Nitzsche's "Gone Dead Train" is white blues poetry) and musically (they hoe down, they rave up, they phase out, they rock and roll). With temp worker Nils Lofgren pitching them two titles, there's not a bad song on the record. Not a bad cut, either. A-

Loose [Reprise, 1972]
Danny Whitten, Jack Nitzsche, and Nils Lofgren (remember those names) are replaced by George Whitsell, John Blanton, and Greg Leroy (forget those), leaving us (and them) with Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina. I know rhythm sections are essential, but this lifeless country-rock should teach everybody how sufficient they are. The most disappointing follow-up in memory. D+

At Crooked Lake [Epic, 1972]
Rick and Mike Curtis, whoever they are, replace George Whitsell and John Blanton, whoever they were, and the improvement exceeds statistical likelihood. Anybody who misses circa-1966 Byrds will be pleased to learn that this country-rock album features songs about spaceships, the brotherhood of man, and singing in a rock and roll band. And disappointed to learn that none of them sounds like a sure shot. B-

Full Moon [RCA Victor, 1978]
I know I've called Neil Young's backup boys the greatest hard rock band in America except the Ramones, and I know Neil Young plays guitar on five cuts here. But I mean when Neil Young was singing. Singing Neil Young songs. C+

Left for Dead [Sisapa, 1990]
Anyone mind-damaged by Ragged Glory should note that the essential Crazy Horse is a rhythm section, as the kind-hearted designate Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina. The chief vocalist-songwriter here is a fellow named Sonny Mone, who misses 1969. "Once there was a rose in a fisted glove," he pines--and also real metal, dammit, not MTV shit. C