In 1984, Neil Young was sued by his record company, Geffen Records, for making albums it deemed "artistically uncharacteristic."
Fed up, Neil Young gathered a band of amazing Nashville musicians he called The International Harvesters, and hit the road. Recordings from those dates have been uncovered with five unreleased Neil Young tunes. The album is more traditional country than anything he'd done before.
"I hadn't heard these takes in 25 years," Young says in a press release. "But when we unearthed them, co-producer Ben Keith said, 'This is a treasure.'"
Here's a track from that record, appropriately titled A Treasure.
The city and track listing for A Treasure is as follows:
1. *Amber Jean (9/20/84) Nashville Now TV - Nashville, TN
2. Are You Ready For The Country? (9/21/84) Riverbend Music Center - Cincinnati, OH
3. It Might Have Been (9/25/84) Austin City Limits TV - Austin, Texas
4. Bound For Glory (9/29/84) Gilleys's Rodeo Arena - Pasadena, TX
5. *Let Your Fingers Do The Walking (10/22/84) Universal Amphit - Universal City, CA
6. Flying On The Ground Is Wrong (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
7. Motor City (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
8. *Soul Of A Woman (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
9. Get Back To The Country (10/26/84) Greek Theater - Berkeley, CA
10. Southern Pacific (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
11. *Nothing Is Perfect (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair - St. Paul, MN
12. *Grey Riders (9/10/85) Pier 84 - New York City, NY
* Denotes Previously Unreleased Track
The album features Young's onstage work with some of the greatest artists in the history of country music, including:
- Ben Keith (pedal steel and slide guitar) The late Ben Keith was a fixture of the Nashville country music community in the 1950s and 1960s before working with many successful rock, country and pop artists as both a producer and versatile multi-instrumentalist sideman. Listen carefully and you can hear Ben's performance on Patsy Cline's 1961 hit "I Fall to Pieces." Productions credits include Jewel's debut album, Pieces of You.
- Rufus Thibodeaux (fiddle) The late Rufus Thibodeaux was an American Cajun music fiddler who played with such artists as Lefty Frizzell, George Jones, Jim Reeves and Slim Harpo, in addition to Young. His 1970 recording, with Grand Ole Opry stalwart Jimmy C. Newman, of the song "Lache Pas la Patate" was the first song sung in Cajun French ever to reach gold status.
- Spooner Oldham (piano) Songwriter, session musician and organist Spooner Oldham has played on such classic R&B hits as "When A Man Loves A Woman" by Percy Sledge, "Mustang Sally" by Wilson Pickett, and "I Never Loved A Man" by Aretha Franklin. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member, he has also performed with such artists as Bob Dylan, Joe Cocker, Jackson Browne and The Everly Brothers. Spooner, along with his songwriting partner Dan Penn, wrote numerous recurrent radio classics, including "I'm Your Puppet" and "Cry Like A Baby."
- Hargus "Pig" Robbins (piano) Session keyboard and piano player Hargus "Pig" Robbins has played on albums by such artists as George Jones, Bob Dylan, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. He has recorded eight of his own studio albums and was awarded Musician of the Year by the Country Music Association in 1976 and 2000.
- Tim Drummond (bass guitar) Bassist Tim Drummond has played with such notable artists as Conway Twitty, Bob Dylan, James Brown, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, Ry Cooder and Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young.
- Joe Allen (bass guitar) Bassist and songwriter Joe Allen has worked with such artists as Loretta Lynn, George Strait, Gene Watson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.
- Anthony Crawford (mandolin, guitar) Multi-instrumentalist Anthony Crawford has toured with Neil Young and the Shocking Pinks, Neil Young and the International Harvesters and Neil Young & His Electric Band, as well as Steve Winwood, Dwight Yoakam and The Pegi Young Band. A prolific songwriter, Crawford has had his songs recorded by such artists as Kenny Rogers, Lee Greenwood, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Lorrie Morgan.
- Karl Himmel (drums) Drummer Karl Himmel has performed on recordings by David Allan Coe, Charlie Daniels, Bog Dylan, J.J. Cale, Leon Russell, George Jones, Jimmy Buffett and many others.