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If Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and Ragged Glory are the two finest studio albums Neil Young recorded with Crazy Horse, Zuma certainly qualifies as a close third. Recorded in 1975, Zuma exudes both a sense of focus and a tentative optimism, two qualities that were completely MIA from the bleak Time Fades Away/Tonight's the Night/On the Beach trilogy that preceded it. "Barstool Blues," "Don't Cry No Tears," and "Drive Back" are terse, punchy rockers, while "Danger Bird" and "Cortez the Killer" are extended guitar workouts in the grand Crazy Horse tradition. And the two acoustic entries--"Pardon My Heart" and "Through My Sails" (the latter was recorded with Crosby, Stills & Nash)--are absolutely gorgeous. Ignore the crappy cover art, and treat yourself to one of Young's most underrated records. --Dan Epstein

Customer Reviews:

  • His best overlooked work

    A fair amount of Neil Young's albums were largely overlooked, some of them (especially in the 80s) deservedly so. But "Zuma" is probably the most brilliant hidden gem in his catalogue. Although this is one of his Crazy Horse collaborations, the album is fairly representative of the styles of the first six years of his solo career. "Don't Cry..." could be an outtake from "Everybody Knows...", as could "Pardon My Heart" be from "Gold Rush", "Stupid Girl" from "On The Beach", and "Barstool Blues" from "Tonight's The Night". There's even a gorgeous song ("Through My Sails") with Crosby Stills & Nash that's easily among the best material that CSNY recorded.

    All that would mean little were it not that "Zuma" is a consistently engaging and entertaining listen. All of the songs are great and Neil also provides glimpses into his future direction (so influential to grunge) with the feedback drenched "Danger Bird" and the searing "Drive Back".

    The aforementioned songs alone would make this a five star album. Add to that "Cortez The Killer" which is not just one of my favorite Neil Young songs, but one of my favorite songs period. (And I have 1200 CDs so that's saying something). "Cortez" is a song of such aching beauty, it's impossible to imagine anyone else pulling this off. Listen to the near four minute solo that opens the song to understand why Neil is so revered among rock musicians. There are scores of guitarists more technically brilliant than him, but none (and I mean none) can squeeze the same emotional impact out of every note. By the time Neil sings the first words "He came dancing across the water", the listener is totally emotionally connected. This is simply one of the most brilliant moments in rock and roll history.

    Neil Young is one of those artists so important that he is not well served by compilations. If you're serious about rock, you need to own at least five of his original albums. Make sure this is one of them....more info
  • Neil at his raunchiest best
    From a hard core Neil Young fan this is one of my favorite Neil Young albums (along with Everybody Knows this is Nowhere). Zuma has great songs from start to finish, Neil with his runchy gut felt guitar licks and the feeling that each song was done in one take. The whole ablum has an energy in every note. If you are a Neil Young fan and don't have this you are missing out on a truly great ablum...more info
  • neil at 30 or so
    Good stuff culminating with Cortez. Neil's music in the 70's was by far his best...more info
  • Near Great
    More of a polished effort than the preceeding Tonight's the Night and On the Beach, but, paradoxically or not, a lesser album than either of these masterpieces. "Don't Cry No Tears" is a fine, upbeat opener, and is followed by the accomplished but inessential Crazy Horse workout "Danger Bird." "Lookin' for a Love" is a pop song of the sort that Young has written reletively few, but has an edgier side, "I hope I treat her kind, and don't mess with her mind/ when she starts to see the darker side of me" that belies its pretty, poppy surface. It's also a fine tune. The album's center is "Barstool Blues" an excellent song which demonstrates clearly why Young is considered the godfather of grunge. Thematically, "Barstool Blues" would nestle well into Tonight's the Night litany of strung-out drug songs, but with a slightly more produced sheen it here is fits perfectly, and, arranged as it is, seems to point to a way out of the bar and into the light of the street. "Stupid Girl" is a bit low, but contains more notable guitar pyrotechnics that presage the late 70's goldern age of Crazy Horse with albums like Rust Never Sleeps and Live Rust. Of course, the standout track is "Cortez the Killer," a pivotal song in Young's career, and one of his very greatest. While highly suspect as historical interpretation, the slow burn guitar buildup, Young's obvious sincerity, and the frenzied soloing combine to form a masterpiece of songwriting and musicianship....more info
  • Criminally Underrated.
    This is Neil's second best Crazy Horse album (next to "This is Nowhere"). It is a must own for any Neil fan. "Barstool Blues" is one of his greatest songs And of course, "Cortez" is music's most mesmerizing song....more info
  • Don't Cry No Tears and Cortez the Killer
    Zuma is certainly one of the best Young/Crazy Horse studio recordings. "Don't Cry No Tears," is a great rock song, with lots of sting. "Cortez the Killer" contains some of Neil's best extended rifs, and the lyrics are among his best: poetic and political at the same time. This recording gets some of my most frequent IPOD replays, and I have most of Young's records on the hard drive. ...more info
  • Just great rock music
    Released in 1975, not that long after the classic Harvest, this album shares the same downbeat mood though this time, the backing band were Crazy Horse and not the Stray 'Gators. Thus, the musical style is more rock than country.

    This is a great album with no weak tracks at all. Dangerbird is my favourite here. What a terrific song. It is one of Neil Young's best ever efforts. More than that, it is one of the best rock ballads ever with some superb guitar and bass licks.

    Barstool Blues is another great song, Neil's singing at its best and the classic Crazy Horse guitar sound is here at its finest.

    Cortez the Killer is perhaps the best known track on this album and it too is a knockout song. Where Dangerbird was surreal and Barstool Blues dealt with modern day angst, this song refers back to the brutality of the Conquistadors.

    Along with Harverst, this CD stands out as the top of Neil Young's early years and it is essential part of any collection of his work. If you particularly like this album then you will surely be interested in some of his later work with Crazy Horse such as Ragged Glory....more info

    This is one of the best of his efforts from the latter half of the Seventies. "Cortez the Killer" and "Barstool Blues" are two of his best songs of that period, and there is plenty more to recommend the album, like the CSNY track "Through My Sails". But it makes one wonder why Reprise chose to release this on CD while holding back the others of this period--TIME FADES AWAY, ON THE BEACH, and AMERICAN STARS & BARS survive only as scratchy vinyl relics. If LANDING ON WATER can make it to CD, then why not these?...more info
  • Wow!
    Honestly for once I really dont know what to say about this album, its that good. Its just straight forward rock and roll, and some of the best Neil Young And Crazy Horse or any musicians have ever created. While I cant find the right words to explain to you how good this album is I also feel that you could really never say enough about it, given you can find the words of course. Starting with the musicianship. Neil Youngs guitar playing is amazing as always, 'Cortez The Killer' showcases that. His lyrics and passion were never stronger or more present, 'Barstole Blues' is a prime example. This is the second time Crazy Horse was created as being on the album even though I think they have played on almost all his albums. Here they shine brighter then ever.

    As for the music, well it speeks for itself. Zuma opens with 'Dont Cry No Tears' which is labled a nice little grunge song which it kind of is but I would just say its a killer rock song done Neil Young style. 'Danger Bird' is a nice slower song with great vocals from Young, and boy is this a good song, man you really gotta hear to fully grasp how wonderful it is. Much like 'Danger Bird' 'Pardon My Heart' is another slower acoustical song done as only Neil could do. While the last two songs were slower 'Lookin For Love' is an upbeat country flavored rock song that is exactly what people came to know Neil for and songs like this one are what made the man famous.

    'Barstole Blues' may very well be the very best song that Neil Young ever wrote and recorded. The guitar is great, and his lyrics are really great as well. But for me its all about the delivery, and Neil is known for playing and singing with intense passion, but not like this, the way he sings this song is nothing short of amazing. You can hear him pooring his heart out all over this song. Its amazing.

    'Stupid Girl' is almost grunge but not quite, kind of like the albums opener. 'Stupid Girl' would have fir in perfectly on, On The Beach because it jsut seems like it came from the same vein, I wonder if all those songs were written at the same time. 'Drive Back' is a cool rocker with a nice chorus and great lead guitar playing by Young, some of his best. If you wanna talk about classics, then 'Cortez The Killer' is exactley that, one of Neil Youngs all time best songs. The guitar solo is concidered among many to be one of the all times best, and I as a guitar player must agree. Though I think Cortez should have ended the album, 'Through The Sails' is a nice acoustic song, almost like CSN&Y but better. Its a really peaeceful way to end the album.

    Zuma is an often over looked album in the Neil Young cannon and I can't understand why. Its an amazing album, and in my book it is far better then Harvest. Zuma is a album that no one and I mean no one should go with out hearing at least one time in you life, so if you are some who reads my reviews then I am telling you this is one album you must hear! Make it your next pruches....more info

    A while back, Warner Brothers Japan re-released 12 Neil Young titles. The surprise was that remastered content appeared for the first time on most of them.

    The titles & WB-Japan catalog numbers are:

    Neil Young WPCR-75086
    Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere WPCR-75087
    After The Gold Rush WPCR-75088
    Harvest WPCR-75089
    On The Beach WPCR-75090
    Tonight's The Night WPCR-75091
    Zuma WPCR-75092
    Long May You Run WPCR-75093
    American Stars n' Bars WPCR-75094
    Comes A Time WPCR-75095
    Rust Never Sleeps WPCR-75096
    Live Rust WPCR-75097

    I picked up most of these, A/B'd them, and found them to be superior to the domestics. However, having purchased the domestic 2002 remasters of "Beach" and "Stars n Bars", I declined the Japan versions of those two titles.

    Unfortunately, while the Japan version is remastered, Live Rust is not restored to the original LP's running form, and remains still the bastardized version.

    If you own the U.S. versions, and you're a NY fan, I would seriously consider replacing them with these....more info
  • Cortez the Killer
    Cortez was the first song I heard of Neil Young. I was blown away. I got the next day. Although there are many other good songs on this album, like Stupid Girl and Drive Back Cortez eclipses them all. Get this song....more info
  • The guys never made a bad album back then
    I cannot think of one weak album by Neil Young AND CRAZY HORSE that came out during the 70s. Some of his albums with other musicians didn't quite cut it for me (e.g., Journey through the Past). ZUMA is a perfect example of Neil & Crazy Horse doing what they do best: flexing their rock and roll muscles.

    Forget the crummy cover art. Ignore the throwaway "Through My Sails" which I think he did only to give the three other guys a little work doing their downturns. This album cooks with gas and nitro. "Drive Back" is a rocking blues tune, as is "Barstool Blues". We all know the moody boiler, "Cortez the Killer", is an overlooked classic. And "Stupid Girl" probably has one of the most outrageous lyrics in music history: "Your such a beautiful fish, flopping in the summer sand/Looking for the wave you missed, when another one is close at hand". That got me hook, line and sinker! Pick up this underrated album!...more info

    In my humble opinion, "Zuma" is one of Neil's most enjoyable and listenable albums that showcases his various talents. We get pensive acoustic Neil ("Pardon My Heart"), hopeful romantic Neil ("Lookin' For A Love"), grunge forefather Neil ("Drive Back"), and yes, even drunk poet Neil ("Barstool Blues"). Somehow it all fits together as a sort of perfect sampling of 1970's Neil Young, which by the way, is the best kind of Neil Young.

    As for Neil's lyrics on "Zuma," they show how loss can co-exist with hope, but the outcome is never certain. The subject shifts on this album depicting scenes from the endless human drama -- man does his brothers and sisters wrong, gets intoxicated to forget about it, then stares in the mirror and swears not to do it again. And my favorite, "Danger Bird" puts all those feelings of regret in one song: "With the rain pounding on his back, he recalls the moment that he cracked... long ago in the museum with his friends. And like those memories the rain keeps pounding down, down, down." Neil's guitar screams with a classic, treble-drenched solo like an exclamation point. It doesn't get better than this. I love it for its naked truth.

    If you're an old Neil Young fan, like myself, you probably already own this LP. I recommend you buy the CD version and relive the music. If you're a new fan of Neil Young and are unfamiliar with his works from the 1970's, Zuma is an enjoyable CD with some great rock tunes that will not leave you disappointed....more info
  • Easily one of Neil's greatest albums
    Without any possible question, this is one of Neil Young's greatest albums, and given the extraordinary length of his career and the amazing number of albums that he has made, that is saying something. This is also one of his most influential albums, producing a pattern for a host of guitar oriented garage and alternative bands in the 1980s and 1990s. It is impossible to listen to a band like Thin White Rope or Eleventh Dream Day or Nirvana and escape the conclusion that the members of the bands all grew up listening to the cuts on this disc.

    Although this is widely known as one of the seminal guitar albums in the history of rock, there are two paradoxes in that claim. First, a couple of the songs are entirely acoustic and feature none of the grungy guitar found throughout the rest of the disc. "Pardon My Heart" is not merely acoustic, but soft and gentle as well. "Through My Sails" is a Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song. For me, it is the weakest cut on the album, and a potent reminder to me of why I prefer Neil Young on his own. The second paradox is that in many ways Neil Young really isn't a very good guitarist. Technically, there are probably a host of high school guitarists that surpass him. His solos are some of the most elementary in the history of rock. Nonetheless, Young seems to get more musical mileage out of relatively meager chops of any guitarist in history. He might not be a virtuoso, but in this album he virtually reinvents grunge guitar, and paved the way for a host of imitators.

    Guitar aside, what drives this amazing album is the great, great songs that line up one after another. "Don't Cry No Tears" gives way for the even more stunning "Danger Bird." A couple of songs later we get one of my favorite Young songs, "Barstool Blues." "Stupid Girl" is not a work of misogyny like the Stones' "Under My Thumb," but yet another excellent guitar driven song. "Drive Back" is another great song that then gives away to the song that seems to define the entire album, the epic, majestic "Cortez the Killer," in which Neil gets to sing about his recurring subject of the European exploitation of the New World.

    Neil Young has other albums nearly as good as this, and possibly a couple of others that are even better, like AFTER THE GOLD RUSH and TONIGHT'S THE NIGHT, but there isn't a single one of his discs that I have listened to as often or with as much pleasure. This truly is a disc that ought to be in the library of every serious rock fan....more info
  • Great Music
    i like 70's music a whole lot and Neil Young is def. one of my favorites. I have alot of his music and i would say that this is his best, but it is hard to rank a Neil Young cd because there are so many great cds of his. But I think this here is def. one the the very best. Cortez the killer is completely amazing and will blow you away in my opinion, also Danger Bird. Corez the killer and Danger Bird are equally great , but they are not the only good songs on this album by far. I feel very sure that if you like Neil Young at all you will absolutely love this cd. And if you like 70's music at all you will love this cd. It is great all the way through and i have not gotten tired of it at all, if anything it grows on me. Very good music, and its highly recommended....more info
  • Zuma Rocks
    This album has aged very well, and I would have to say that even having owned it for 30 years, I still enjoy it as much now as I did then. Danger Bird, Barstool Blues, and Cortez the Killer may be the best rock n roll Neil ever wrote, so I reach for this CD more than any other Neil album. In my mind, this is the best Crazy Horse album Neil ever made - quite an endorsement considering how many good Crazy Horse records he's made....more info
  • Zuma
    Excellent, mellow, beautiful as only Mr. Young can do. I owned this album years ago. It was stolen when my home was burgled. So happy to have it again. It's worth buying again....more info