I finished reading Jimmy McDonough’s Neil Young biography, Shakey, while on vacation. It’s a great book, marred only in its final chapters when the biographer injects himself a little bit too aggressively into the narrative for my tastes.
The general consensus of all parties interviewed in the book was that the album Re-Ac-Tor is one of Young’s worst. I remain perpetually perplexed by that, and by the general disdain with which that record is viewed by critics and fans alike. Call me heretic, but it’s one of my all-time favorite Neil Young records, easily, and I love love love the much maligned nine-minute-one-riff “T-Bone” to boot. If given the choice of being stranded on a desert island with Harvest or Freedom or Rust Never Sleeps or Re-Ac-Tor, I’d probably take the latter. I’d have to think about it if it came down to choosing between Re-Ac-Tor and Live Rust, I guess.
In summary, I think folks need to rethink their reaction to this record. Everyone go buy it now. Ain’t got no T-Bone.