Neil Young Charms With Emotionally Charged “Cowgirl In The Sand” Performance
YouTube, via mediagod
Live From Massey Hall, 1971
The only thing better than Neil Young at the height of his career is…well, I don’t suppose there is anything better! In 1971, 26 year old Neil Young was at the top of his game: he was between critically acclaimed albums After The Gold Rush and Harvest, and now a performance at Massey Hall that would go on to be known as Young’s most career defining performance. Among hits like ‘Heart Of Gold’ and ‘Old Man’ was ‘Cowgirl In The Sand,’ written in 1969 by Young and dusted off for the Massey Hall performance; while it wasn’t one of his bigger commercial hits, ‘Cowgirls In The Sand’ made for an emotionally charged, incredibly intimate performance and one of the greatest examples of Neil’s tremendous ability as both a songwriter and guitar player.
Fun Fact: Neil wrote ‘Cowgirl In The Sand’ while he was suffering from the flu with a high fever.
A song about a promiscuous woman, or perhaps three different women if each verse describes a different woman, ‘Cowgirl In The Sand’ has been described as “one of Neil Young’s most lasting compositions” and “a true classic” – much softer and more deeply introspective than anything he’d ever recorded, and we’re forced to agree. From the way he seems almost uncomfortable to be baring his soul in this way to the footage’s camera angles that never seem to focus on him for very long, Neil’s 1971 performance makes for an incredibly intimate experience with one of rock’s most grizzled, but absolutely lovable figures.