Because in reality, a Neil Young and Crazy Horse album that does nothing but cover traditional American folk songs should be dreadful. At least as bad as his dashed-off protest album, Living with War. But sure enough, a few weeks ago, word leaked out via NeilYoung.com that the long-awaited Crazy Horse record, called Americana, would explore old American chestnuts like “This Land Is Your Land,” “Clementine” and “Wayfaring Stranger.”
Yesterday, Neil released the first track, “Oh, Susanna,” complete with a sepia-toned YouTube video of banjo players and assorted Clampett-looking folk. The verdict: it’s surprisingly listenable. Like all good Crazy Horse records, it’s loose (bordering on sloppy), sounding as if someone just hit “record” in the middle of a studio jam session.