Neil Young has released many, many albums in his career, but he’s also shelved a ton over the years. In recent times, he’s been emptying out the vaults, releasing the legendary Homegrown about two years ago, alongside 1982’s Johnny’s Island and 1987’s Summer Songs last year. In April of last year, he also shared a bunch of details about upcoming archival releases, including a 2001 album with Crazy Horse called Toast.
Here’s what Young wrote about Toast at the time:
Toast is an album that stands on its own in my collection. Unlike any other, Toast was so sad that I couldn’t put it out. I just skipped it and went on to do another album in its place. I couldn’t handle it at that time. 2001.
John Coltrane, one of my heroes, made some music at ‘Toast’ studio back in the day. It may have been called ‘Coast’ then, but maybe not. The name changed a few times back and forth. It was on Mission in SF. The back door opened onto an alley. It was so stuffy in there that we left the door open until one day we saw rats coming in and out. After that, we just went outside for a smoke.
The music of Toast is about a relationship. There is a time in many relationships that go bad, a time long before the break up, where it dawns on one of the people, maybe both, that it’s over. This was that time.
The sound is murky and dark, but not in a bad way. Fat. From the first note, you can feel the sadness that permeates the recording. That song, with its refrain, “Don’t say you love me,” is called “Quit.” The next one, sort of like a Deep Purple hit, is called “Standing In The Light.” “I don’t wanna to get personal, or have you put me on the spot” is the opening line. Followed by “Goin Home,” these songs paint a landscape where time doesn’t matter – because everything is going south. A lady is lost in her car. The dark city surrounds her – past present and future. It’s a scary place. You be the judge.
Then the scene changes to a religious guy who just lost his job. He’s turning on Jesus. He can’t cut any more trees. He’s a logger. Finally, The “Gateway Of Love” beckons with “background noise on a changing sky.” I had forgotten about these songs, put them out of my mind and went on living my life.
It must be said that here Crazy Horse shows a depth never seen or heard before. The greatest group I have ever met. This is a pinnacle. Where they let me go, where they took me, was unbelievable. I couldn’t stay. Then, “I’d like to shake your hand, Mr. Disappointment.” I see you now eye to eye. Murky and dark. There’s no mistaking it. How can you be so real and intangible? So we continued on down on the path. “She’s a healer.” But not this time. It’s Toast.
Toast was recorded at Toast Studio in San Francisco in late 2000 and early 2001 and different versions of four songs later appeared on Are You Passionate?, Young’s 2002 album with Booker T. & the M.G’s. An official recording of “Standing In The Light Of Love” is out now (that song’s been played live before) and the whole album is due out in early July. Check out the track below.
02 “Standing In The Light Of Love”
03 “Goin’ Home”
05 “Gateway Of Love”
06 “How Ya Doin’?”
07 “Boom Boom Boom”
Toast is out 7/8.