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Neil Young — Alabama
Album: Harvest
Avg rating:
7.4

Your rating:
Total ratings: 597









Released: 1972
Length: 3:53
Plays (last 30 days): 0
Oh, Alabama
The devil fools with the best laid plan
Swing low, Alabama
You got the spare change
You got to feel strange
And now the moment
Is all that it meant

Alabama, you got the weight on your shoulders
That's breaking your back
Your Cadillac, has got a wheel in the ditch
And a wheel on the track

Oh Alabama
Banjos playing through the broken glass
Windows down in Alabama
See the old folks
Tied in white ropes
Hear the banjo
Don't it take you down home?

Alabama, you got the weight on your shoulders
That's breaking your back
Your Cadillac has got a wheel in the ditch
And a wheel on the track

Oh Alabama
Can I see you and shake your hand?
Make friends down in Alabama
I'm from a new land
I come to you and
See all this ruin
What are you doing?

Alabama
You got the rest of the union
To help you along
What's going wrong?
Comments (56)add comment
 Skydog wrote:
I was born in north Alabama and I like to think of those people as decendants of the North Alabama people that didn't want to fight for the Confederacy, their reasoning was why die for rich folks..

 
Great point.  History is complicated.  We all need so badly to try to understand those people we don't agree with.  There may be way more middle ground than we think.  But, then, that's exactly what we are bad at.
“Is This Alabama?”

Hollywood Turns the Camera on Alabama



https://www.americanprogress.org/events/2012/02/15/17197/is-this-alabama/
 Hey_Porter wrote:
Cause and Effect: Without "Alabama," Ronnie Van Vandt would not have written "I hope Neil Young will remember a Southern Man don't need him around any how."  And without that, there'd be no Drive-By Truckers' "Ronnie and Neil" or possibly the entire "Southern Rock Opera" album.  So thank you Neil.

 
Just saw this! Love it!
Thank you 'Bama.
 S-curvy wrote:
This is so very timely.  "Alabama, you've got a wheel in the ditch, and a wheel in the track.  The Union is ready to help you...."
The amazing thing is the level of pride that Alabamans have for their way....

https://wp.production.patheos.com/blogs/mercynotsacrifice/files/2017/11/roy-moore-250x250.jpg
I suppose I shouldn't open this can of worms, but I couldn't resist.
This is so very timely.  "Alabama, you've got a wheel in the ditch, and a wheel in the track.  The Union is ready to help you...."

The amazing thing is the level of pride that Alabamans have for their way.... 
 daigoro wrote:
I just can't stand Neil Young.

 
Are you from Alabam'?
I just can't stand Neil Young.
 Hannio wrote:
I once met some young Canadian tourists who were friends of a friend.  A young woman and two male companions  They told me they had traveled down the eastern seaboard and through the south on their way west.  The woman noted with wide eyed wonder that they had seen "rednecks" in Alabama.  I tried hard to avoid any rudeness by not laughing out loud.  All I could manage to reply was "You don't say?".  I always think of them when I hear this song.

 
HAHA!! Real live rednecks in the wild! A road trip that should be on everyone's bucket list. {#Roflol}

We have enough of them, shouldn't be hard to find.
Cause and Effect: Without "Alabama," Ronnie Van Vandt would not have written "I hope Neil Young will remember a Southern Man don't need him around any how."  And without that, there'd be no Drive-By Truckers' "Ronnie and Neil" or possibly the entire "Southern Rock Opera" album.  So thank you Neil.
That stereo guitar he used for this song was fabulous and really makes that middle solo sing.
I once met some young Canadian tourists who were friends of a friend.  A young woman and two male companions  They told me they had traveled down the eastern seaboard and through the south on their way west.  The woman noted with wide eyed wonder that they had seen "rednecks" in Alabama.  I tried hard to avoid any rudeness by not laughing out loud.  All I could manage to reply was "You don't say?".  I always think of them when I hear this song.
 coloradojohn wrote:
I've always loved how perfectly the tweaked and cranked guitars go with the scathing lyrics on this one; it still grabs me mightily today!

 
Always reminds me of a sunny farmhouse on hot dry summer day, as you revel in a grateful daze of life.
I was born in north Alabama and I like to think of those people as decendants of the North Alabama people that didn't want to fight for the Confederacy, their reasoning was why die for rich folks..

Ole'  Neil made a lot of money not sponsoring Coke. Helped restart his career as I remember. Genius marketing and PR move, furshur.

 

treatment_bound wrote:



 


 westslope wrote:

Classic.

Can't but help think of good ol' Donald Trump.  Glad he got straightened out about President Obama's birth certificate.

 

America needs more far-sighted political activists like Donald Trump.



 
So, tell me how this comment—albeit I would think tongue in cheek—resonates four years and then some later.
My brother used to play this song all day long, in the seventies, at the time i was a little punk and despised this song.
Now that time has passed, and my brother too, and i still listen Neil Young, and i think : pfouhhhh , so great!
How stupid we are when we're young...

 diannemck56 wrote:
I love Neil Young's voice. One reason is I can sing along and sound good.  {#Bananasplit} 
But seriously, I listened to this record until the grooves were worn down.  Thanks RP for taking me back.  

 
{#Roflol} {#Cheers}
I love Neil Young's voice. One reason is I can sing along and sound good.  {#Bananasplit}  But seriously, I listened to this record until the grooves were worn down.  Thanks RP for taking me back.  
 tonypf wrote:
Shards of "Ohio" in there.  Guess it's okay to recycle... especially from yourself!

 
He may as well; David Geffen once sued Neil Young because he alleged that the first two albums Young had recorded for Geffen Records were “unrepresentative” of his music, and violated of his contract.  In other words: he sued Neil Young because his music didn't sound enough like Neil Young.  Anyhow, Neil only used so many chords at this time.
 How can a few opening chords take me so far back,,,?{#Bananapiano}  only Neil can do it.
I've always loved how perfectly the tweaked and cranked guitars go with the scathing lyrics on this one; it still grabs me mightily today!
 Stephenater wrote:
 teleskialaska wrote:

I remember those stories. Did they ever play together?  I can't think of any examples.....What a show that would have been.
 
Patterson Hood from Drive-By Truckers said it pretty well...

Now Ronnie and Neil became good friends their feud was just in song.
Skynyrd was a bunch of Neil Young fans and Neil he loved that song.
So He wrote "Powderfinger" for Skynyrd to record.
But Ronnie ended up singing "Sweet Home Alabama" to the lord."

 

Such is the duality of the southern man.  Luvs me some Patterson Hood.
I think BilG should follow this with Henry Gross's Southern Band.
Shards of "Ohio" in there.  Guess it's okay to recycle... especially from yourself!
 EdmoJoe wrote:
Perfect! Thanks RP.
 
Absolutely. Boo-hoo to all the whiny haters.
 rdo wrote:
Canada does not need to be a nuclear power --- they have Neil's voice ---- a proven WMD
 
I agree, his voice will destroy eardrums - this POS is a 1
Canada does not need to be a nuclear power --- they have Neil's voice ---- a proven WMD
 daveesh wrote:
love this! i used to listen to this album endlessly when i was in grade school. the lyrics just bubble right back up. the great influence of my older siblings. 

 

Same here!!!! My musical education came from older brothers with great taste (Dad had wonderful musical tastes as well.....I appreciate it now as an adult.) Love this album.
love this! i used to listen to this album endlessly when i was in grade school. the lyrics just bubble right back up. the great influence of my older siblings. 
Neil Young all the time, anytime.  
Great album! 
Nice!
Perfect! Thanks RP.
NY has fallen far from rock-apotheoses like this one. But it is rather major, hmmm?
 teleskialaska wrote:

I remember those stories. Did they ever play together?  I can't think of any examples.....What a show that would have been.
 
Patterson Hood from Drive-By Truckers said it pretty well...

Now Ronnie and Neil became good friends their feud was just in song.
Skynyrd was a bunch of Neil Young fans and Neil he loved that song.
So He wrote "Powderfinger" for Skynyrd to record.
But Ronnie ended up singing "Sweet Home Alabama" to the lord."
 Spliff wrote:


I heard Ronnie was buried in a Neil Young T-shirt. That little controversy helped get them get needed publicity. I also think Neil is right up there with Dylan. Who knew Canadians could be so much fun..
 
I remember those stories. Did they ever play together?  I can't think of any examples.....What a show that would have been.


 Cynaera wrote:
In the lyrics to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," there are the lines, "Well, I heard Mr. Young sing about her - I heard ol' Neil put her down - well I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don't need him around anyhow..." It was a jab at Neil's song "Southern Man."  The funny thing is that Neil was friends with Ronnie Van Zant, and the whole thing was just some good-natured ribbing among friends.

At least, that's what I remember reading in "Rolling Stone" about a zillion years ago.  
 

I heard Ronnie was buried in a Neil Young T-shirt. That little controversy helped get them get needed publicity. I also think Neil is right up there with Dylan. Who knew Canadians could be so much fun..
 westslope wrote:
America needs more far-sighted political activists like Donald Trump.
 
ROTFLMAO!! I nearly spat a mouthful of tea over the monitor when I read that. Yer man with the quiff's about as far-sighted as Mr Magoo, and a tenth as entertaining. Yes, I know you're being ironic, honest, but it was good for a laugh :-D
 Stingray wrote:
One of the most influental artists of the past 40 years,
and hopefully for another 20!

NEIL YOUNG did more for popular US-music than, for example, Dylan, I believe!
 
On a Dylan song I ragged on about how I thought Dylan was the most over-rated singer-songwriter ever.

Who do I think is better?  This guy is at the top of the list. 
 Cynaera wrote:
In the lyrics to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," there are the lines, "Well, I heard Mr. Young sing about her - I heard ol' Neil put her down - well I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don't need him around anyhow..." It was a jab at Neil's song "Southern Man."  The funny thing is that Neil was friends with Ronnie Van Zant, and the whole thing was just some good-natured ribbing among friends.

At least, that's what I remember reading in "Rolling Stone" about a zillion years ago.  
 

I had read the same article!! Further to that a radio station I use to listen to (pre RP!!!) use to do an in depth radio show on Sundays that covered the same item :)
In the lyrics to Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," there are the lines, "Well, I heard Mr. Young sing about her - I heard ol' Neil put her down - well I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don't need him around anyhow..." It was a jab at Neil's song "Southern Man."  The funny thing is that Neil was friends with Ronnie Van Zant, and the whole thing was just some good-natured ribbing among friends.

At least, that's what I remember reading in "Rolling Stone" about a zillion years ago.  
 westslope wrote:

America needs more far-sighted political activists like Donald Trump.

 

 

America needs them to move to Canada. This is one of the top 10 albums of all time. Every cut lacked for nothing.
And yes, I know where Neil comes from.

One of the most influental artists of the past 40 years,
and hopefully for another 20!

NEIL YOUNG did more for popular US-music than, for example, Dylan, I believe!


 SuzG wrote:
I didn't see it that way at all.  Besides, I have more faith in RP than that.  Given the horrific events in the last 24 hours, I don't believe that RP would make light. Look at the songs leading up to it.

I listened to the lyrics with new ears and heard it in a new context.  Some sad days ahead of them there.
 
Yeah. I grew up there, still know folks there, and I didn't think it was a slam. Even though Neil doesn't cast the state in a favorable light, to say the least.

 dwlangham wrote:
This song hasn't been played in a LOOONG time, so I wonder if it's mere coincidence that it is played the day Alabama was in the news for some terrible tornados in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. Why not kick 'em when they're down?

 

I didn't see it that way at all.  Besides, I have more faith in RP than that.  Given the horrific events in the last 24 hours, I don't believe that RP would make light. Look at the songs leading up to it.

I listened to the lyrics with new ears and heard it in a new context.  Some sad days ahead of them there.

Classic.

Can't but help think of good ol' Donald Trump.  Glad he got straightened out about President Obama's birth certificate.

 

America needs more far-sighted political activists like Donald Trump.


This song hasn't been played in a LOOONG time, so I wonder if it's mere coincidence that it is played the day Alabama was in the news for some terrible tornados in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. Why not kick 'em when they're down?

Real classy to play a song slamming Alabama right after 180 or more people were just killed there.
 cc_rider wrote:
Thank you Bill, for playing this today.
 
tough times there today...

 cc_rider wrote:
Thank you Bill, for playing this today.
 

Agreed.
Thank you Bill, for playing this today.
 calypsus_1 wrote:
no comment   -    10.
 

AGREE...

Neil Young by ~xacallforbloodx

Neil Young.
Melbourne Big Day Out.
26/1/2009

This is one of his best "rough" gems Neil has ever done!!!!  Love this song!
no comment   -    10.