On the Beach is the second of a trio of albums that are labeled the Ditch Trilogy by Neil Young fans. It was released in 1974 although his next album Tonight’s the Night was already completed before he ever began recording On the Beach. Still On the Beach came first. Its common that Young would complete a full album only to shelve it. Some have sat in his archive for 40 years before he put them out.
These albums came at a time when Neil had lost a couple of friends to drug overdoses so they are pretty reflective and despairing albums. On the Beach might be my all time favorite album to listen to while stoned. Its mostly pretty low key, and has consistent tone that creates a great vibe. Its also a good “driving home in a snow storm album” but non-Canadians won’t know how important that is.
Today’s deep cut is See the Sky About to Rain. Neil Young gave this song to his buddy David Crosby’s band The Byrds and they actually recorded it first, but Neil’s version of the song is the strongest one in my eyes. The song was in existence until as far back as 1971, but it wasn’t released by Young until 1974.
On the Beach is one of Young more praised albums today although it wasn’t so much at the time. It isn’t up there with the tentpole albums like Harvest and After the Gold Rush because it doesn’t have a huge hit on it.
Neil Young gets his second Deep Cut of the Day. I saw a recommendation for Nazareth in the comments recently. I’ll make sure I highlight one of them soon.