Music March 3, 2013
NOD TO THE GODS: Neil Young, 'Comes A Time'

This week, we're visiting the title track off Uncle Neil Young's ninth album, 'Comes A Time' from 1978. The record marked a return to the beloved country-folk sound of 1972's 'Harvest' and it went Gold.

Recorded over a two-year period at six studios with four different producers and dozens of musicians, it is hard to believe it was originally constructed as a solo record until the label suggested otherwise.

The result featured Crazy Horse grit on two of the album cuts ('Look Out For My Love' and 'Lotta Love').

J.J. Cale filled in on electric for the rest, and the record features some impeccable harmonies courtesy of Nicolette Larson, who achieved success for her solo rendition of 'Lotta Love'.

This quiet and sweetly melodic album dropped in the middle of 1978, when the musical world was punk-drunk.

While Young and Larson's shared vocals on 'Comes A Time' became a fan favourite, the tune has also turned into an anthem of sorts for Young's Farm Aid appearances, since the 1986 performance at the top.

Farm Aid began in 1985 as a concert to raise money and awareness for family farmers in the United States.

Young (along with Willie Nelson and John Mellencamp) was inspired by Bob Dylan's comments at Live Aid earlier that year: "I hope that some of the money... maybe they can just take a little bit of it, maybe... one or two million, maybe and use it, say to pay the mortgages on some of the farms."

Although Bob Geldof called Dylan's comments as "crass, stupid and nationalistic," Young and friends formed an incredible line-up to put those ideas into practice.

It included the Beach Boys, Johnny Cash, John Fogerty, Tom Petty, Billy Joel, Randy Newman, Carole King, Loretta Lynn, Roy Orbison, Eddie Van Halen, Sammy Hagar and Dylan himself.

Dylan's Farm Aid appearance helped reinvigorate his taste for the stage. Following his set with Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, they joined forces for a successful world tour.

The next year, Dylan played a six-date Americana stadium tour with the Grateful Dead, a victory lap with The Heartbreakers and began his Never Ending Tour in 1988. And 24 years later, he's still at it.

For further musical musings, new and old, join the collective for The Strombo Show on CBC Radio 2, every Sunday night at 8PM. And if you'd like to catch up or re-listen, all of the episodes are archived right here.

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