Everybody's Rockin'

Neil Young (Neil & The Shocking Pinks)

Geffen Records, 1983


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


As much as the suits at Geffen would have disagreed with me at the time, it was almost natural for Neil Young to eventually record an album with more than just overtones of '50s doo-wop music. But one wonders why Young, himself one of the godfathers of grunge music, wouldn't hit the target closer to the mark with Everybody's Rockin' / Neil And the Shocking Pinks.

This album first came to my attention back in 1983, in the good old days when my parents had cable and I didn't have the monthly bill for the service. HBO used to have a program on, "Video Jukebox"; one of the featured videos on one episode was "Wonderin'," a wonderful example of how time-lapse photography can be used. It was a decent song (although not the first taste of Neil Young I had ever experienced), and I found myself smiling through it. (Side note: I've never seen the video since then.)my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

"Wonderin'" is one of the highlights of Everybody's Rockin', and shows that Young did have his feet firmly planted in his musical past, all the while pushing the envelope with some of his '80s work. But the unheralded gem off this one is "Mystery Train," a song that captures the spirit of the old days of rockabilly truer than one could imagine. Bringing images of Gene Vincent and early Elvis Presley to mind, Young plows through this number with gusto, making every note count.

Too bad that not every song on this incredibly short album (the ten songs clock in around a half-hour in length) has that kind of detail paid to it. "Betty Lou's Got A New Pair Of Shoes" seems to stagnate thanks to a lifeless saxophone line running through the song, while "Rainin' In My Heart" has the feel to it like it was a warm-up song from the Harvest sessions.

But Young does manage to keep things interesting, for the most part. "Jellyroll Man" takes a little time to warm up to, but proves itself to be a worthy track. Falling into the same category are "Kinda Fonda Wanda" and the title track. (Fact is, if you're not big into rockabilly or you're not very familiar with this genre, it will take a little longer for you to appreciate the finer moments on Everybody's Rockin'.)

Of course, this album just marked another one of Young's musical phases that he's gone through his entire career; fifteen years later, he has yet to do another album in this vein. I kind of hope that Young has another one in him -- though I do hope he learns from the few mistakes he made on Everybody's Rockin'. If anyone could provide Generation X with a "Rockabilly 101" course that would be fun to be a part of, it's Young.

Rating: B-

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© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Geffen Records, and is used for informational purposes only.