Thursday, May 29, 2014

Reprise Records: Old Man

Day five of our tribute to Reprise Records provides a Thirty Something Thursday selection from Neil Young. Released in 1972 from his #1 album “Harvest,” “Old Man” was a comparison to an older man and was loosely based on Louis Avila, the caretaker of Young’s Broken Arrow Ranch. While the song only peaked at #31, it was an instant classic due to its popularity on album radio.

While Young plays the acoustic guitar and sings lead, “Old Man” features back-up vocals by James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt. Additionally, Taylor plays a six-string banjo (or guitar banjo) on the cut. The six string banjo is tuned like a guitar (E-A-D-G-B-E), which makes the transition to a banjo like instrument easier for guitarists. A 5-string banjo is tuned G-D-G-B-D, while a tenor banjo is typically tuned as C-G-D-A. Other musicians include Ben Keith on pedal steel, Kenny Buttery on drums, Tim Drummond on bass, and James McMahon on piano.

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