The Song of the Day needs a rock­er ev­ery so of­ten to keep up the en­er­gy lev­el, and it’s nev­er had any Neil Young ev­er, so let’s solve both prob­lems with Come On Ba­by Let’s Go Down­town, co-written with the late Dan­ny Whit­ten. A tri­umphant rock holler car­ried on arch­ing gui­tar lines, it’s a cen­ter­piece of Tonight’s the Night, which is a tri­umph and a tragedy.

Danny Whitten

Dan­ny Whit­ten

Tonight’s the Night was record­ed and re­leased in 1975, but Down­town was record­ed live, with Whit­ten on gui­tar, in 1970. Whit­ten fell in­to the nar­cotics tarpit and died the same night Neil fired him from the band, as did long­time road­ie Bruce Ber­ry, in the months be­fore the record’s re­lease. Their names and spir­its in­form the record, and Neil is on the record as feel­ing that, in the rear-view, it’s one of his best. I’ve al­ways agreed, and es­pe­cial­ly love the ti­tle track; but to­day I feel like rock­ing out a bit.

This is part of the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on Spo­ti­fy, iTunes, Ama­zon. This live video from 2001 is weird­ly slow, so less of a par­ty song, but still ef­fec­tive.

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April 02, 2018
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