Listen to Neil Young’s isolated guitar on the brilliant ‘Cinnamon Girl’ from 1969
Few riffs will hit the hearts of Neil Young fans quite like the chugging masterclass on 1969 song ‘Cinnamon Girl’. Here, we’re taking a look back at the iconic single through Young’s isolated guitar.
The track debuted on 1969’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Young’s first step into the wild with his new backing band Crazy Horse. ‘Cinnamon Girl’ would later be released as a single in 1970, peaking at 55 on the Billboard chart.
It may not have been a chart-smashing success but the song is a broad stroke of Young’s impending legend status. The track is dripping with longing with Young saying he wrote the track “for a city girl on peeling pavement coming at me through Phil Ochs’ eyes playing finger cymbals. It was hard to explain to my wife.”
The song was written in the same short window as two other tracks from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, ‘Cowgirl in the Sand’ and ‘Down By The River’. The three songs were all put together while Young was suffering from the flu and a dangerously high fever at his home in California. Whether it was the medication or the relief of passing lucidity, the fact remains that it was a charmed period of writing for Young.
The track isn’t all down to Young, though. In fact, the song really highlights his partnership with Danny Whitten during his early recordings. The vocals, which can be found below the isolated guitar track, are a duet and perfectly balanced by Whitten’s high harmony and Young’s low one.
But truly, it is on the isolated guitar track that the power fo the song really rings true. It’s a big heavy riff, muddied and bruising. It chugs across the airwaves and lands with aplomb. Written and performed on Young then-newly acquired, now-legendary Gibson Les Paul “Old Black”, it is Young at his powerful best.
The best way to hear this strong and punching approach is by checking out the isolated guitar track below. Listen to Neil Young’s “Old Black” on ‘Cinnamon Girl’ from 1969.