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A flip side anniversary tribute to Neil Young with Tanya Donelly and more

Fabulous Flip Sides presents American Laundromat Records’ all-female Neil Young tribute double album with The Loyal Seas’ album interview, plus Blue Élan Records’ tribute to Poco’s Rusty Young and an upcoming solo album from America’s Gerry Beckley.

Fabulous Flip Sides presents American Laundromat Records’ all-female Neil Young tribute double album with The Loyal Seas’ album interview, plus Blue Élan Records’ tribute to Poco’s Rusty Young and an upcoming solo album from America’s Gerry Beckley.

PART ONE - AMERICAN LAUNDROMAT RECORDS

American Laundromat Records has released the double vinyl album Cinnamon Girl, named after Neil Young’s Top 100 solo singles debut, with female artists performing his songs as a fundraiser for Casting for Recovery, an organization that provides healing retreats for women with breast cancer. The collection includes Young’s Top 40 solo singles debut “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” by Amilia K Spicer, featuring piano and strings, an electric version of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s “Ohio” by Darcie Miner and an acoustic version of the single, including a medley with its flip side “Find the Cost of Freedom” by Dala. The opening number is Young’s highest charting solo single “Heart of Gold” performed by Tanya Donelly, known for her work with the groups Belly, Throwing Muses and The Breeders. Donelly also has a new release as part of the duo The Loyal Seas with Brian Sullivan of Dylan in the Movies. Goldmine spoke with Donelly and Sullivan about their new releases for the label.

LSeas Cinnamon

GOLDMINE: Welcome back to Goldmine as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold.” There is a version of the flip side of the single “Sugar Mountain” by Louise Post at the beginning of side four of this new double vinyl collection, but you kick off the entire collection with a great rendition of Neil Young’s most successful A side.

TANYA DONELLY: Thank you. I love “Heart of Gold” and his music. I was in the studio with so many people putting this together. As a kid, Neil Young was one of my parents’ favorites, so he was a huge piece of the soundtrack of my childhood and throughout my life.

LSeas flip

Neil Young

Fabulous Flip Side: Sugar Mountain (live)

A side: Heart of Gold

Billboard Top 100 debut: February 5, 1972

Peak position: No. 1

Reprise REP 1065

 “Heart of Gold”-Tanya Donelly:

Sugar Mountain (live)” – Neil Young:

"As a kid, Neil Young was one of my parents’ favorites, so he was a huge piece of the soundtrack of my childhood and throughout my life." — Tanya Donelly

LSeas album

GM: Now let’s talk about your first full-length album as a member of the duo The Loyal Seas. I watched the video of the opening number “(So Far From) Silverlake” directed by Orrin Anderson. Seeing the lyrics on the screen helped in telling this cross-country story with two different attitudes, where Brian’s character is more optimistic than Tanya’s character.

BRIAN SULLIVAN: Isn’t that always the way?

TD: I love that you called them characters because that is how I feel about this story. It doesn’t often happen for me to have a fully fleshed out cinematic narrative with a storyline and a song but with this one I envisioned a couple being best friends growing up and then he left their hometown.

GM: Brian, your voice is calming, reminding me of the gentle delivery of John Lodge from The Moody Blues.

BS: Thanks. That’s a huge compliment. This is one of the first times that I presented just a brief storyline to Tanya. I wrote the first lines and when I was done, I said, “Here you go. Please finish it.” I had a whole story in my mind of what my lines meant, “Falling asleep on a floor in L.A. You saved me when you said we’d be OK. So, I kissed you and crossed the country in less than a day. Silverlake to Tennessee to Maryland to New England.” The story that she picked up is amazing. Her words are beautiful, “I was there on the crest of a wave that landed you on the wrong side of the States.”

GM: Your trip time must have taken poetic license as I know I can’t make it across Tennessee in a day.

BS: Sure. That part was somewhat based on a true story when I was living in Silverlake and had to get back home on the east coast for family quickly and made it home probably in just two-and-a-half days.

“(So Far From) Silverlake” – The Loyal Seas:

GM: The next song is one we featured in 2020 when it was released as a vinyl single ahead of the album, the title tune “Strange Mornings in the Garden.” It is up-tempo with a little bit of Modern English’s “I Melt with You” in the opening, melodically and Chris Blonairz’s drums are so steady.

BS: We were working in the studio with our engineer Colin Lester Fleming. Chris was his friend, who heard the song one night in the studio after Tanya and I left. He asked to play drums on the song, did, and his playing is incredible.

GM: Tanya, in the background of “Mary Magdalene in the Great Sky” what syllables are you singing?

TD: I was attempting to line the syllables up sonically with “there are no” but was trying to see if there might have been some Latin that I could connect it to, and it came out as “day-ah-no.”

BS: We should have asked Harry Belafonte to sing that part.

GM: There is variety on this album, like you had Tanya with your Belly Bees collection which we talked about last year. “Come Around Again” is very steady. Brian, when you begin the song, I was immediately reminded of Shawn Mullins’ “Lullaby” and then the tempo took me back to J.D. Souther’s “You’re Only Lonely.” It is different from what I would call Tanya’s stuff.

TD: That was an 11th hour consideration, about a week before we began recording. Brian said, “I have a new one.” He played it for me. I loved that song, and it is one hundred percent Brian.

BS: My sister said it reminded her of Concrete Blonde and that makes sense as I was listening to a lot of their music at the time.

GM: Let’s “raise our glass” to “Milkweed,” “if the shoe fits.”

BS: I wrote the piano part for that, which you can hear throughout the whole song. It started out as more of a dance number with a loop beat behind it and then I added more of a 4/4 beat which changed it, but I couldn’t find the right melody or lyrics, so I handed off this backdrop to Tanya to handle the rest.

TD: This is an example where I didn’t adhere to the form of the song and took a lot of liberty with its structure. Once we tinkered with it with Jon Evans, then it jelled.

BS: I am happy it did because when Tanya had sent back to me what she did, I didn’t get it, but with Jon, then it was like, “ding, ding, ding” and it all made sense. This was something I would have never thought of doing and completely elevated the song.

TD: We got some of our friends to do a rousing pub singing in the background too.

GM: Speaking about pubs, will there be live performances of the songs?

TD: Yes. We are actually playing in an Irish pub, The Burren, which is in Somerville, Massachusetts on June 25 for two shows at 3:30 and 7 p.m. and will be doing a City Winery show in the summer. We will be also do a streaming show from Q Division Studios in Somerville. Thank you for another Goldmine article with you.

BS: Thank you. We really appreciate this.

  

PART TWO – BLUE LAN RECORDS

LSeas My Friend

In 2021, we lost half of the late 1970s Poco Top 40 breakthrough lineup of Rusty Young, a Blue Élan Records artist in recent years, and Paul Cotton. The Blue Élan Records family pay tribute to Young on the album My Friend.

Roan Yellowthorn, a musical project of singer-songwriter Jackie McLean, recorded “One Tear at a Time,” the opening number from Poco’s 2002 Running Horse album. McLean’s tender vocal opening blends into a steady beat as she sings Young’s words, “I’ll be missing you one tear at a time.” McLean told Goldmine, “I loved recording this song and producing it mostly from our basement studio with my partner Shawn Strack. Rusty was a labelmate of mine and his presence was always so gentle and sweet anytime I saw him in person. He had a very kind spirit. He was still alive at the time that I recorded this song but passed away before it was released. That makes the song all the more poignant to me. I love the feeling of the lyrics and the melody. There's something so aching about it and that's what I gravitate to the most in the music that I record and listen to. There's something that makes a song even more sad when there's an upbeat melody. That juxtaposition can be heartbreaking, and I think that is in the case with this song. I'm grateful that I had a chance to do my own rendition of it. It was a special experience to put my own spin on such a beautiful song."

“One Tear at a Time” – Roan Yellowthorn:

“Crooked Road” was co-written by Young and Mustangs of The West vocalist and guitarist Suzanna Spring in 1999 and then forgotten until Young’s passing. The introduction features Young’s voice from the original demo before going into the full band recording. Spring said, “Six months after I learned that Rusty was gone, I was looking through my lyric sheets to submit some songs for the next Mustangs of The West album. A page of lyrics fell out of the pile in my hand. It was the lyric sheet for ‘Crooked Road.’” Spring sings, “Love’s such a crooked road,” with a delivery recalling Trisha Yearwood and the female group providing strong harmonies.

“Crooked Road” – Mustangs of The West:

LSeas track
Blue Élan Records will release Aurora on June 17

Blue Élan Records will release Aurora on June 17

Gerry Beckley’s Aurora contains a variety of songs written over a number of years. “Way to Go” is reminiscent of the sound of 1982 when Ian Thomas’ composition “Right Before My Eyes” was on the radio by America as was his composition “Hold On” by Santana. Beckley’s composition “Way to Go” is more in line with “Hold On” including his great electric guitar solo. Nick Lane on trombone and Nick Rosen on violin round out this catchy recording.

“Tickets to the Past” marks the first time that Beckley and his longtime America partner Dewey Bunnell appear somewhere other than an America album together. This collaboration, co-written by both America members, begins with Beckley recalling the gentle vocal sound of “Daisy Jane.” Bunnell delivers the second verse and then their harmonies kick in with a promising message that there is “no time like the future.”

“Tickets to the Past” – Gerry Beckley with Dewey Bunnell:

Related Links:

Neil Young's music is available at Goldmine Shop

American Laundromat Records

Goldmine The Loyal Seas 45 2020

Goldmine Tanya Donelly Belly interview 2021

Blue Élan Records

Goldmine Rusty Young In Memoriam 2021

Goldmine Roan Yellowthorn Jackie McLean interview 2021

Goldmine Mustangs of The West Suzanna Spring interview 2020

Goldmine Gerry Beckley interview 2019

Goldmine Fabulous Flip Sides now in its eighth year

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