Great work from Gloria Coleman – an overlooked genius on the organ, and part of an elite group of female keyboardists that includes Shirley Scott, Rhoda Scott, and Trudy Pitts! Coleman almost never got the chance to record, but clearly had a sharpness that was honed from years in the clubs – a tight, soulful approach to the instrument that also has her working the bass pedals as strongly as the keys – and an ability to sing at all the right times, in a soul-drenched mode that's even deeper than the vocalizations of Trudy Pitts on her late 60s albums for Prestige. The group's got James Anderson on tenor, Dick Griffin on trombone, Ray Copeland on flugelhorn, and Earl Dunbar on guitar – and titles include the funky "Bugaloo for Ernie", a great version of Kenny Dorham's "Blue Bossa", Blue Mitchell's "Fungi Mama".
After the Buffalo Springfield imploded, Neil Young recorded his first, eponymous solo album, an elaborately overdubbed affair that cast him in the role of brooding singer-songwriter. But soon after that record was released, in January 1969, Young began jamming in Los Angeles with a band called the Rockets, redubbed Crazy Horse, and started a relationship that would change guitar rock forever and form the foundation of his career. If Neil Young had an aura of careful subtlety bordering on tentativeness, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere felt raw, rushed, energized. Indeed, Young dashed off the album’s three central songs — “Cinnamon Girl,” “Down by the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand” — in a single fever-addled afternoon, and Young and the band play with an almost reckless disregard for prettiness, precision, clarity.
While it's true this set has been given the highest rating AMG awards, it comes with a qualifier: the rating is for the music and the package, not necessarily the presentation. Presentation is a compiler's nightmare in the case of artists like John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, who recorded often and at different times and had most of their recordings issued from the wealth of material available at the time a record was needed rather than culling an album from a particular session.