For over 30 years I have been a big fan of Neil Young, but in that time I have also come to learn that he is capable of producing as much dross as he does outstanding work. Prairie Wind thankfully falls into the latter camp. I have only just got to listen to this and to say I have been bowled over would be putting matters mildly. This has got to be possibly one of his best releases ever. On release, and I think this may have had an influence on my not buying, it was compared to Harvest Moon. Now, horrors of horrors, I have never considered Harvest Moon as being an outstanding album, mediocre more like and certainly no comparison to Harvest, so I ignored this gem of an album as a consequence. It was only after watching on Channel 4 a Neil Young concert entitled Heart of Gold, that I first came upon 'Prairie Wind'. The bulk of that concert consisted of this album. The fact that Emmylou was a backing singer helped put the 'icing on an already wonderful cake'.
Bad tracks? I can't think of any.
Outstanding tracks? No Wonder / Prairie Wind / Far From Home / He Was The King
Much of the theme throughout appears to be reflective upon the life of his father (Who had just recently passed away). And certainly this is quite noticable in his comments throughout the concert shown on Channel 4 and on the dedications cited within the album cover / booklet / word sheet (What ever you wish to call it now). However in reflecting on his late father's life, you never ever get the feeling of sadness at a loss, you get a feeling of a celebration of a life.
For me this just has to be 'Classic Neil Young' in a folk / country vien. (No Crazy Horse to be heard here) It is laid back with touches of the harmonies of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, it is country without ever really sounding so, it is classic West Coast 60s / 70s folk rock. Just classic Neil Young!