Personnel includes: Neil Young (vocals, guitar, harmonica); Linda Rondstadt (vocals); Frank Sampedro, Chad Cromwell, Rick Rosas, Pancho Villa, Steve Lawwrence, Ben Keith.
Producers: Neil Young, Niko Bolas.
Engineers: Niko Bolas, Dave Hewitt, Tim Mulligan.
Recorded at Jones Beach, Long Island, New York; The Barn-Redwood Digital; The Hit Factory, New York, New York; Redwood Digital.
Filmed in Jones Beach, NY and at The Palladium in NYC on September 5 and 6, 1989.
Personnel: Neil Young (vocals, guitar); Linda Ronstadt (vocals); Frank "Poncho" Sampedro (guitar); Poncho Villa (acoustic guitar); Ben Keith (alto saxophone); Steve Lawrence (tenor saxophone); Larry Cragg (baritone saxophone); Tom Brey, John Fumo (trumpet); Chad Cromwell (drums).
Recording information: 07/25/1988-08/10/1989.
After spending the 1980s going through stylistic changes, Neil Young released FREEDOM, a more straight-forward rock album that was no less lyrically complex despite its appeal to a broader piece of the mainstream. Playing with an assortment of musicians versus a set back-up band like the Stray Gators or the Shocking Pinks, this 1989 release is pure Neil Young. Like any great songwriter, Young populates these songs with memorable characters. "Crime in the City (Sixty to Zero Part 1)" is like a mini-Robert Altman movie with criminals and crooked cops rubbing shoulders with producers and artists whereas Rommel, oil riggers and televangelists populate "Someday."
Although Frank Sampedro is the only participating member of Crazy Horse, Young still manages to get a big guitar crunch on the predominantly stripped-down "Don't Cry" and a ferocious cover of "On Broadway." The subtler moments are also captivating, whether it's a duet with Linda Ronstadt on the folkie "Hangin' on a Limb" or the slow-burn, Spanish twang of "Eldorado" that occasionally burps up a bit of heavy distortion. Young's indictment of the Reagan '80s comes in bookended versions (one live acoustic, one electric) of the anthemic "Rockin' in the Free World" that howl with righteous indignation.
Rolling Stone (11/89) - 5 Stars - Ranked #85 in Rolling Stone's 100 Best Albums Of The 80's survey.
Q (4/02, p.141) - "...FREEDOM hit harder than anything Young had recorded in a decade [the '80s]..."