Tonight’s the Night
Tonight’s the Night is telling the sorrow of two friends' deaths: the guitarist Danny Whitten and the roadie Bruce Berry. It was recorded in 1973 but wasn’t released until June 1975. The album was close to not get released at all, but Neil Young finally chose to release it instead of Homegrown which was recorded but abandon in the last minute. Tonight’s the Night is produced by David, Briggs, Tim Mulligan, Neil Young and Elliot Mazer.
1. Tonight's the Night
2. Speakin' Out
3. World on a String
4. Borrowed Tune
5. Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown
6. Mellow My Mind
7. Roll Another Number (for the Road)
9. New Mama
10. Lookout Joe
11. Tired Eyes
12. Tonight's the Night - Part II
On Tonight’s the Night Neil Young is playing with Crazy Horse once again, this time including Nils Lofgren and Jack Nitzsche. From Crazy Horse Danny Whitten is of course missing, but he is present on one track: “Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown” what is a live recording from a concert at Fillmore East in 1970.
In his autobiography, Waging Heavy Peace, Neil Young mentions that the musicians involved in the recordings, including himself, were pretty much drunk all the time when Tonight’s the Night evolved. This verse from “Borrowed Time” witness about it:
I'm singin' this borrowed tune
I took from the Rolling Stones,
Alone in this empty room
Too wasted to write my own.
The drugs were seemingly present; it's enough to look at the cover with Neil appearing in dark sunglasses and wearing beards. The "borrowed tune" Neil took from the Rolling Stones is by the way "Lady Jane". The circumstances may give some positive aspect to the album nevertheless; it has authentic qualities and is all but over produced.
The slow “Mellow My Mind” isn’t fully focus but yet one of the best songs on the album. Another high point is “Roll Another Number (for the Road)” with some sublime country mixed with melancholy desolation.
We can on some tunes hear Neil pick up the harmonica again which was left out on the previous solo album. In overall, with Tonight’s the Night Neil Young was returning to the simple and straightforward, that made a thankful contrast to his large arena gigs on tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash.