Ben Keith's Legacy with Neil Young

Neil Young has just released music from his archives of the 1984-85 tours of the International Harvesters, to great reviews. Neil and steel guitarist Ben Keith (who died last year) waded through their recordings of 85 concerts to cherry-pick a dozen songs for this album. Their selections include 5 five previously unreleased songs.

The album, called A Treasure, features Ben on pedal steel, Rufus Thibodeaux on fiddle, Spooner Oldham and Hargus "Pig" Robbins on piano, Tim Drummond and Joe Allen on bass, Anthony Crawford on mandolin & guitars and Karl Himmel on drums, among many others. Seems that the Nashville cats were happy to play with Neil, while the country music establishment flatly refused to market his music to country audiences.

You can preview short clips of the tracks on Ben Keith's pedal steel is prominent on many of the songs, reminding many of us why we took up steel in the first place.

Looking for clips of the International Harvesters on YouTube, I came across the song Powderfinger from an Austin City Limits show. It's not on the new CD, but it's from the same era (1984) and you get a good sense of Ben's overall contribution to the band's sound.

Lastly, here's a picture from the Farm Aid concert in 1992.

We miss you, Ben.

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