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Neil Young Releases Video for ‘Jesus’ Chariot’ from Upcoming ‘Americana’ Album

Neil Young
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Neil Young has just released the second song and video from his ‘Americana‘ album, which will be released June 5. As has been widely reported, the album reunites him with longtime co-conspirators Crazy Horse as they put their unique sound on classic American folk tunes. Here, Young and his pals take on ‘She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain,’ which is renamed ‘Jesus’ Chariot’ on the album.

Young’s liner notes gives the history and double meaning of the song. “Written in the 1800s based on an old Negro spiritual,” he writes. “This song refers to the second coming of Jesus, and ‘she’ is the chariot Jesus is coming on. Some interpret this as the end of the world. Others have said that ‘she’ refers to union organizer Mary Harris ‘Mother’ Jones going to promote formation of labor unions in the Appalachian coal-mining camps.”

If you thought his somewhat lecherous take on Stephen Foster’s ‘Oh Susannah‘ was cool, you’re likely to enjoy what he did with ‘She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain.’ Ralph Molina’s drums pound away as the electric guitars surge forward in a minor key. The new arrangement gives the song a more ominous feeling instead of the celebratory manner in which it’s usually sung.

The darker tone is reflected by the video, which uses footage from D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film ‘Birth of a Nation.’ The movie has earned criticism for its negative portrayal of African Africans during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Young has often sung out against racism, most famously in 1970’s ‘Southern Man.’

Watch the Video for ‘She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain’ by Neil Young and Crazy Horse

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