Don’t get me wrong- even after almost 30 years of listening to Young’s FM Radio standbys, I still love "Old Man," "Ohio", and all the rest… but there’s something to be said for having as much buried treasure as Neil Young has. Young has stated that he wrote "Down by the River," along with "Cinnamon Girl" and "Cowgirl in the Sand" (two of my other very favorite Young tracks) while laid up in bed in his Topanga Canyon home with a 103-degree fever, which goes to show the benefits of writing music under less-than-ideal circumstances.
What I really love about this track is the sparse but persistent groove, which leaves plenty of room for improvisation. And just listen to that beautiful vintage overdriven tube amp tone. The guitar solos are clearly far from complicated, but they still sound amazing - a true testament to the concept of musicality over virtuosity.