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Ambulance Blues - Neil Young

Ambulance Blues

On the Beach
folk singer-songwriter rock Neil Young classic rock


"Ambulance Blues" closes the album "On the Beach". The melody 'unintentionally' quotes Bert Jansch's "Needle of Death." In a 1992 interview for the French "Guitare & Claviers" magazine, Young discussed Jansch' influence: "...as for acoustic guitar, Bert Jansch is on the same level as Jimi (Hendrix). That first record of his is epic. It came from England, and I was especially taken by "Needle of Death", such a beautiful and angry song. That guy was so good... And years later, on On the Beach, I wrote the melody of "Ambulance Blues" by styling the guitar part completely on "Needle of Death". I wasn't even aware of it, and someone else drew my attention to it." The song explores Young's feelings about his critics, Richard Nixon and the state of CSNY. The line "You're all just pissing in the wind" was a direct quote from Young's manager regarding the inactivity of the quartet. The final of the album's infamous "blues trilogy" of "Revolution Blues", "Vampire Blues", and "Ambulance Blues" have provided rich fodder for analysis and commentary of the song's lyrics . The "blues trilogy" is considered by many fans some of Neil's richest and most metaphorical work.


Neil Percival Young (born November 12, 1945) is a Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and social activist who is widely regarded as one of the most influential musicians of his generation, particularly as Neil Young & Crazy Horse. Young was born in Toronto, but he moved to the family home of Winnipeg as a child, which is where his music career began. Young began performing as a solo artist in Canada in 1960, before moving to California in 1966, where he co-founded the band Buffalo Springfield along with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay. Show more ...

Ambulance Blues - Neil Young

Back in the old folky days
The air was magic when we played.
The riverboat was rockin'
In the rain
Midnight was the time
For the raid.

Oh, Isabela, proud Isabela,
They tore you down and
Plowed you under.
You're only real
With your make-up on
How could I see you
And stay too long?

All along the Navajo Trail,
Burn-outs stub their toes
On garbage pails.
Waitresses are cryin'
In the rain
Will their boyfriends
Pass this way again?

Oh, Mother Goose,
She's on the skids
Shoe ain't happy,
Neither are the kids.
She needs someone
That she can scream at
And I'm such a heel
For makin' her feel so bad.

I guess I'll call it
Sickness gone
It's hard to say
The meaning of this song.
An ambulance can only
Go so fast
It's easy to get buried
In the past
When you try to make
A good thing last.

I saw today
In the entertainment section
There's room at the top
For private detection.
To Mom and Dad
This just doesn't matter,
But it's either that
Or pay off the kidnapper.

So all you critics sit alone
You're no better than me
For what you've shown.
With your stomach pump and
Your hook and ladder dreams
We could get together
For some scenes.

Well, I'm up in T. O.
Keepin' jive alive,
And out on the corner
It's half past five.
But the subways are empty
And so are the cafes.

Except for the Farmer's Market
And I still can hear him say:
You're all just pissin'
In the wind
You don't know it but you are.

And there ain't nothin'
Like a friend
Who can tell you
You're just pissin'
In the wind.

I never knew a man
Could tell so many lies
He had a different story
For every set of eyes
How can he remember
Who he's talking to?
Cause I know it ain't me,
And hope it isn't you.



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