Although On The Beach is one of my very favorite Neil Young albums, I didn’t become fully aware of “Cajun Wildman” Rusty Kershaw’s unique connection to this masterpiece from Neil’s infamous “Ditch Trilogy,” until I was fairly deep into the process of researching material for the Neil Young FAQ book.
I did of course know the name, largely by virtue of Rusty’s recordings with his more famous brother, Cajun fiddle great Doug Kershaw. I also knew somewhat of Kershaw’s contributions to the On The Beach album, and of course I knew of his reputation. Especially all of those legendary tales of lore I had heard about the “honey slides” which powered the sessions for the On The Beach record.
For those who don’t know the entire back story, Kershaw’s introduction to Neil Young’s musical inner-circle came by way of Ben Keith — a fellow musical traveler on the Cajun country circuit, who had by this time become a fully integrated, and quite integral part of the Neil Young camp. As the story goes, Kershaw made himself quite at home during the making of On The Beach too, racking up exorbitant hotel bills on Neil Young’s dime, complete with the wine-stained and cigarette burned hotel room carpets that those paying the bills soon learned came as a natural by-product of Kershaw’s “Cajun Wildman” reputation.
But more importantly to this story…
Neil Young FAQ is the first definitive guide to the music of this mercurial and methodical, enduring, and infuriating icon. From the Archives to Zuma and from the Ditch Trilogy to the Geffen years, this book covers every song and album in painstaking detail-including bootlegs and such lost recordings as Homegrown, Chrome Dreams, Toast, and Meadow Dusk. Obscure facts and anecdotes from the studio to the road, along with dozens of rare images, make this book a must-have for Young fans.