Crazy Horse is also Neil Young's on-again-off-again backing band, since Everybody Knows this Is Nowhere in 1969.

They existed before Neil came along, under the name The Rockets (hence the title of "Running Dry (Requiem tor the Rockets)" on Nowhere). They released a nifty self-titled album in 1968 (in print), at which point they appear to have been constituted as follows:
Bobby Notkoff   Violin
Leon Whitsell   Guitar
George Whitsell   Guitar
Danny Whitten   Guitar
Billy Talbot   Bass
Ralph Molina   Drums

The lineup that originally played with Young was Ralph Molina, Billy Talbot, and Danny Whitten. Notkoff shows up for a song or two on Nowhere. Whitten died in 1973 of a heroin overdose, and was replaced temporarily by Nils Lofgren on Tonight's the Night; later, he was permanently replaced by Frank Sampedro.

Crazy Horse has released several albums without Neil. The best of them was Crazy Horse (1971), which is AFAIK still in print and well worth finding; it features a take of the Whitten/Young classic "Come on Baby Let's Go Downtown" (here titled "Downtown") which is very different from the fierce live version on Tonight's the Night. There are other gems as well, some written by Whitten; "I Don't Want to Talk About It" has been covered poorly by musical magpie1 Rod Stewart among others. Jack Nitzsche and Nils Lofgren both played on Crazy Horse and contributed some songs. Nitzsche's "Gone Dead Train" is a killer. It may not be a landmark, but it's a solid, enjoyable, well-crafted message from 1971: This is where rock and roll was at in those years: A bunch of guys got drunk and made a record and somebody released it. It's a good thing. As on all records made at that time and most of them since, Ry Cooder is in there somewhere.

I've got a couple of their later attempts, and they're just not worth the trouble. After Crazy Horse, their records are generally Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina with one or more random guitarists, singers, etc. The guests always seem to write all the songs, with predictably unpredictable results: It's essentially a different band each time. On Loose (1972), ex-Rocket George Whitsell plays guitar, sings, and writes most of the songs; I haven't gotten my hands on that one yet. It's on order; I'll update this in a week or three when/if it arrives (much later: I got it. It's not bad at all. It's at work, I'm at home; I'll do a separate review/writeup on it real soon now, I swear . . . that and a mess of marginal quasi-legal Stooges and Modern Lovers live/demo/rehearsal/etc. records)

Left for Dead (1989) is mostly a crude attempt at heavy metal or something, with (bizarrely) ex-Rain Parade guitarist Matt Piucci (what the hell gave them that idea?!) filling in for Sampedro. There are a few brief moments of mindbending Piucci-ish psychedelic goodness2 tucked into odd corners, but it takes a lot more than that to make a pig sing. Crazy Moon (1978) made so little impression on me that I can't say anything meaningful about it.

Crazy Horse, 1971
Produced by Jack Nitzsche and Bruce Botnick, engineered by Bruce Botnick
  1. Gone Dead Train   (Russ Titleman/Jack Nitzsche)
  2. Dance, Dance, Dance   (Neil Young; later re-lyric'd as "Love Is a Rose")
  3. Look at All the Things   (Danny Whitten)
  4. Beggars' Day   (Nils Lofgren)
  5. I Don't Want to Talk about It   (Danny Whitten)
  6. Downtown   (Danny Whitten/Neil Young)
  7. Carolay   (Russ Titleman/Jack Nitzsche)
  8. Dirty, Dirty   (Danny Whitten)
  9. Nobody   (Nils Lofgren)
  10. I'll Get By   (Danny Whitten)
  11. Crow Jane Lady   (Jack Nitzsche)
Ry Cooder plays bottleneck on "Dirty, Dirty", "Crow Jane Lady", and "I Don't Want to Talk About It". Gib Gilbeau plays fiddle on "Dance, Dance, Dance".

The Rockets, 1968
Crazy Horse, 1971
Loose, 1972
At Crooked Lake, 1972
Crazy Moon, 1978
Left For Dead, 1989

1 As in, "collector of shiny things he doesn't understand", like for example Tom Waits' "Downtown Train".

2 Bottleneck with crunchy distortion and short loud delay, mmm, yum.
Oglala leader, 1842-1877. Generally considered by the Indians, and in particular by the Sioux, to be their greatest warrior of all time together with Sitting Bull. (American officers called him "the greatest warrior of his time".) Unlike most others he never bragged about his feats and showed no interest in painting and decorating himself with feathers and rarely attended social and religious ceremonies which were big and important parts of the Indian life. Even in consultations he sat quiet and listened, but his advice was always sought-after. Everybody knew he never wanted personal gain or advantages and that his advice was always well thought out and for the best of the nation. He often sought isolation and could sit out in the wilderness for days to find solutions to his tribe's people's problems, in a world invaded by the white people.

Crazy Horse was born in 1842 in a copse at Rapid Creek in North Dakota. His father was the well-known Shaman Crazy Horse who belonged to the Oglala tribe, one of the seven tribes of the Sioux nation. His mother was Spotted Tail's sister. He was given the name Curly because of his hair. Curly's mother died when he was two years old. His father then married Curly's mother's younger sister in accordance to the practices of the prairie Indians. Curly got a little brother, Little Hawk, who became his most faithful friend.

One day when he was twelve years old, Curly set out to the wilderness to seek a vision. After days of fasting and staying up, he finally got his revelation. He saw his pony galloping towards him. A warrior sat on the pony which constantly changed colors, and enemies who shot at him appeared in front of him all the time but he rode right through without getting hurt. The warrior did seem to have problems with his own people though; his men tried to hold him back but he got off and continued riding on. Curly kept his vision secret for three years before he told his father about it, who interpreted it as a sign from Wakan-Tanka (which is the Sioux name for the highest god) that Curly would become a great leader, live for his people and be invincible in combat as long as he didn't seek personal gain.

In 1858 when Curly was 16 years old he participated in a fight which gave him his reputation of being a brave and reckless warrior. The Sioux bumped into a band of enemies who quickly took cover among some inaccessible cliffs on a height where they shot at the Indians with rifles. The Indians' arrows didn't have much effect and they began to despair when Curly suddenly stormed towards the enemy in a one-man attack. He got through their defense line and killed an enemy with an arrow before he returned. To his fellow Indians amazement he repeated the same attack again, this time with a revolver in his hand. Another enemy fell and instead of trying to quickly return to his own men he hesitated and took the enemies scalps. Because of that, he was wounded in the leg by an arrow and limped back to his men.

He then realised his big mistake, taking personal gain, so he threw away the scalps but the group's leader, High-Backbone, more known as Hump, took them to the village and showed them. Curly's father, Crazy Horse, was so proud over what his son had done that he arranged a ceremony and gave him his own name.

Crazy Horse experienced many tragedies in his life, which made him hate the white people more and more. One event in his childhood which affected him greatly was the massacre at Blue Water in 1854. The white suspected that the Brulé chieftain Little Thunder, designated peace chief by the white, encouraged resistance against them. This suspicion had no foundation but that wasn't revealed until later. General William S. Harney rode into the camp and cunningly negotiated with the indignant Indian chieftain to give his men time to take their positions so there would be no way to escape. When all was ready they attacked without any forewarning. 87 indians were slaughtered, most of them were women and children.

The then 12 year old Crazy Horse, who had been out on a hunt, returned to a burned camp with mutilated bodies spread all over the place, a sight he never forgot. His mentor and friend Hump died in 1870 in a fight against Shoshones and a year later Crazy Horse's little brother Little Hawk was murdered by white gold-diggers. His daughter, They-are-afraid-of-Her, died in 1872 of the feared cholera the white had brought to the land. He mourned for days at her grave.

In 1874 the white people discovered gold in Paha Sapa, the Sioux holy mountain. Many years earlier the Indians had been promised to be able keep the land because the white didn't think it was any good, but when gold was found the region was suddenly very attractive. Crazy Horse tried to get his fellow tribe members to join him in cleaning-out attempts in the mountains but when he did not succeed with this he did it by himself. Many died during his one-man war and he spread terror in the region but it didn't help much. There was a great influx of people and in 1876 there were about 10,000 people in the mountains.

The Americans wanted to "buy" the mountains and put the prairie Indians in reservates. To fulfill legal matters, at least on the paper, the government tried to buy the mountains in 1875 but the indians refused and they decided to defend their land with armed force. This was the origin to the war in which the famous battle at Little Big Horn took place, where the notorious General Custer and his 7:th cavalry met their destiny. The Indians had a few years earlier realized that they had to organize their resistance against the white and looked for strong leaders who could unite the tribes.

They chose Sitting Bull, who was helped by famous leaders like American Horse and Gall. Among them were also Crazy Horse. This new way to fight resulted in the Indians winning many important battles during the first half of 1876, but after Little Big Horn they were scattered. The Americans now used all their resources and their military might seemed so superior that most Indian chieftains surrendered except Sitting Bull, who took his people to Canada, and Crazy Horse who continued with plundering raids against the Americans to get food and ammunition to his increasingly distressed people.

The Americans became more frustrated and it seemed to them that they were hunting ghosts, but it all took a new turn during the winter 1876-77. Crazy Horse finally took the painful decision to surrender to spare his people. So, in May 1877 he rode in with his people to Fort Robinson, Nebraska, to reluctantly trade the freedom for the dreaded life in a reservate. Slandering against him began and people started to spread the rumour that he planned to escape but that he would first murder the highest ranked officer. These rumours were of course not true. The Indians didn't even have any weapons or horses, but despite this he was suspected for revolt against the United States and arrested. When he was brought to the remand prison he struggled to get away but some Indian polices recruited by the Americans held him back. Little Big Man was one of them; he belonged to Crazy Horse's own group. Struggling to break free, one of the white guards stabbed him with a bayonet, thrashing his kidneys. Crazy Horse died after great pain a few hours later. His parents took his body to find an appropriate and secret resting place for him. They died a few years later without telling where they had taken the body; still, nobody knows where the last resting place of Crazy Horse is.


"Just the way you like it - with no clothes on."

Crazy Horse is a popular Adelaide strip club, which first opened in 1979. Inspired by Paul Raymond's Revue Bar in London and the Crazy Horse in Paris, the club owners endeavoured to employ "the most beautiful dancers that were available in Australia". The club is the home of Miss Nude Australia and has featured international performers such as Christie Lee Hawn, Heather Hooters, Puss 'n' Boots and Staci Straddlin'.

Crazy Horse is open from 8:30 pm to 5 am, Monday to Saturday (and Sundays on long weekends). Entry is free before 9pm, after which a $12 cover charge applies.

141A Hindley Street
Adelaide, South Australia 5001

+61 (08) 8231 2064

Crazy Horse:
Miss Nude Australia:

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