"Down by the River
" is a song composed by Neil Young
. It was first released on his 1969
album with Crazy Horse
, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
. Young has since frequently performed the song live. Live performances vary from (comparatively) short solo acoustic performances, as on the Crosby Stills Nash & Young
release Four Way Street
, to sixteen minutes long, as on the Live at the Fillmore East
release featuring Crazy Horse
. At the Rock Am Ring
in 2002, Young, backed by Booker T Jones
, Donald "Duck" Dunn
, and Frank Sampedro
, played "Down by the River" for over 27 minutes. At a show in Pennsylvania on February 28 1970
, Young and Crazy Horse played "Down by the River" for 31 minutes.
At Farm Aid 1998, Young joined Phish—who headlined that year's festival—during the band's jam out of "Runaway Jim", leading them into a 20-minute version of "Down by the River". A video of this version can be found on YouTube. (see below for link)
In the liner notes of his 1977 anthology album Decade, Young states that he wrote "Down by the River" and "Cowgirl in the Sand" while passed out in bed in Topanga Canyon with a 103° (39,5°C) fever.
Guitarist Roy Buchanan recorded a cover version of "Down by the River" on his 1978 album You're Not Alone. The Meters, String Cheese Incident, Dave Matthews Band, The Indigo Girls, Low/Dirty Three, Tall Firs, McKendree Spring, and Buddy Miles also cover this song. The song appears on the Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds 2007 live release Live at Radio City. Robert Plant borrows the line, "Be on my side, I'll be on your side, there is no reason for you to hide," in the live version of "How Many More Times" recorded in 1970 at Royal Albert Hall (from the "Led Zeppelin DVD").