Following the death of Elliot Mazer on Sunday, Neil Young took to his website to honor the engineer-producer behind multiple Young albums.
Young wrote that he first met Mazer in Nashville in January 1971, when he was appearing on The Johnny Cash Show and working on his upcoming album, Harvest. “At that time, seeing how many new unrecorded songs I had, Elliot immediately got a studio and a group of musicians together so that I could record,” he recalled. “James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt were in town doing the Johnny Cash Show the next week and came in to do vocals on the recordings Elliot made.”
“Elliot put together the band, Kenny Buttrey, Tim Drummond and Ben Keith, with John Harris on piano. It was a natural sound and we played effortlessly together,” he continued. “Elliot made that all happen and it became Harvest. We went on to do more records, our string of releases included Harvest, American Stars ‘n Bars, Hawks & Doves, Everybody’s Rockin’, Old Ways, Lucky 13 and the recently released “lost” album Homegrown, as well as the concert film Solo Trans.
“A master in the studio, Elliot was a really good guy,” Young added. “He had a great way about him and I wish we had gotten to do more together. I am happy and thankful though that we got what we did get. Harvest is one of my most recognized recordings and it all happened because of Elliot Mazer. Thanks Elliot. Lots of love bro.”
Through the late Sixties and early Seventies, Mazer took his love of pop and began working on albums like Big Brother and the Holding Company’s Cheap Thrills and Ronstadt’s 1970 LP Silk Purse. “He was a mysterious guy to me,” Ronstadt told Rolling Stone. “But I didn’t know what I was doing at the time; I didn’t know how to sing yet.” Mazer also produced several albums for Gordon Lightfoot, including 1968’s Back Here on Earth and 1969’s Sunday Concert, as well as engineered the Band’s 1978 live album The Last Waltz.
Mazer died of a heart attack in his San Francisco home; he was 79. The family has asked that all donations be given to MusiCares.