Monday, November 20, 2006

NEIL YOUNG : "LIVE AT THE FILLMORE EAST"

Word among the community of Neilmaniacs, among whom I feel safe yet not a permanant part of, is that this brand new NEIL YOUNG live CD from 1970 is the first of several retro live offerings set to come out in coming years. For a guy who's kept so much of his legacy under defiant wraps for so long, Neil's obviously starting to soften a bit -which makes the kids (and the olde-timers) quite happy. This set is only a mere six songs from the post-"Everybody Knows This is Nowhere" era, which is sorta strange - I mean yeah, two are loooong, dirty, exceptionally loud Crazy Horse jams ("Cowgirl In The Sand" and "Down By The River"), but even so the whole thing only clocks in somewhere under 40 minutes. Guitarist Danny Whitten is on fire on the latter in particular, just an all-time scorcher to begin with, and in some stretched-out, near-improv parts it's better than on the album for sure. Another winner is the song "Wonderin'", which I've heard on bootlegs in acoustic form and on Neil's 1980-ish rockabilly record as a, well, rockabilly song, but never as a Crazy Horse-style jammer. Since I've already told you half of the 6-song lineup, there's no reason to hide the rest: "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere" (marginal), "Winterlong" (OK) and "Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown" (fantastic). It's a cool document that sounds like a professional but raunchy live record, so if this one's been in circulation as a boot before (I honestly wouldn't know) then I can promise you this version's better. I could have totally used another 40 minutes, though.

6 comments:

James said...

I'm all for Neil opening the vaults and releasing previously unreleased live concerts. But I'm mystified that one of my favorite albums of his, -Time Fades Away-, has never been issued on CD. I mean, I can't imagine he's witholding it for quality reasons - it's one of his best, and weak records like Everybody's Rocking and Life are avaialble on disc.

Plus, Time Fades Away was a live album of (then) all new songs as well. So you wouldn't be getting the fourth live version of "Down by The River" (or whatever, I'm not being accurate here).

Maybe Neil's embaressed by the sound of Graham Nash urging the crowd to sing along at the end of "Don't Be Denied" (a truly surreal moment).

Anonymous said...

I am a "rustie" and it has been talked about including being well covered in the biographical tome SHAKEY that Neil felt that CD sampling rates were not doing justice to what he was used to hearing on the masters so he was holding out for DVD quality sound.

Of course new stuff came out on CD but he held on to the "forgotten six" for many years.

Could be more neilish obfuscation....

Brushback said...

Apparently, "Time Fades Away" can't be re-released because it would be too difficult to re-mix:

Along with the maligned soundtrack to Journey Through the Past, Time Fades Away remains the only officially released Neil Young album unavaliable on CD as of this writing.

The problem may be due to more of a technical nature than anything else. Time Fades Away was recorded directly from the soundboard to final 2-track masters using the Quad-8 CompuMix, the first and utterly unreliable digital mixing soundboard--against the wishes of producer David Briggs, who referred to it as the "Compufuck" but was forced to yield to the desires of technophile/audiophile Young. This resulted in a murky-sounding release; because the final mixes were those rough cuts, the album cannot be remixed.


(From the Wikipedia entry on Neil Young)

Anonymous said...

I vaguely remember hearing that Time Fades Awasy was recorded on an audio format that is no longer supported and therefore transferring the masters to digital is somewhat problematic. At least I think that was the talk when they re released On the Beach a year or so ago.

DP

Kyle said...

Ok, I have a question. The "At the Fillmore 1970" disc says that it is Neil Young Archives Performance Series Disc 2. So what the heck is disc 1??

Kyle said...

Well, I did some digging and, apparently, it's an 8-disc comp of outtakes covering '63 to '71 or so. It already got the 01 designation, but isn't ready yet. Neil never releases shit in order, does he, so it kinda makes sense, don't it?