Young, Neil - After The Goldrush
obtained on CD to replace my much played and scratched vinyl copy, this is one of my all time favourite LPs and still sounds
great now. A brilliant collection of mostly tortured but not over-depressing songs with fantastic accessible melodies, fine
plaintive singing and harmonies and clear, minimal, musical arrangements. An absolutely classic singer-songwriter's LP.
Acquired by me: 25.9.02 - Present (Mum)
– Live At Massey Hall 1971
Finally in 2006, the ever forward-looking
Neil Young has finally allowed himself a step back over his illustrious career with the official release of old concerts. Sensibly rejecting a box set, Neil is instead releasing an Archives Performance Series,
much along the same lines as Bob Dylan’s popular Bootleg Series. The first
disc in the series, Live At The Fillmore 1970 (Performance Series Vol. 2), features a Crazy Horse wig-out whereas the second
release, though recorded only a year later, couldn’t be more different. Live
At Massey Hall 1971 (Performance Series Vol. 3) features a solo Mr Young backed
by just his own guitar and piano. I’m not sure what’s happened to
Vol. 1 but Vol. 3 is simply magnificent.
I have a couple of tape bootlegs of Neil solo performances from this era which,
although excellent in places, show a not very happy Young. These recordings have
too much stoned between-song banter with Neil even berating the audience for cheering too loudly on occasions. Unlike these performances, LAMH finds Young very focussed and concentrated on signing and playing the songs
as well as possible. Maybe it was because Neil knew that this gig was being recorded
for a possible 71 or 72 release or maybe Neil and his people have simply chosen the right performance to bring out now.
At Massey Hall has a superb, clear sound highlighting Neil’s glorious vocals, percussive acoustic guitar and piano playing. Typically for such a forward-looking artist, the set list includes a number of songs
yet to be officially released which are among the most interesting here. It’s
good to hear There’s A World shorn of the over-orchestrated arrangement of the final Harvest version and fascinating
to witness an early Man Needs A Maid which segues into Heart Of Gold on piano. Were
the two songs intended as a suite and was HoG originally written on the keys. Whether
it was or not, it shows the versatility of a great song and the talents of a great writer and performer.
of a good song is also shown on the stripped down versions of Ohio, Down By The River and especially Cowgirl In The Sand with
excellent solo acoustic versions of the three songs originally recorded as full-on rock.
Further highlights for me include the plaintive Love In Mind and opener On the Way Home.
Like many new CD releases
these days, live At Massey Hal comes in two formats – the single audio CD and a two disc set also including a DVD of
the concert. Although very primitively shot by today’s standards the dark,
grainy DVD has a certain artfulness. Nell Young’s performance is only visible
for some songs with others containing the rolling reel-to-real recorder interspersed with early 70s clips of Neil and friends
on his ranch.
Quite a period piece concert film then though the quality of the performance and songs is quite timeless. Live At Massey Hall is a brilliant album -, possibly the best live LP Neil has ever
released and one of his bet albums period. Hopefully Neil will find time to delve
further into his back pages as we await further instalments of the Archives Performance Series with anticipation.
Acquired by me: 29.3.07 (Bought)