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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Five Essential Neil Young Songs: Jim James |

Roger Waters, Neil Young & Jim James
2016 Bridge School Benefit Concerts

We here at Thrasher's Wheat have long held respect for Jim James and My Morning Jacket due to their sound being influenced by Neil Young.

Jim James's new album Tribute To 2 includes cover songs of The Beach Boys, Sonny and Cher, Dianne Izzo, Ray Noble and Al Bowlly, Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Abbey Lincoln. From Jim James: Five Essential Neil Young Songs | by Sarah Wardrop: (Thanks HtH!)
Jim James: Five Essential Neil Young Songs:

"Don't Be Denied," Time Fades Away (1973)
This song always fills me with the spirit of Neil: that big, bold, raw spirit of his that never has been denied, it seems. I love playing this for people who have never heard it. It takes me back to the early days of touring and how tough that is, but also how exciting it is — starting and pursuing what seems like an impossible dream. What a message for anyone to hear: "Follow your dreams, don’t be denied!"

"Comes A Time," Comes A Time (1978)
I’ll never forget at Bridge School a few years ago, Neil played this as the closer when everyone comes onstage. It was like some holy vision standing there on stage with Neil and so many other beautiful souls in a place filled with so many wonderful ideas and thoughts and goodwill visions. All of us were singing this holy song together, caught up in the rapture of love and unity with time passing and standing still.

"Hey Babe," American Stars 'n Bars (1977)
This song feels like falling in love to me, and I don’t even mean the lyrics (though they feel that way too). I mean the way my heart feels when I am falling in love is the way the pedal steel feels when it hits my ears, or the way the harmonies feel as they melt my heart. And when I hear it in my darkest, loneliest hour, it brings me hope that perhaps things will change and love, once more, might brighten up my door.

"The Old Laughing Lady," Neil Young (1969) and Unplugged (1993)
I first heard this song on MTV Unplugged. I was maybe 13 years old or so and I thought it was such a crazy visual experience. Then I heard the original master recording and was just blown away by the soundscape and soulful nature of the song. I wish Neil would do more experimenting in the studio like he does on this song. I would love to produce a record with him one day that was just so f***ed up. We would go out in the woods and knock rocks against trees for snares, rustle leaves in the wind for cymbals, and howl at the moon for guitars. There would be no actual acoustic or electric guitars or harmonicas or any of his familiar ingredients other than sheer madness, raw power, Mother Nature, and his voice. Of course, his voice.

"Like A Hurricane," American Stars 'n Bars (1977) and Unplugged (1993)
I also originally heard this on MTV Unplugged and it destroyed me hearing him at his ancient lords organ. But then I heard the original recording and more than perhaps any other song in history for me, the original recording of this song has inspired and informed my own lead guitar playing. His lead guitar rips my cloudy brain to pieces, lights it up, and scatters it out amongst the stars.

- Jim James
November 2017

More on Jim James, My Morning Jacket and their sound being influenced by Neil Young.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Neil Young Online Archives: Best Audio Experience Options?

As folks continue to explore the Neil Young Online Archives (NYOA), there has been a range of reactions (see comments here and here.)

Similar to the Blu-Ray release back in 2009, audiophiles have a lot of questions about how to best experience Neil Young Online Archives. Neil Young himself strongly advises following recommendations provided on the Archives website and the tutorial video.

A discussion has sprung up on the PONO community and here's a posting by member Dan:
So maybe this is a good time to discuss the various Streaming boxes music lovers can use to stream from services like NYA or Qobuz or Deezer, to a very decent quality, but non-streaming Audio Receiver.

The Baby Boomer demographic has to be heavily skewed with music lovers that bought a good home stereo in the last 20 years, but now, it is not giving them access to the music streaming services... Since Qobuz is actively trying to help it's listeners better use what they have, there is a page on their site that actually shows the names and some info on about 30 different Streaming boxes or Network Players....Of this list which I went through with diligence, I found around 6 or 7 that look like they need to be looked in to much more deeply by people on the PONO group, and by this Baby Boomer demo in general.

Among these , and NOT ranked by any order whatsoever : WTX Microstreamer ; D-Stream Audio WR-100D Wi-Fi Audio Adapter ; Klipsch Gate ( though tech support was horrific according to existing reviews, so this might be dangerous to try till you know more) ; iFi - SPDIF iPurifier Power Conditioner ( you would use this with chromecast Audio to dramatically reduce jitter from the optical digital connection, and then allow the DAC in your receiver to do the digital to audio conversion) ...

Does anyone have any experience with any of these? I am considering buying something in this category for my Living room stereo...a Pioneer SC05 Receiver with 2 big Bowers and Wilkens towers. Good sounding stereo, but as it was from around 2007 or 8, there was no streaming even considered( though it does do DLNA, and my PC can send J River music to it over the wifi, but this crashes /fails so often I have written this off ) ...

The Pioneer SC 05 has a good anti-jitter system built in to it -- to help its DAC with CD players or other optical input jitter....and this is a very clean sounding system. Right now I am streaming to it with Qobuz using my Android phone ( LG V 20) and a Chromecast Audio dongle with the optical cable accessory. I don't actually hear any jitter --maybe due to the PQLS or Precision Quartz Lock System Pioneer built into it...never intended for Chromecast, but maybe ideal for it...Even so, I would be inclined to improve this source quality, and in the future, will probably want to get the Qobuz Sublime 24 bit 192 subscription, rather than the CD quality I have now for streaming.

I am assuming there are plenty of people in the same boat with this type of set up ???? And ultimately, the Neil Young Archives will benefit from this discussion :-)
We're very interested in hearing from others about how they are connecting their computers to their audio systems. Let us know what seems to be working.

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Saturday, December 09, 2017

TODAY - AUCTION: Neil Young Collectibles - Guitars, Cars, Trains + More

(Click photo to enlarge)

Today, Saturday, December 9, -- what has been described as "The Best Yard Sale in the World" -- a major Neil Young collectibles auction will be held by Julien's Auctions.

The auction begins at 10:00 AM PST.

1935 Martin F-7 Acoustic Guitar


From catalog: "A vintage wood desk chair on casters that has been painted with variegated geometric shapes by a company called One of Designs. The seat back bears the inscription, “If you rest.. ..You Rust..” Signed, Nancy Woods, and dated, 2013, in black marker to the underside."

More on AUCTION: Neil Young Collectibles on December 9, 2017 and Neil Young Auctioning His Model Train Collection.

Also, see What I Learned While Staring at Neil Young’s Flannel Shirts by By Amanda Petrusich:
As we circled the gallery, Nolan told me that they were receiving registrations for the auction from unusual places, rural places—“not New York City, but upstate New York.” Young was precise and exacting about the train descriptions in the auction catalogue, in part because he knew that specialty collectors who had little to no interest in his musical career would want to bid for those. “He wanted to make sure we were getting it right,” Nolan said. “He didn’t worry at all about the guitars and the equipment. But he said, ‘I want to be involved with the trains. Collectors of trains are fanatical, and they’ll want the right information.’ ”


While I stared intently at it, Nolan described the process of curating the auction as both collaborative and cathartic for Young. “This was hard for him,” he said. “It was hard letting go—especially of the trains. He didn’t really have a hard time with the equipment or the guitars, but the trains were hard. He’s had many back-and-forths, emotional ups and downs.” And such is the purest validation of the metaphysical worth of stuff—decluttering is virtuous, sure, but ridding ourselves of material histories can feel like dismantling our own skeletons, bone by bone. It makes it easier for us to disappear from the world.

From Julien's Auctions:
Julien’s Auctions has announced that PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF NEIL YOUNG will close the world-record breaking auction house’s 2017 season on December 9, 2017.

Property from the two time inducted Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legend will be presented in a single owner sale, and include his extraordinary personal collection of model trains, classic cars, guitars, recording gear, clothing, memorabilia and more. Over 200 items from Young’s vast Lionel train collection will be presented, featuring dozens of rare and unique items such as prototypes for Lionel production locomotives and rolling stock, many of them from the fabled Lionel archives. Highlights include the Lionel Hudson Factory Prototype locomotive (estimate: $4,000-$9,000), the Lionel Western Pacific "1954" Blue Feather Boxcar Factory Prototype (estimate: $3,000-$6,000); the Lionel Santa Fe "Clear Shell" F-3 locomotive (estimate: $2,000-$5,000) and the H.O.A.R.D. Tour Psychedelic Vanderbilt Hudson locomotive (estimate: $3,000-$6,000) that ran in a layout Young brought to the Horizons of Rock Developing Everywhere Tour.

Neil Young’s classic cars, that served as muses many of his songs are featured including a 1954 Cadillac Fleetwood Imperial 8-Passenger Limousine (estimate: $30,000-$40,000) with the Cadillac crest styled "Broken Arrow" emblem found on the rear passenger door that harkens back to Buffalo Springfield's 1967 song and ranch of the same name in Portalo Valley, California; a 1948 Buick Roadmaster Hearse built by Flxible (estimate: $8,000-$10,000) used by Young and his band, The Squires, to haul their equipment to gigs in the early 1960's, decorated with backstage passes and bumper stickers and served as the theme of Young's song, "Long May You Run;" a 1953 Buick Roadmaster code 76X Skylark Convertible Buick's 50th anniversary special edition, (total production 1,690) with a steering wheel hub that denotes "customized for Neil Young" (estimate: $100,000-$130,000) and a 1941 Chrysler Series 28 Windsor Highlander 2-Door 3-Person Coupe (estimate: $15,000-$20,000), considered the most prestigious model Chrysler had to offer.

Studio gear, recording equipment and instruments featured include two Studer A800 Mark III Master recorders known as 'The Twins' and used together in Young's studio (estimate: $10,000-$12,000); four Marshall Full Stack Amplifiers (estimates ranging from $2,000-$3,500); a 1935 Martin F-7 acoustic guitar (estimate: $4,000-$4,500); a 1965 Gibson ES-345 left handed electric guitar, with a Varitone, original tailpiece, original pickguard, a strap and a handwritten chord chart (estimate: $3,500-$5,000); a 1999 Gretsch White Falcon SS (estimate: $2,000-$2,500) sixteen Universal Audio 610 preamp console modules (estimate: $9,000-$12,000) and a hurdy gurdy used on Young's song "Red Sun" from his album Silver and Gold (estimate: $200-$400). Young's clothing worn on stage and at events will also make an appearance including an Abercrombie & Fitch red and blue plaid flannel shirt worn in a performance with Paul McCartney at a benefit concert for the Bridge School (estimate: $300-$500); a tan and cream striped seersucker J. Crew jacket, worn in a performance at Hard Rock live in Hollywood, Florida (estimate: $400-$600) as well as bolo ties and designer jackets.
Full auction details at Julien's Auctions.

Also, see Neil Young's 1993 Harley-Davidson Softail on eBay.

Chrome Dreams
Neil Young's 1993 Harley-Davidson Softail on eBay

(Neil Young News - Friday, November 06, 2009)

Neil Young and Lionel Trains
Classic Toy Trains - March 1993

1953 Buick Roadmaster (?) & Martin D-28 Guitar Case (?)
Neil Young @ Bridge School Concert, October 30, 2005

Photo by Jay Blakesberg

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Friday, December 08, 2017

Neil Young's Online Archives: Homegrown and Meadow Dusk Albums

There is little doubt already that the Neil Young Online Archives is a masterpiece in presentation that leapfrogs other artist archival projects and sets a new standard.

Here's a comment on "So What Might We Find on The Neil Young's Online Archives?" by bigmrbee914:
Homegrown is by far the most coveted and therefore the most desired of all the unreleased albums.

Most are skeptical as to whether Neil will stick to the original planned album or update it to suit how he feels these days. My thoughts are that Neil is a stickler for historical accuracy. When he is ready, he will present that album as it was intended in 1975 before the playback of Tonight's The Night led to a change of mind. Regarding other material recorded during the time, expect to see those tracks appear on the timeline and file cabinet as standalone recordings. As with Archives Vol. 1, there were some tracks that were left on the cutting room floor during sessions for an album and they made it to the Archives. Just because it didn't make the cut for the album didn't mean it remained unreleased forever.

Also of note, Neil is clearly not opposed to including tracks that made it to later albums as can be seen with Hitchhiker. Captain Kennedy is an example here, found on both Hitchhiker and Hawks And Doves. When it comes to the archives online, as the material is made available and the information as well, purchase of the newly released recordings could lead to fans purchasing just those recordings they don't already have and compiling the lost albums with provided information. However, knowing Neil's true fans, we will buy the albums as they come out.

Regarding Meadow Dusk, it seems that this was along the same lines as the 1969-1970 concept that Neil had for Oh Lonesome Me, so far that he had designed an mock up of a proposed album cover and had two variations of a potential track listing. The proposed cover and track listings can be seen in the documents for Oh Lonesome Me on the Archives Online. Neil may have recorded material but the overall project never materialized or was left incomplete (ie only some of the material was recorded). However, the Oh Lonesome Me project could manifest itself as the Early Crazy Horse album that is showing up in the timeline for the period, although it is more likely the idea was scrapped when Neil joined with CSN and then further developed the After The Gold Rush concept.

Regarding Neil's use of unfinished recordings, I don't think it would be impossible for him to have attempted Hitchhiker with Crazy Horse in 1975 for Dume, even if it was unfinished. Crazy Horse was about a raw energy, not a polished product. A prime example is the abrupt ending on Going Home, clearly an unfinished (or perhaps deliberate) ending.

As for other unreleased material, it would be nice to see placeholder info cards for many of the unreleased songs. I can see the desire to hold back the recordings until the respective project is ready for release but the information cards would at least show what Neil recorded. If anything, this would contribute to the further speculation as to what songs would make the cut on the unreleased albums, furthering the discussions.
Thanks bigmrbee914 for thoughts on potential Homegrown and Meadow Dusk Albums.

We're still digging around the early years and we're interested in hearing from others on their experiences.

And, all apologies for the misinfo posted the other day. Interestingly, the original source for the image was Neil's himself via Instagram in 2015. But, we take it all in stride. So, we continue.

"Every time I make a mistake, I cheer for myself on the inside."
~~ Neil Young, Somewhere in Canada, December 1, 2017

Neil Young Archives Tutorial

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Thursday, December 07, 2017

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young's "Somewhere In Canada" Concert

Neil Young
"Somewhere In Canada" Concert - December 1, 2017
Coronation Hall - Omemee, Ontario, Canada

Many of Neil Young's fans are still recovering from the emotional Neil Young's "Somewhere In Canada" Concert last week.

Here is a Comment of the Moment from Neil Young's "Somewhere In Canada" Concert (report by Sharry Wilson) by Minke T.:
Dear all,

Watching Neil’s homecoming was such an event. It shook me thoroughly. It was beautiful and confusing, and utterly gripping. Neil’s performance moved me to tears at several points. Emotive highlights were Someday and Don’t be denied, both so highly personal, made for this moment and occasion, and both getting such sweet, vulnerable and poignant renderings.

To see Neil’s musicality so captivatingly alive was an enormous joy. But so see him almost fall over, groping in the mist of bad eyesight, so dependent on his helpers, reminded so much of our mortality, of dying light, of the shakiness of things. Neil has always been there and now we see him, as we see those around us, preparing to slip away, someday.

I can't fathom whether the concert was good or bad, technically speaking. Perhaps the performances of some songs will not stand stand up to repeated listening, from a greater time distance, out of the moment and the ambiance. There were bad notes, mistunings, mistakes, awkward endings. It was the first time I had the feeling that something was sliding away from him, that he was not on the top of his technical game. Perhaps this was most visible in his guitar technique. always so immaculate and well-aimed, but now more faltering, more putative – and the more moving for it.

It was grandiose.

In the run-up to the event, I sometimes thought he was really moving to Canada, selling his stuff, leaving his California stardom, letting this be a homecoming and a farewell -- but to what? Settling in old age, running the business and doing the politics. But who knows.

Whatever comes next, Neil gave us the ultimate gift of a musical genius that adjusts itself to the possibilities and limitations of moment, age, to the present state of his body and mind. Forget the slips, the spirit was there. A new spirit, more intimate than ever, fragile, with such a strong sense of looking back, on the way home, and as true as ever.

After all, the emotive assault on our inner tunings tells it all. I guess this is what true fandom is, despite the glitches, the let-downs, the exasperation, frustration sometimes, to be moved to the core.

Thanks Neil, thanks Thrasher
And thank you Minke for that heartfelt tribute.

There's not much we can add that others didn't add after your comment.

Let the record just show that on December 1, 2017, Neil Young made the whole world both laugh and cry -- and experience every emotion in between. We are the lucky ones...

Bob Purdy at Neil Young's "Somewhere In Canada" Concert
Coronation Hall - Omemee, Ontario, Canada


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Neil Young FAQ:
Everything Left to Know About the Iconic and Mercurial Rocker
"an indispensable reference"

Paul McCartney and Neil Young


"You can make a difference
If you really a try"

John Lennon and Neil Young

"hailed by fans as a wonderful read"

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young:
The Supergroup of the 20th Century

Director Jonathan Demme's Exquisite film "Heart of Gold"

eddie & neil
Eddie Vedder and Neil Young

Revisiting The Significance of
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"The revolution will not be televised"
... it will be blogged, streamed,
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The Embarrassment of Mainstream Media

Turn Off Your TV

Neil Young 2016 Year in Review:
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Kurt Cobain and Neil Young

Neil Young's Feedback:
An Acquired Taste?

Young Neil: The Sugar Mountain Years
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"the definitive source of Neil Young's formative childhood years in Canada"

neil & joni
Joni Mitchell & Neil Young

europe 1987.jpg

Bob and Neil

So Who Really Was "The Godfather of Grunge"?

Four Dead in Ohio
kent state
So What Really Happened at Kent State?


dissent is not treason
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism

Rockin' In The Free World

Sing Truth to Power

Emmylou Harris and Neil Young

Wilco and Neil Young


Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young


Elton John and Neil Young

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Neil Young Nation -
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What does the song mean?

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I'm Proud to Be A Union Man


When Neil Young is Playing,
You Shut the Fuck Up

Class War:
They Started It and We'll Finish It...

A battle raged on the open page...
No Fear, No Surrender. Courage

"What if Al Qaeda blew up the levees?"

"I've Got The Revolution Blues"

Willie Nelson & Neil Young
Willie Nelson for Nobel Peace Prize

John Mellencamp:
Why Willie Deserves a Nobel


Love and Only Love

"Thinking about what a friend had said,
I was hoping it was a lie"

We're All On
A Journey Through the Past

Neil Young's Moon Songs
Tell Us The F'n TRUTH
(we can handle it... try us)

Does Anything Else Really Matter?

"Nobody's free until everybody's free."
~~ Fannie Lou Hamer

Here Comes "The Big Shift"

Maybe everything you think you know is wrong? NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
"It's all illusion anyway."

Propaganda = Mind Control
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

the truth will set you free
This Machine Kills Fascists

war is not the answer
yet we are
Still Living With War

"greed is NOT good"
Occupy the Music

Hey Big Brother!
Stop Spying On Us!
Civic Duty Is Not Terrorism

The Achilles Heel
Orwell (and Grandpa) Was Right
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery.”
~~ Bob Marley

The Essence of "The Doubters"

Yes, There's Definitely A Hole in The Sky

Even Though The Music Died 50+ Years Ago
Open Up the "Tired Eyes" & Wake up!
"consciousness is near"
What's So Funny About
Peace, Love, & Understanding & Music?




(Between the lines of age)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make

~~ John & Paul