The Archives Vol.01 1963-1972: Let The Speculation Continue
Over the years, many Neil Young fans have cursed: The Archives Be Damned.
Still, the question has always remained: "When -- if ever -- will the Archives be released?"
It looks like Neil fans are another step closer with a new Archives page on the Reprise Records website. The site features a tantalizing trailer for the 8 CD, 2 DVD, and 150 page booklet for The Archives Volume #1: 1963 - 1972.
Over the years there has been a tremendous amount of speculation over what exactly will be on the Archives. Various theories abound like that it will be similar to the Buffalo Springfield box set or that it will be all unreleased material or that it will be all live or even re-mastered released albums. But no one seems to really know. But we have lots of clues...
In discussing the vision for the Archives, Neil said in a 2005 interview on Prairie Wind Companion CD:
NEIL YOUNG: It, there's I think four or five volumes. And Volume One is an eight-disk set from 1963 to 1973. You know, it has film of performances. It has my earliest recordings, um, released and unreleased recordings from 1963 on. It has, uh, uh, a performance series and now they may be sold separately, one or two of them, but, uh, there is a spot for them in the box, and you can just slip them in there.
So and, uh, it, it's coming out on CD and it's coming out on DVD. And I recommend the DVD because it has got much better sound and it has of course it has film. It has, it has an actual filing cabinet you can go into and, and get all of the documentation of all of these. The original lyric sheets, all the original stuff that goes with everything. It's kind of like a museum. That's a, it's a virtual, uh, museum filing, filing system.
And you just go through the, open up the door and file through it. Find a song, lift it out, read everything about it. You can read newspapers that were at that time, reviews of it when it came out, the original manuscript, pictures, all this stuff. If there's any film or video from those, from that era, chronologically, it's all chronological. Everything is in order. You can find anything you want.
And see how songs that were, uh, released on albums years later were actually recorded at a different time. And so it, it gives you another slant on the way things were. It tells you what albums these things came out on. It gives you the full picture of what happened from chronologically, rather than the records I produced.
JODY DENBERG: And the films, like, uh, Human Highway or Muddy Track, would they be a part of it?
NEIL YOUNG: They'll all be part of it.
From Rolling Stone interview on the Archives:
"It starts with my earliest recordings in 1963,' says Young. 'Then several recordings with a group called the Squires, into the earliest Buffalo Springfield stuff. Then there's a live record culled from a week's worth of performances at the Riverboat in Toronto."
So what else can we expect from The Archives? Apparently, Easter Eggs, Virtual Bongs, & BlueRay DVDs?!
"Young says he has been working on the project constantly, but "I wanted to wait until the right technology was around to make it the way I saw it. With BlueRay DVD technology, I've created this time line on the discs that will take you through the entire story, putting everything on there that's relevant."
Included, says Young, are "I Wonder," cut with the Squires and later retooled as "Don't Cry No Tears" for his album "Zuma"; demos he cut for Elektra records in 1965; outtakes from his classic "After the Goldrush" LP; and "a 16-minute live version of 'Cowgirl in the Sand' that's pretty cool."
Asked by director Jonathan Demme if there will be any "Easter eggs," the term given to hidden material on the DVD, Young says, "We're trying to figure out how you hit on something from about 1967 and get a virtual bong. To enhance your listening pleasure."
From Peter Hund's Good New Music:
"[Live at the Fillmore East 1970] is also a clue to how the archival material Young’s been promising for 16 years will shape up: Good New Music has it from a reliable source that the Performance Series will not supplant the much-anticipated archival box set series Young has mentioned, contrary to speculation on fan websites and blogs. The Neil Young Archives multibox set is still in the works, with the first of four boxes slated for fall 2007.
Each of the four boxes will be a chronological volume of previously released and unreleased live and studio songs (including some that have never been on record), according to the source. As Young has said, all the songs will be presented in the order they were recorded, but listeners also will be able to hear unreleased albums such as “Homegrown” in their entirety.
Installments in the Performance Series will be chronologically numbered, some released individually, others as bonus discs in the archival box sets. “Fillmore” is Disc 02 in the series. Only Young knows what Disc 01 will be, the source said, “and he ain’t talking!”"
In an interview with Spin Magazine (11/95), Young says of The Archives: "From the worst piece of shit to the best thing I ever did--you make the choice." Which reminds us of comments made in Shakey biography by Jimmy McDonough:
"Y'know, I don't give a shit whether anybody BUYS it or not. I just wanna do it. And there may only be two hundred copies, signed by me. But it's gonna fuckin' exist. When it's done, people can do whatever the fuck they want, make any fuckin' order they want out of it. But they're gonna have the whole fuckin' thing to choose from. They're not gonna get part of it. Everything-the good, the bad, the ugly.
So you know the difference. Some of it is good, some of it is crap that wasn't released-there's a reason. Take a look, see what it is. That's what a fuckin' archive is about, not "Here's Neil Young in all his wonderfulness-the great, phenomenal fucking wonderfulness." That's not what I want.
I want people to know how fuckin' terrible I was. How scared I was and how great I was. The real picture-that's what I'm looking for. Not a product. And I think that's what the die-hard fans want - the whole fuckin' thing."
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