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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"Sugar Mountain Live" Reviews

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NPR's All Songs Considered is now streaming Neil Young's Sugar Mountain.

Recording is from the Canterbury House, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 9th & 10th November 1968.


Neil Young was horribly nervous before the performance and had to be coaxed from his hotel room by his manager Elliot Roberts and the minister of Canterbury House, Dan Burke. Burke tells NPR Music he remembers Neil Young huddled in Young's hotel room bed, too scared to perform. He told Burke no one would want to hear the Buffalo Springfield tunes or his new tunes. Young was afraid he didn't have enough material. But he was eventually persuaded to take the small stage.

Reaction has been wildly enthusiastic thus far.
A grand day to be alive and listening. Finally a visionary Commander-in-Chief who happens to be black, and now this: The Holy Grail of Neil Young bootlegs on NPR tap! An unprecedented gesture of generous intimacy, thank you Neil, thank you public radio.
–connolly

SML now ranked 39 37 33 22 on Amazon.com Bestsellers (updated hourly).

From Crawdaddy by Steve Matteo:
Neil Young is one of the most beloved figures in rock music to first emerge in the 1960s. He is also one of the most maddening. Much like Bob Dylan, Young has survived and thrived living by the motto “don’t look back.” He has impulsively left styles, bands, record company honchos, and even his fans shaking their heads in the dust as he veers off in yet another new musical direction. No goodbyes, thank yous, explanations, or reasons. When Young decides to move on, it’s best to just get out of the way. Again, like Dylan, it is this need not to be pigeonholed and stuck in one style of music, or with a particular group of musicians, that has allowed him to transcend being a relic or a caricature of the ’60s rocker, helping him to thrive and stay relevant.

From Glide Magazine review by Doug Collette:
Sugar Mountain Live at Canterbury House is not projected to be included in the long-waited and oft delayed Neil Young Archives multi-disc set now due sometime early in 2009. Nevertheless, together with the aforementioned Massey Hall and Live at Fillmore East with Crazy Horse, this release, as scintillating a depiction as it is of a prodigious talent first hitting his stride, may very well render that release anticlimactic.

From Jambands.com by Brian Robbins:
"The music, of course, is the main reason to own Sugar Mountain, but the raps between songs are neat audio photos of a young Neil alone on stage. After the airy chords of the opener, “On The Way Home,” he makes a confession: “I wish I’d brought a comb tonight. This is the longest my hair has ever been … it really is. I’m gonna let it grow and grow and grow and grow.” The child-like tone of that proclamation just nails you – heck, you want to hug the kid and take him home for a bowl of hot soup.

Other between-song gems include the process of songwriting (“Things come to you and all you are is a radio station … you know what I mean? You send out and it comes to you”), tuning issues, and the fallacy of trying to mix bookstore employment with “diet pills.”

For some, Neil’s tendency to boil down his guitar work to what simply needs to be to tell the story and get the feeling across has been a source of debate over the years. Sugar Mountain is a prime example of what’s right about his style: neither “Mr. Soul” nor “Broken Arrow” suffer for lacking the full Buffalo Springfield arrangement – and songs like “The Loner” lose none of their dropped-D tuning crunch in this setting."

From Los Angeles Times by Randy Lewis:
"The blessing and the curse of the Internet for musicians is that every step they take, professionally and personally, becomes available for public consumption instantaneously. That's created unprecedented opportunities for connecting with fans, but it has also stripped away a lot of the mystique that used to be a key facet of stardom.

It's hard to imagine 40 years from now finding a 2008 live recording by Britney Spears, Madonna or Hinder revealing anything that isn't clear today.

That makes 'Sugar Mountain -- Live at Canterbury House 1968,' the vintage live set by Neil Young being released this week on CD and DVD, all the more fascinating as a journey back to a watershed point in the musical evolution of one of the rock era's most valuable players.

"I never plan anything ahead, in case anybody hasn't noticed," he says by way of introducing the title tune.

A more prescient statement of a more mercurial and rewarding career rarely has been uttered."

Terrific retro-review on Bob Lefsetz Letter:
"Listening to 'Canterbury House' I was jetted back decades. There was no Webcast, you had to be there. And after the show, you went home and played the album(s) for days. Told everybody about your secret, even though they were clueless."

From The World Wide Glen: Welcome to My Thoughtmare:
Of the three live records released in the Archives series thus far, Sugar Mountain - Live At Canterbury House 1968 is by far the most satisfying. Not only does it capture a very young Neil Young in just about as raw an environment as it gets, it also shows the artist connecting with his audience in a way that has rarely, if ever been seen coming from an artist of Neil Young's iconic standing.

From Uncut.co.uk by ALLAN JONES:
One of the pivotal songs here, I think, is the surreal 'Last Trip To Tulsa', which as the closing track of Neil Young would be regarded by some as an aberration, too heavily indebted to Dylan, its solo acoustic setting at odds with the rest of the album. Now, of course, its impressionistic narrative – nightmarish, absurd, paranoid, awash with grim portent - can be heard as the precursor to masterpieces to come, like 'Ambulance Blues' or 'Thrasher' and even 'Ordinary People', that similarly took the pulse of the nation and its people.

Sugar Mountain is a fascinating snapshot of Neil Young at a transitory moment in his long career, for which it also provides an indelible template. This is in many ways how he would sound for the next 40 years. At least, that is, when he wasn’t raging noisily with Crazy Horse, taking various detours into unadulterated country, winsome folk, synthesiser-pop, stylised rockabilly, big band R&B, grunge, electronic experimentalism, otherwise undermining convenient expectation or elsewhere meandering down the musical avenues that have at various times left fans baffled and at least one record company exasperated enough to want to sue him for not sounding enough like himself, when in fact for all this time he has sounded like no one at all but himself.

Thanks Tim!


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37 Comments:

At 11/25/2008 08:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a trip! He sounded so ... well.. young.

Can't wait for the release.

Oh to be 20

 
At 11/25/2008 11:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Nice Performance!
Can't wait to hear the CD/DVD version.

Listening to the show reminds me of the fact that I always like Neil when he talks a lot.
I am always somehow disappointed if he doesn't say a word during a show. Last show I went to he only said "How are you doing". That didn't rock at all and so I replied: "We feel Blu-Rayed over here". He did't say a word after that. It was the worst NY show I ever experienced.

Just wondering how Test Pilot is doing?
And what about Sam Shepard?

 
At 11/25/2008 12:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for this! Makes up for Neil canceling his Los Angeles date on his latest tour. He sure is talkative, ain't he? Downright chatty. Brillant stuff. Looking forward to it's release next Tuesday.

 
At 11/25/2008 01:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW! I didn't move to Ann Arbor till 1972--now I wish I'd been here 4 years earlier. But the recording made me feel like I WAS there. How did they get such quality out of a 40 year old 2-track tape?? Thanks, Neil, for releasing all these great concerts.

 
At 11/25/2008 04:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

just for clarification:

this recording is acceptable for over-the-internet streaming.

but the archives doesn't even warrant a CD release.

just checkin'.

sound quality matters?

 
At 11/25/2008 05:54:00 PM, Anonymous TVel said...

This sounds really great. Incredible quality, very intimate recording. You can hear every quiver in his voice, every note rings with such honesty. This will definitaly be my favorite so far of the archive released live albums. And we get to hear a bunch of songs that we NEVER hear live-- Expecting to Fly... Out of My Mind... If I Could Have Her Tonight-- I'm impressed!

 
At 11/25/2008 06:54:00 PM, Anonymous Simpson said...

Listened to about 20 minutes last night before my mom made my go to bed haha. But from what I heard it is fantastic. I just love the stories Neil tells and the one about him taking pills while workin in the bookstore just cracked me up. Currently listening to it now and I just love it!

 
At 11/25/2008 07:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is so great!

I love the raps almost as much as the music. God he's so funny. Where did this Neil go?

 
At 11/25/2008 08:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

interesting how the martin playing was sloppy as compared to just a couple years later when it got crisper..wish my playing got that much better in such a short time! pretty cool overall but will only buy it to see the dvd more than the tunes.for me now its more about the man than the music,ill get the NYA for the same reason, i want all the cool stuff to see and read.i dont listen to too much music,but am very interested in the movies reviews ect..

 
At 11/25/2008 10:03:00 PM, Anonymous Shittyhorse said...

Well I LISTENED to this and I love it. Stands alone as a live, very post springfield neil really hitting his stride...love the simple playing and the smooth, silky voice. And all the talking...loved it...Clancy,Mr. Soul, Birds, If I could have her tonight, All just great and I can wait to buy it!Five stars A+++++

 
At 11/25/2008 10:15:00 PM, Anonymous If only I could have been there said...

Right before "Mr. Soul" he admits "took only five minutes" to write. "I only wrote it once. "All I am is a radio station, a microphone."

Wow. Blows my mind still 40 years later.

 
At 11/25/2008 10:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exceptional!! The banter between songs is as classic as the songs themselves... interesting that right before "Birds" he speaks for a while about about leaving Springfield ... always thought that song was about his 1st wife or something ... then he mentioned the break-up of Springfield right after too, incidentally he takes a request for "Out Of My Mind" , guess he was more open to requests in those days:)

 
At 11/25/2008 10:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A great record, but I especially love the version of The Old Laughing Lady. The extended guitar playing is awesome. Can't wait to buy the CD/DVD version when it comes out in Australia.

 
At 11/26/2008 08:37:00 AM, Blogger .:DataWhat?:. said...

Do we have any idea what the DVD is? Is it:

a) Film of the concert(s)?
b) Still photos set to the audio on disc 1?
c) Just DVD-Audio?

I can't seem to find out anywhere!

 
At 11/26/2008 11:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A few random comments-

Sugar Mt DVD-
We hope that you enjoy the informative and entertaining bonus Archives trailer that comes with this release.
The concert audio program on this disc meets the Shakey Standard of 24 bit/ 96 kHz stereo audio..which has 256 times the resolution of a CD and an improved dynamic range of 48dB.

A standard CD is included for those of you who think CD is good enough and/or like degrading your music by compressing the crap of it and making puny MP3 and AAC files

As you might be aware, the DVD media is used as a delivery platform because of it's ability to provide the high end audio. Since a DVD is a visual medium, there needs to be picture and on releases such as Sugar Mountain, Chrome Dreams II and LWW-Raw, the Shakey Pictures screensaver is used.
This provides a relaxing visual image to play in the background as you listen to hi res music...because really it is all about listening to music, isn't it?

To anyone who feels ripped off or cheated by the lack of actual footage on these DVDs, I suggest that you step back for a moment and think about it.
In the case of Sugar Mountain which is taken from a rare stereo recording, what are the chances that a film crew was there in the tiny, casual Canterbury House room?? For LWW, the DVD already provides complete "making of the music" videos as well as videos of the actual master take for each song. What more can you ask for....really??
The Chrome Dreams II DVD has one of the most beautiful, artistic and creative visual presentations that I have ever seen on a DVD of this sort. The images on the screen keep moving and morphing while you listen to the music....never getting in the way of the music or becoming distracting..yet they take your eyes on a trip.


In reply to 11/25/2008 04:44:00 PM:
The NPR stream and the stream of LWW songs on the neilyoung.com site are for an initial listening and are provided as a service an a preview. This should not be confused with the high audio quality sought in releases that one purchases.
If you are enjoying the crappy stream quality of Sugar Mt, that is coming out of your little computer speakers wait until you hear the hi res 24/96 DVD on a nice stereo system.

Buyer beware:
A heads up to anyone who thinks that going out on Black Friday and buying a cheap Blu-ray player is going to bring you entertainment happiness (in general) and an answer to your Archives BD playback system.
Many of these low end players barely work with simple Hollywood discs, have long loading times and sluggish navigation. In addition you are not going to find Internet connectivity on these players which means the added benefit of BD-Live with Archives set can not be achieved.
Trust me, as with most tech purchases, if you cheap out on this when you get it home you'll learn that it's a piece of crap. Don't ever say that you weren't offered a friendly warning on this.

In the coming weeks we will be providing results of BD player testing for you, testing that has been conducted using the Archives set. Hopefully this report will help you make informed and educated purchasing decisions...if the BD platform fits your interests, budget and lifestyle.

Test Pilot

 
At 11/26/2008 12:01:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Hi Test Pilot,

Thanks for dropping by. We're always glad to hear from you.

Thanks for the info and patience.

I think I may speak for many Neil fans that all of the info is quite helpful as many if not most of us embark on a new technology adventure where few have been b4.

Given the considerable $ outlay we face, every little piece of info helps us with our decisions.

So thanks again!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone at Shakey Pictures, the LincVolt Team, Lookout Mgt and everyone else helping make The Archives happen finally!

peace,
Thrasher

 
At 11/26/2008 12:25:00 PM, Blogger .:DataWhat?:. said...

To anyone who feels ripped off or cheated by the lack of actual footage on these DVDs, I suggest that you step back for a moment and think about it. In the case of Sugar Mountain which is taken from a rare stereo recording, what are the chances that a film crew was there in the tiny, casual Canterbury House room??

I only asked because both my Mom and my Dad were at the shows before they were married (My mom was there both nights!). I would've loved to have tried to pick 'em out of the audience.

I was really hoping for a little grainy Super-8 footage of some of the show. (I didn't anticipate a 3-camera shoot of the whole thing). It's not that crazy to think that someone might have grabbed some footage or even still photos of the performance that would show up on the DVD. Other equally-small shows from that era have been documented in similar fashion.

The Sugar Mountain DVD actually contains:
1. The audio of the show with a nice graphic of Neil and some reels spinning.
2. The Trailer for the whole archives set.
3. A "Set-Up" screen to help with proper audio setup.
4. A link to "Web Info" (which just has the Neil young.com/archives link)

Nice stuff to be sure, but no visual representation of what was actually going on at the show.

 
At 11/26/2008 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi TP,

Hope you can help us out with the info on SM DVD that says:

"128 AUDIO TRACKS incl. 43 unreleased and 13 NEVER-HEARD-BEFORE"

Are the 13 part of the 43? Things like "Mustang" which we've actually heard?

Does this mean the balance are official previous releases?

Are the unreleased considered demos/alternatives of released songs? Or 43 unreleased songs?

Thanks TP!

Have a nice veggie turkey day!

Curious

 
At 11/26/2008 12:49:00 PM, Anonymous Love And Only Love said...

In response to Test Pilot's querry: "What more can you ask for....really??"

Heh, we're rusties... we want it all and we want it now! ;)

I am enjoying this "crappy stream"... but I really can't wait to hear this the way it was meant to be heard!

Thanks again for your time and the updates.

Peace.

 
At 11/26/2008 03:31:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on Sugar Mountain said...

It's Neil in the rough.

I love it.


Maybe Grammy Inc. will consider him finally as the new up and coming artist they missed 40 years ago.

These songs he wrote were seriously overlooked and overscored for the Buffalo.

To hear Neil bring "Clancy" and "Expecting to Fly" back to life after all these years is a gift.


Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

 
At 11/26/2008 05:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope all the Rusties and Neil and his people who work for him have a safe and happy thanksgiving . A Michigan fan since 1967. And still rocking in the free world at almost 60.

 
At 11/26/2008 07:20:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sugar Mountain is now ranked at #22 on the Amazon chart !

I predict this release will debut on the Billboard charts at #11 and remain on the top 100 thru the end of the year.

Rustrodamus

 
At 11/27/2008 02:39:00 AM, Anonymous Peter said...

Testy, fully concur with your comments in regard to anyone whinging about the DVD content of the releases you mentioned in your post - but maybe you can shed some light on the mis-representation of the concert footage on the Live at Massey Hall DVD? It is indicated that it is from the Massey Hall shows, when it is in fact from Stratford, and has had the Massey Hall audio dubbed over the Stratford concert footage. Why the deception? Neil must have known about this, and authorised it? I really cannot understand why the DVD couldn't have just been credited with being from Stratford, which was a only a few days after the Massey Hall shows anyway, and would have still been a relevant bonus DVD to go with the Toronto show. The way it was done detracts from an otherwise sublime release. I don't really expect an answer or explanation, but you're about as close as we'll ever get to it, so I've given it a shot... :-)

 
At 11/27/2008 03:21:00 AM, Anonymous baotzebao said...

Grazie, Thanks. Still Twenty. Less Sugar, More Barking.

http://www.baotzebao.eu/2008/11/27/lanteprima-dellanteprima-neil-youngs-sugar-mountain/

 
At 11/27/2008 12:27:00 PM, Anonymous Luke Shelton said...

OK...I give up. How in the world do you get the audio to actually play from the NPR site? The NPR "player" loads up, lists the song that should be playing, but nothing is played. I have gone through the entire NPR "help" page. I've opened the ports they suggest to open. No luck. I've even gone so far as to turn off my firewall completely. I've tried with Internet Explorer, Firefox,...you name it.

WTF?!

 
At 11/27/2008 12:51:00 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

great, great concert. i'm just worried about purchasing the CD if it's gonna appear on the archives. i wouldn't want two copies of the same thing. can anyone shed some light on this matter? thanks.

 
At 11/27/2008 01:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

in reply to Chris-

Sugar Mountain CD/DVD is not part of Archives Vol 1 set, but owning it and the Archives will give you the complete (so far) collection of the NYA Performance Series.
Sugar Mountain is NYA PS #00
xxxx is #01
Live At The Fillmore East is #02
Live At Massey Hall is #03

 
At 11/27/2008 01:27:00 PM, Anonymous Chris said...

thanks for clearing that up! i just made my pre-order.

 
At 11/28/2008 05:25:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WARNING: the Sugar Mountain Live DVD version contains a NEW trailer for the Archives Volume 1.

This NEW trailer is mindblowing! Be prepared!

From now on the discussion on the price of the Archives should be replaced by a discussion on how to survive the Archives.

Don't know what to say. Just seen it a couple of times.
Blown away completely. B.S.M.

 
At 11/28/2008 10:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Test Pilot,

Hope you are doing well with the Archives.
After viewing the new fantastic trailer some notes came up:

1) Is there a difference between the packaging of the DVD version and the Blu-Ray version. It looks to me one comes in the classic DVD sized box. The other looks like a regular cd size?
If this is true the 236 page harcover book also appears in two different sizes.

2) In the sections were the covers of the seperate volumes are presented the Fillmore cover has the same info as the CD. (NYA PS disc 02). You posted before this will be a 25 GB B-R disc. Rumours reached me it wil be a CD?

3) Wil there be a complete CSNY with Dallas Taylor & Greg Reeves concert included?

4) A picture of Neil(like the SM cover) has a caption in the trailer that says "NY at unknown east Coast location". According to the late Linde McCartney a colour picture of the same shooting was taken in Boston.

Well, it's an amazing fantastic trailer!!!

Because Sound Matters

 
At 11/29/2008 09:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't understand why the NYA Performance Series won't be part of the Archives Vol 1 Release? I thought the archives was meant to be everything!

 
At 11/30/2008 11:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

NYA Performance Series IS part of Archives Vol 1...see above comment.
Ya get discs #01,#02 and #03.

"knock,knock, knock...FBI!"- from Sun Green

 
At 12/01/2008 08:10:00 AM, Anonymous Napoleon In Rags said...

I assume the NYA PS #1 (Riverboat ?) will be released before the archives set.
Wait and see, we'll perhaps get some more Neil Young material to distract us from the BD concerns.

 
At 12/01/2008 11:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

random replies-
NYA PS #01- LIve At the Riverboat will NOT be released before the Archives set, but IS included in both BD and DVD editions.

* There is no difference between the BD and DVD packages. The book is the same in both editions. LIve At The Fillmore is NOT a CD in the BD or DVD editions. There is NOT a complete CSNY concert in this Archives set.

* "1956 Bubblegum Disaster" is a previouly unreleased song, NOT a between tunes rap and is NOT connected with the childhood story "Why I Chew Gum". It can be heard on the "LIve At The Riverboat" disc.

Archives Guy (formerly Test Pilot)

 
At 12/20/2008 07:26:00 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Is he playing a twelve string?

 
At 2/02/2009 09:06:00 PM, Anonymous dr dip said...

Just listened last night to the sugar mountain live CD.
Raw, vintage neil...back when he had a sense of humour as projected between songs with little stories.
I really love Neil in his raw acoustic live sets if not more then some of his studio albums. He always seems to shine in an uncommercialised, simple, live environment.. something that would be impossible to achieve in today's money hungry promoter's commercialised inpersonal venues. I'm sure neil woulk get a buzz playing at some little pub or coffee house today to a small audience..playin' an acuostic version of rockin in the free world!!..How;s the inside cover showing the admission ticket...8 pm tonight...free eats!..priceless!the perfect set to compliment live at massey hall with some songs I've never heard acoustically little lone live . Promise me when ya finished with lincvolt,obama and model trains,, go back to ya roots and do what ya do extra bestaoustic live ..at a pub near me!!.....Dr Dip down under

 
At 2/28/2009 05:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Sugar Mountain ever going to come out on Blu-Ray? It doesn't make sense to buy a 10 Disc Set on Blu-Ray, and have one DVD mixed in to help complete your collection of Neil Young's career on Blu-Ray.

 

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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
NOTHING IS AS IT SEEMS
Guess what?
"Symbols Rule the World, not Words or Laws."
Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Be The Rain, Be The Change

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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
#NullifyNSA
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?


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Share

Words

(Between the lines of age)

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

~~ John & Paul


Namaste