Sneak Peek of Neil Young's Archives on No Depression
So we got into another scuffle over what's really on Archives Vol. #1 yesterday which degenerated into another round of Neil's "broken promises".
Like Neil Young ever makes promises to anybody about anything? Or somehow he's not allowed to change his mind?
From No Depression by Paul Cantin:
At this point, having followed this saga for so long and watched the set emerge on label release schedules and then mysteriously vanish, I knew better than to get my hopes up. And even now, with the preview disc in hand, I still half expect Neil could put the kibosh on the project once more between now and June 2.
With all those qualifications aside, here's what's on the disc.
The sampler appears to represent the content contained on the actual box set's disc entitled Early Years: 1963-1965. At its most basic level, that's 15 songs dating from Young's very earliest musical experiments growing up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and working in Fort William, Ontario, fronting The Squires -- a Shadows-like outfit initially specializing in trebly instrumentals -- then through some tentative folk recordings with pal Comrie Smith in Toronto, then to a frequently-bootlegged audition tape recorded in New York City for Elektra Records.
So far, so much like just about every completist's collection. But the remarkable thing about Archives is not simply the music it collects; it's the way that music is matched with other material for a rich multi-media experience. The Blu-Ray is organized so you can simply play through the track list (with a visual of the appropriate playback machine "playing" the disc -- be it a 60s-era hifi or a professional reel-to-reel machine). Or you can access a virtual filing cabinet which contains a separate dossier on each song. As the song plays, you can click around to early photographs, newspaper articles, related business correspondence, a list of every gig the Squires played and some hilarious and poignant hard-luck letters Young wrote his mom from the road in those early days.
One file even contains a recent video clip of Neil opening a 1963 letter he mailed to himself with music transcriptions, as proof of copyright to the Squires' first songs. Other songs contain audio clips of Young listening back to the tracks and discussing his reaction. There's hours of reading, listening and viewing value packed into the disc.
More on that elusively beautiful girl we call The Neil Young Archives: A Roundup.