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Thursday, May 14, 2009

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.


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13 Comments:

At 5/14/2009 06:46:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for the Archives since the late 80s, for more than half of my life.....but....and i know this is sick and peverted...i really hope Neil pulls the plug at the very last minute.

He can post a note on his website...

"Neil Young Archives - Closed for Business!"

It would be funny, dont ya think?

Cough up the Buck$!

Johnny Rocket!

 
At 5/14/2009 09:11:00 PM, Anonymous dr dip said...

Your one sick puppy Johnny!!
Its time to launch!

 
At 5/15/2009 12:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been waiting for the Archives since 1976 when he released Decade and said he'd follow THAT up with Decade II and that, of course, turned into the Archives which brought us to where we are today. Yet, I too, will really belive it when I hold it in my hand. I mean it's really the holy grail isn't it? I really don't know what I'm going to when I actually get it? What am I gonna live for?

 
At 5/15/2009 12:31:00 PM, Blogger Pinto (or Flounder) said...

Volume two

 
At 5/15/2009 08:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking of Archives, here's some honest to goodness REAL rare material!

Check this out - CSNY at Altamont, 1969!!!!!!!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/video/2009/may/17/altamont-footage-woodstock

Cough up the bucks!!!

Johnny Rocket!!

 
At 5/16/2009 11:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.neilyoung.com/archives/northcountry/northcountry-start.html

 
At 5/16/2009 11:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.neilyoung.com/archives/
northcountry/northcountry-start.html

 
At 5/16/2009 04:18:00 PM, Anonymous Shittyhorse said...

I, for one, cannot wait for the parcel containing Neil Young Archives Vol.1 1963-1972 to land on my doorstep. My wife already knows I will be locked in our office for a few days digging through the Archives. While it's true most of us already own a lot of this music already, the idea of a collection such as this is what appeals to me and the music is only one part of it (yes, a big part) there is also the photos, information, history, film, book etc. etc. I love the fact that this was a labor of love done by Young himself....not some postmortem cash-cow done by relatives, benefactors and record company clowns. Neil's fingerprints are all over this box and if you take a look at many other box sets; while the music is by the artist the whole package is missing a kind of mark by the artist. I find that all the great artists create their own universe, a creation all their own that is undeniably theirs. You look at a t-shirt, an album cover and without reading the name you know who the artist is. There are certain symbols, slogans, lettering, etc. that Neil Young uses… I see a buffalo and it reminds me of Neil Young (or Hunter S. Thompson) and we all know Neil’s handwritten scrawl, a Native American symbol, a ragged worn object, or a grainy photo. As was the case with Nirvana. Kurt Cobain oversaw EVERYTHING Nirvana so that it met his approval. Kurt understood art and image and he wanted to make sure Nirvana had an image. When I think Nirvana I connect specific images to that band: a fetus, that font, mangled dolls, flowers…etc. Kurt Cobain was Nirvana and all those things we connect to them were intentional. That is part of creating a look, style and brand, it’s memorable. Now, look at the Nirvana box set “With The Lights Out”. If you’re a fan you know; the music is fantastic but the package is lacking (as was their greatest hits honestly) Kurt’s artistic touch. The big picture of Kurt and the band in suits, all the black and the inside cover that you touch and the heat from your hands lightens the page? God what is that?! Even the title is horrible, the most uncreative thing; Kurt would have never; in a million years stand for that package being released to his fans.
Kurt Cobain was an art student and later an artist and his stamp is so sadly lacking from this box set….his band, his career all stuffed into a poorly thought-out rip off.
With Neil Young Archives we have a collection of songs in a multi-media project…the likes of which we’ve never seen. I hate to say it again but this IS a living-breathing thing here. From the preview disc we can tell Neil Young has been here. This is his (and Joel Bernstein’s) baby. I keep reading all these folk’s complaining about how they don’t need another copy of ‘Cowgirl’ or ‘Down by the River’. Well I’m glad those tunes are on there because I don’t need a HUGE set of ALL outtakes i.e. The Beatles Anthology. (There is a reason they are called outtakes by the way) The Beatles project is very interesting only BECAUSE it’s THE BEATLES! But let me tell you I’ve listened to those things maybe once all the way through…enjoyed in enough and now they collect dust. I now put on ‘Abby Road’ the album or ‘Revolver’ because, quite frankly, they were done better then! Not the outtakes.
People will always find a million things to complain about when it comes to Neil Young because that is the kind of artist he is; weird enough that wonder what he’ll do next and frustrating enough to keep it interesting. It’s that way for his every project, album, live show. That’s a big reason why we love him and we keep coming back from more but also the MUSIC!
Listen some of use don’t like Oreo Cookies but do we blog about why we don’t? The archives may not be for everyone and I think Neil knew that going into it. But don’t try to bring the 96% of us who can’t wait for it down.
As for me, when that big box comes in the mail, I’ll hunker down for a week with some beers, roll a few numbers and take a fanatic trip into the Archives.

 
At 5/16/2009 09:28:00 PM, Blogger Pinto (or Flounder) said...

Shitty.. (dude, you gotta do something about that name)

That was beautifully written.

I've referenced, a couple times, my anticipation for Green Day and 21st Century Breakdown, specifically in the context of admiring an artist who takes five years to prepare a major statement, and contextually as compared to Neil's recent work, that can sound like it was recorded in his bathroom during a particularly difficult bowel movement, and last night, listening to Green Day at full volume, with the appropriate chemical balance, I found myself thinking A) this is really good, but it's basically American Idiot, only longer, with lesser ballads, and B) what a magical thing it is that Neil Young can record in a thousand different voices and they all sound like something you need to have in your life.

So I had another beer and put on Fork in the Road and went to bed happy.

Thanks, Shitty. They should recall the archives and put your post on the timeline.

 
At 5/17/2009 03:20:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comment of the moment by Shittyhorse (there's nothing wrong with that name since most of your text are pretty much to the point (even the ones with the caps)). Well done! Good to read some realistic text on TW next to all the negative bullshit. The only point I am not so sure about is the thing about Anthology by the Beatles. Neil is still alive and maybe more with us than ever before. The Beatles are all gone. I can't relate things Lennon did in the past to stuff he is doing now. Therefor I did like Anthology (audio and visual) even with the creapy Macca campfire and boatsman shots.
Thanks + roll another number for the road. bsm

 
At 5/17/2009 03:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rock review: Neil Young, Archives Vol.1
(Warner)

"Many diehard fans had begun to wonder if the Archives would ever be a reality, so long have they been promised and postponed. Now the first instalment is here, is disappointment inevitable? Actually, no. This exhaustive project is the most impressive retro-fest of recordings, photographs, video footage and digiti sed memorabilia ever assembled. Diehard Neil Nuts could lose several weeks of their lives in the multi layered, omninavigational experience it offers. (This is true of both
the 10-disc DVD and Blu-Ray versions: investing in the eight-CD set is, frankly, pointless.)

Neither Dylan, nor the Beatles nor the Stones, would have devoted the thousands of man-hours to ensuring their immortality that Neil (with the aid of in-house curators ) has done here. So why is he, in the hackneyed L'Oreal phrase, worth it? For the simple reason that his talent evolved into something so different from – and so superior to – the soulbearing orthodoxies of his peers. To be sure, 1970s Neil was a canyon navel-gazer. But he was also a poet of otherworldly feeling: 20% left-brain calculation, 80% right-brain instinct and raging imagination."

From:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/may/17/neil-young-archives-volume-1

"...investing in the eight-CD set is, frankly, pointless..." bsm

 
At 5/17/2009 06:52:00 AM, Anonymous dr dip said...

Shitty,Pinto....I love readin' your comments.
Sony, I can relate to your 'bastardising' of songs lyrics, its always a lot of fun.
Greg M and Punk Dave..you guys have always got something interesting and constructive to say.
MNOTR...where are you? I miss your nurturing!
To all the anonymouses that have good comments,retorts and constructive criticisms...Please,please give yourself an identity!How can we reference or relate to you with a response or retort if you don't give yourself a reference name!
....look its fun.... Thrash can edit , delete or censor you as soon as he sees your blog name comin' in!(I still luv ya Thrash!)

coz talks cheap....Dip

P.S. After a heavy day on the table, TW always makes my day fun!

 
At 5/17/2009 11:44:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrash has been known to censor from time to time.

i dont agree with that.
in fact, i think it's wrong.

Tin Soldiers and Nixon's comin'....

 

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