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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

"Words" on YouTube from St. John's, Newfoundland 2009

"Words" by Neil Young @ Mile One Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada. (April 7, 2009).

Thanks RodneyMaxwellFord!

After listening to "Words" on the North Country Archives Disc #8 demo from the original soundtrack album Journey Through The Past, we just had to fast forward 35 years to compare.

All we can say it is simply amazing how much has changed and how little has changed between the 2 performances 35 years apart.


More on the still unreleased Neil Young Journey Through the Past.


At 5/20/2009 01:23:00 AM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I guess you'd have to say that JTTP was the first offering from Neil that required me to listen to it "over and over and over again" to get a sense of it, and like the film, I guess you’d have to say I never really did. But, as with anything from Neil, it was still worth it, and has some real gem moments. I think it’s pretty cool that Archives is using the JTTP version of “Words”. I hope they haven’t cut anything out.

I got the album for Christmas the year it came out, at no suggestion from me- by then the whole house knew I was a Neil freak. I fell in love with it immediately, without even hearing it, just from the cover and the interior of the double album jacket, which folded out and had all kinds of cool pictures. At first, I thought for sure the album was going to be a lambasting of the Ku Klux Klan figures parading across the cover. O.K., so I was wrong about that, but it was still a stirring image.

Only a Neil Young fan would ever have listened to the album even a second time, and even for me there were parts I just couldn't warm up to. But like I said, there were some unbelievable moments: the Buffalo Springfield stuff- especially "Rock And Roll Woman" (simply sublime), "Find The Cost Of Freedom" with Crosby shooing the crowd down to get the song started, the Beach Boys instrumental, the Jesus Freak trying to double talk Neil, and yes, the entire side of "Words" with the back round oohing harmony being worked out by the band, and Crosby ranting about America's Roman-Empire-like keepers at the gate being "full of shit."

But the pinnacle moment of the album by far is "Soldier". I can't listen to the truncated version of Soldier from Decade without cringing. It's like comparing concentrated orange juice to fresh squeezed. Think about every time the idiot DJ cut off the guitar solo at the end of Cinnamon Girl- and multiply it by 100. I have a clear memory of listening to the song on a cold winter morning getting ready for a before school practice, with snow flakes falling outside, and the whole house asleep. Now that was spooky. I found out later that my Grandmother was awakened and went downstairs because she thought a cat was walking on the piano keys in the living room- and we didn’t have a cat. That's how cool it was. If the entire album had been nothing but white noise, it would still have been worth the purchase price just for this recording alone. Thankfully, there's a lot more besides worth hearing. I felt really relieved when I was looking through my old albums and found two or three copies each of JTTP and TFA.

Listening to the latest version of “Words” really brings a lot back. To me, the guitar lead on the “Harvest” version was so understated and deft, almost slight of hand. It was great to see Neil perform it again in the same spirit. Like you say Thrasher, the more things change the more they stay the same, but it’s not just about the music. “Words” and JTTP was still the beginning for me as a Neil fan, and after listening to this latest version, the fascination is still the same.

Greg M

At 5/20/2009 06:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a grand performance...

I've always dreamed of hearing this one live. Thanks for sharing, Thrasher! Great reflective post.

At 5/20/2009 06:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also forgot to say, @Greg M - great post depicting the magic of listening to JTTP... wholly agree what it must have been like for your grandmother when she "was awakened and went downstairs because she thought a cat was walking on the piano keys in the living room- and we didn’t have a cat"! I always thought the piano sounded so fragile and timid, hovering between here and there. 'Soldier' is such a magnificent song. When I show it to my friends, it feels like I'm showing them another whole new world.

At 5/20/2009 05:14:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Greg M ... If you enjoyed 'Words' on this live performance, the version on JTTP, Harvest, or just the song in general, then I highly recommend that you listen to/watch the DVD version of Words on the 'Red Rocks Live - Neil Young Friends and Family'. It is by far the difinitive version of the song which was captured live at the RedRocks Amphitheater in Colorodo in which I was in attendance. It was the highlight performance that night and totally blows away this most recent performance. Im sure you will agree ... go out and add this DVD to your collection for this song alone will be well worth the price!

At 5/20/2009 07:28:00 PM, Anonymous Junkman Shining Shoes said...

The Red Rocks performance of Words is exactly what sets Neil apart from his fellow greying rockers, his undeniable passion.

He is rocking his guitar and looks prertty fired up towards the end although its at waltz tempo and his guitar playing is deft and understated, just great.

I think that side to his guitar playing is less talked about. I mean the guitar playing on the song On The Beach, to me is his some of his best guitar playing on record.

Whilst we love his loud, crude and dirty grunged out tones and reptative and sometimes out of tune but the feel is there playing, it's so good to have some elegant sounding breaks throughout his playing.

At 5/21/2009 04:08:00 AM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Well, you went and did it, forced me to own up to the fact that of all Neil’s LPs and CDs the one I don't own is Red Rocks. If I'm not mistaken, I had it for about two weeks before it got stuck in a CD player and I never replaced it. Also if I'm not mistaken, I saw the Neil With Friends tour stop outside Detroit. I remember being blown away by the set list which included at least two or three songs I had never heard before in 30+ concerts ( “I Believe In You”, for one), and several songs that were real set list rarities, as well, although I do not recall if he played Words that night.

Thanks for the tip, I will definitely go out and get the CD as funds permit, and as Borders 50% off offers come available. The JTTP version is not stellar by any stretch, just a fondly recalled funky album side cut from a funky album. The Harvest version is pretty low key due to Neil’s back problems at the time, I think, but still so well executed. Now I am anxious to hear the Red Rocks version. If the guitar breaks are anything like “On The Beach” as Junkman Shining Shoes seems to intimate, then I'm really intrigued, because I agree that that is some of his best recorded guitar work- crisp, melodic and bluesy, and unadorned by any wall of sound treatment- a lot like his guitar playing from a Shocking Pinks concert I saw.

By the way, while we’re on the subject of best versions, in my list of gem moments from JTTP, I neglected to single out what for me is Neil’s best Mr. Soul version. One time I played back all the versions I had with a friend- the Buffalo Springfield album release, Trans, and JTTP, and we both thought the JTTP version was the most vibrant and “in the pocket” version. The live concert sound of the guitar lead is incredible. The version from Canterbury House does nothing to change this for me. I believe Thrasher has posted this version in one of the Buffalo Springfield focus pieces (Stills opening up with “For What It’s Worth”, I think, with a seated Neil getting up and breaking into Mr. Soul, although the JTTP cut has a much better sound quality than the video clip) . Check it out sometime, you might agree.

Thanks again- Greg M

At 5/22/2009 06:21:00 PM, Anonymous BIGCHIEF said...

Greg M - When you go out to get RedRocks, be certain to purchase the DVD version ... they are actually two different performances. He played two shows at RedRock's and for whatever reason he chose to use one night for the C.D. and the other was captured on DVD. ( I suppose you might as well get both) Actually, I just remembered that the C.D. is called "Road Rocks" as apposed to the "Red Rocks" live DVD.One example of the contrast between the two versions is that on the C.D., you can tell that Neil got off to a bad start during the intro to 'Cowgirl in the Sand' in which he managed to salvage it, whereas he more than made up for it the following night as the intro to CITS was, next to Words, possibly the highpoint of the show!I know exactly what you mean when you say that the OTB guitar style is appreciated as the loud, grungy stuff. One of the mans greatest traits in his playing is that he knows restraint and dicipline when it comes to using his instrument or even his voice for that matter,to emphathise and express the feeling he's trying to convey ... thats why he is the master and On The Beach is probably one of the finer examples of that.

At 5/22/2009 06:46:00 PM, Anonymous BIGCHIEF said...

Greg M ... Outside of Detroit where?. I live in the Detroit area and like you I have not missed a NY show in my area since 1975! Most have been at the D.T.E. theater (or as I still refer to as PineKnob Music Theater).All others were either at the Palace of Aubern Hills, Meadowbrook Music Theater( the International Harvester shows), the Fox Theater(solo Silver & Gold tour,GreenDale, and Chrome Dreams) and maybe a couple at the Joe and the great 'Cobo Hall'!... Saw both Rust Never Sleeps shows at the Knob!(was also at the Knob when he refused to do the second half 'Shocking Pinks'encore. Always a good time when Neil comes to town!... Go Wings!!!


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