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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Review: The Neil Young Archives Vol 1 (1963-1972)

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The Ark of the Covenant:
The Neil Young Archives Vol 1 (1963-1972)


It's been almost 2 months now since the Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 (1963-1972) was released.

We thought it best to do a review justice only once we had gone through nearly every song, menu, easter egg, hidden track and feature. And yet, we're still absorbing it with even more to go.

Putting this review together has been a challenge. Over the years, we've covered this project fairly comprehensively. We've had all sorts of labels for The Archives like "legendary", "mythical", "Holy Grail", "Arc of the Covenant", "sign of the apocalypse", etc. All of which do little to describe The Archives experience.

So we'll just start where it matters: the music.

It's pristine. It's revelatory. It's a sonic bonanza. It is a digital wall of sound with analog warmth. And that's the just our impression of the music quality alone.

And the songs? Placed from one end of 1963 back to back through 1972, we hear a literal chronology of Neil Young's music evolving from his critical early career phase when he went from small town high school gigs all the way to #1 on the charts with "Heart of Gold". Simply put, the career arc of Volume #1 is astonishing to listen to over the course of the 10 discs.

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Neil Young - Sept 10, 1971
Boxset Photo by Joel Bernstein


With that said, there has been a bewildering amount of criticism registered on this blog of The Archives' music which we can not begin to fathom from our undeniably biased perspective. If it is all about the music, then can someone care to explain how the 24-bit, 96kHz digital audio resolution played on a Bluray system is somehow inadequate? Can anyone point to ANY release ever that has ever sounded better sonically?

We raise the sound quality issue because we hear folks talk about the Archives in the same context as the rarities compilations like Archives Be Damned, Perfect Echo or Rock-n-Roll Cowboy. Hey, we've had these fan tapes and bootlegs for years now and frankly could not wait to replace their hiss, flutter and murkiness with a sound quality that did the music justice. And the same goes for our dearly beloved old vinyl. We'll be the first to admit that our nearly 40 year old vinyl of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere has seen better days. And, no, we never "upgraded" our vinyl to CD.

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And then there is the selection of the music tracks themselves on The Archives that some seem to have a problem with. Too much of this. Not enough of that. Where's this? Why isn't this on it? I already have these songs already.

To which we say a) no, you don't have these songs already in 24/192 audio @ 9216 kilobits per second (which is ~6.5 times as much data as found on CDs @ 1411 kilobits per second and 20-50+ times the bit rate of MP3's). And, frankly, don't get us started on this MP3 business. The Archives was never intended as a low-fi MP3 experience and any discussion about it is a moot point entirely in this regard.

Back to the track selection issue. This all comes back to Neil's vision and whatever that might be. For us, laying out the career chronologically works. Yes, there are missing critical tracks like Harvest's "Out on the Weekend". Regarding the whole subject of "missing" tracks, we think folks should just wait and see how the whole BD Live download thing works out. We've got faith that a lot of holes will be filled in the coming years.

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So that's just the subject of the music itself which so many critics see as paramount to the whole Archives project. And we don't disagree that it's all about the music. So you have unsurpassed sound quality and rarities like the Comrie Smith tapes and the Riverboat concert that even the most hard core collectors have never even heard before. So what's the problem?

OK, so we ended up with some extras like Sugar Mountain, The Fillmore and Massey hall that we had already. Our take on this is that we could have waited several more years until Volume #1 came out before hearing. But we were happy to have sooner and now have some freebies to give away. And we only had the CD versions before so now we have BD editions, so no again on are we getting the exact same thing twice.

Well, enough about the music. Let's talk about the box, the package, the book, the poster, the MP3 download card, the little handwritten note from Neil for you. We found our little box at the top of the stairs to all be quite flawless and exactly as advertised. Sure, getting the BDs out of the box was a little tight and we had to shake it for 10 seconds but give us a break. And getting the BDs back in the box? We don't know because we haven't tried to put them away as of yet. Ask us in a few years.

So onto the Archives video, easter eggs, hidden tracks, & memorabilia stuff. A couple of points. It is our understanding that the vision for The Archives came about in the late 1980's, i.e. pre-internet. Neil wanted something that folks could listen to while navigating around lyrics, photos, and memorabilia. Now we don't know about you, but if someone explained this to us in 1989 we'd have a hard time getting our head around how the technical vision would work. Well it took about 20 years for the technology to catch up with Neil's vision. In the meantime, something called the internet came along which does make the navigation of Bluray seem a little old school. But hey, we've got a Sony PS-3 and all the gamer kids seem to be just fine with the console. Not being a gamer ourself, it take us a little while to get the hang of it but once we did we can say that the PS-3 console is a far superior navigation tool than a DVD remote control.

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NYA Disc #1 Back Cover


Regarding the knock on visuals. What were folks expecting for a period of 63-72? Concert footage of The Buffalo Springfield and the Mynah Byrds?! We're not sure where some expectations came from but to think that there would be a ton of great video on NYA V#1 is just plain unrealistic. Now with that said, we found the footage of the recording of "A Man Needs A Maid" with the London Symphony Orchestra to be absolutely priceless. And the Harvest barn sessions with a "young" Ben Keith on peddle steel to be revelatory. Or how about the interview behind the barn with Neil lying in a field on his ranch trying to figure out what it all means? We've never seen any of this before and found it to be utterly fascinatingly insightful.

So what about those spinning records and reel to reel visual wallpaper? Here's where we stand on this. It takes us back to the day when the visual for music was a little black disc going around and around in circles. And that's exactly the ambiance that these visuals conjure. We know. Boring. Which misses the point entirely. In today's hyper twittering manic world, the thought of just turning down the lights, popping a cool one, and just zoning out to the music just doesn't seem to occur to folks. So if it's all about the music, then why do folks complain about MP3's for their iPods that they can listen to while they commute, shop, etc.?

We don't know about you, but our sense is that the MP3 ipod phenomenon is NOT all about the music. It's something that goes in one's ears while doing something else. And that's exactly what NYA is NOT all about. NYA was designed to be an all encompassing musical experience. Something you listen to, watch, and interact with solely. Not something to listen to while you're chatting, texting, biking, running, walking.

Some folks get it. Some folks don't. Walk on.

And then there was the whole price thing. Well, we've been waiting 20+ years so if you put a quarter in a jar every day you'd probably have had enough for the boxset, the Bluray player, a flat screen, and surround sound system. It's only fuckin' money for god's sake.

But you know what? Who cares what we think. That's just us.

So how about those fans? What do they think?

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Here's Zak Claxton: Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 -- Review:
"This is a serious retrospective from a guy who's been continually cranking out great music for well over 40 years. I knew it was going to be a great package, but I didn't know it would be this great."

From Winnipeg Free Press by lifelong fan John Einarson:
"Not even the most dedicated rustie — the nickname for Neil nuts — will be prepared for the staggering volume of information and memorabilia the rock icon has amassed in the long-anticipated multimedia autobiography Neil Young Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972."

Or fan D.I. Kertis, who commented here :
Among the highlights:
- The entirety of Disc 0, 1963-65, especially the instrumentals, which show a whole different side to Neil (including the letters he mailed himself of his early compositions!) and the early versions of Sugar Mountain and Clancy, particularly the latter, as fine a take as any, perhaps better. (I don't care very much for the Springfield version; Furray shouldn't ever have sung that song.)
- Down, Down, Down; Slowly Burning (greatest Springfield outtake ever?), Sell Out, alternate Mr. Soul and the pristine-sounding Springfield recordings. I've longed to hear Broken Arrow that way for sometime. I also enjoyed the montage from the last Springfield show--one of those bonuses that really adds to the set's worth--and the various audio clips of Neil talking about the springfield, and especially the video in which Charles Green and Brian Stone are interviewed and the band shown at work in the studio.
- All the rare audio clips in general
- All the footage of Neil, Joel Bernstein, etc., putting the archives together.
- Down by the River on Music Scene
- DVD-quality Filmore East
- The stills, documents, memorabilia and such in the song files. There are some really great original drafts in there.
- The record sleeve for Stampede-- proving it did exist.
- The book, which provided not only more great photos and memorabilia, but a chart and very detailed information on each track in the Archives
- Alternate mixes of I've been Waiting for You and What did you do to my Life?
- Alternate Birds (2x)
- Alternate Everybody Knows this is nowhere.
- the Timeline in general
-Everybody's Alone
-Everything on the Massey Hall DVD
-The rare tracks from Riverboat
-Country Girl (really interesting track that gets forgotten a lot and sounds great here)
-Remastered Expecting to Fly (forgot to mention above-- really brings out the best of Jack Nitzche)
- Versions of Dance Dance Dance, the long Words (better than the original and in such great quality), a wholly superior restoration of Soldier
- finally getting to see Journey Through the Past, which is weird but entertaining
-All the video on North Country
-Superb remasters of the Harvest material
-Neil and Steve Stills play an interesting version of Mr. Soul

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From LAist by Bobzilla :
"Among the contents are several tracks I have never heard in many years of obsessively seeking out Young’s music, along with a lot of others I have heard before, but in a fidelity that surpasses anything in my collection.

Yes, fellow Rusties, it was worth the wait.


There’s enough music here to last a normal person for years. Given that, the prices don’t seem so out of line anymore. It is, after all, the (nearly) complete early output of one of the greatest talents rock music has ever seen. And that's worth something."

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1st night with Neil Young Archives by John R., New York


From Aquarium Drunkard:
"Here’s the thing about the first installment of Neil Young’s Archives project: only the obsessive will care, and with the (variable) price point, care enough to pony up the cash to purchase. This was never intended to appeal to the casual fan and/or newbie. Now that alone isn’t revelatory, but when one considers the amount of previously released material included, and how long the archives have been in the works (and repeatedly delayed), it is understandable how its release has come off as anti-climatic in some fan circles. Granted some of this derision is splitting hairs, but I also believe some of it is due to the information age we find ourselves in versus had the set been issued, say, 10-15 years ago. The enormous online proliferation of bootleg recordings and videos, and the relative ease of obtaining them, has in turn rendered the archives less essential. Not entirely de-fanged, mind you, but much less engaging than it would have been prior to YouTube, P2P, blogs, bit-torrent, etc.

So, with that caveat out of the way, let me slip in fan mode and state for the record that the (DVD version) is pretty fucking great. A notoriously uncompromising artist, Young has created an archival project grander in depth and scope than most anything seen before related to music. It’s obvious the curation of the set was painstakingly labored over with every attention paid to detail. Those who want to get their hands dirty in the minutiae of it all are sure to be kept entertained for days (weeks?) on end with never before seen photographs, old lyrics sheets, notes, concert footage and interviews. It is simply a massive undertaking."

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Enough about how the fans feel. What about those "critics"? What do they think?

TONEAudio MAGAZINE's Bob Gendron says that The Archives: "defy expectation and transcend limitation". Gendron's rave review continues:
"And nowhere is that attribute more manifest than in the sonics. The warmth, richness, fullness, airiness, separation, body, extension, detail, intimacy, tonality, depth, dimensionality, clarity, and sheer life-like presence that these recordings convey defy expectation and transcend limitation. At every step, whether on 1965's "The Sultan" or a wowing, previously unheard 1971 version of "Dance Dance Dance" with Graham Nash, the sound is room-filling, balanced, natural, lively, and utterly engaging. Digital has never been better."

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Over on Metacritic which compiles and ranks CDs from a wide cross section of sources, NYA has the top score of 93 out of 100 and is the highest rated release of 2009.

We guess that if the Bluray version sold out immediately, than somebody must've bought the thing.

But so what. Numbers add up to nothing.

The critics -- who usually sit alone -- seemed to be pretty ecstatic, as well.

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Uncut Magazine's Archives Preview


From Goldmine by Peter Lindblad:
"A mammoth excavation project by any measure, Archives Vol. 1 (1963-1972) — the first in a hotly anticipated series of similar releases — isn’t so much a boxed set as it is a museum packed to the rafters with Neil Young artifacts and recordings.

As others have already said of the much-ballyhooed set, and they are right on the mark, these volumes will undoubtedly revolutionize the way record companies reissue the back catalogs of its most prominent artists. It’s absolutely staggering how much bonus material is included."

From The Huffington Post Mike Ragogna:
"We have to stop here because, quite frankly, words don't do it justice. If you like this artist, go buy this box. It will bring joy to your life for weeks since you will never get through it in your first few sittings. Despite scores of excellent, high concept, minutia-driven collections, or even Grammy-winning box sets released over the years by some of our greatest artists, and regardless of if you like or dislike the music of Neil Young, nothing comes close to what Archives achieved. And that's not an exaggeration. Let's just call this what it is--the best box set ever made. Surely, Bob Dylan, Nirvana, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Joni Mitchell, The Rolling Stones, and other musical icons deserve this treatment as well. Thanks to Archives, they just might get it."

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From Blu-rayDefinition.comby Brandon DuHamel:
"It’s not just the high-resolution that makes the set sound as good as it does, but the obvious care and attention that have gone into the analogue restoration and analogue to digital transfers by John Nowland at His Master’s Wheels in Woodside, CA and digital editing and mastering by Tim Mulligan at Redwood Digital, also in Woodside, CA. One can rest assured that Neil Young, an ardent guardian of his legacy and outspoken commentator on the ills of modern digital sound quality, watched (or listened, as the case may be) over the proceedings diligently.

Archives is a set that falls way to the left of what has become the normal mode of operation for mastering techniques in the music industry today.
The set screams “analogue” with every warm bass line and every moment of natural tape hiss that is allowed to bleed through. This collection has not been over-compressed or peak limited to sound loud; it has been allowed to breathe. There is a great sense of natural dynamics, air around the instruments, and smooth high frequencies. This is a collection that one can sit down and listen to at virtually any volume level without fear of ear fatigue."

From The Observer by Barney Hoskyns
This exhaustive project is the most impressive retro-fest of recordings, photographs, video footage and digitised memorabilia ever assembled.

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From The New Yorker by Ben Greenman:
"To say that it’s mammoth is something of an understatement, like saying “Live Rust” is loud.

"There’s a paradox here. Earlier this year, on “Fork in the Road,” Young lamented economic pressures, self-centered thinking, and corporate greed; now he’s charging through the nose for the most self-aggrandizing product imaginable. But, as music becomes more and more difficult to monetize, the rock-and-roll world must grapple with new profit models. Young’s fusion of history and commerce may point the way out of the cul-de-sac. The question is how many artists will amass a body of work that rewards this kind of treatment. Here’s one, at least."

From The Allmusic Blog by Stephen Thomas Erlewine:
"Any project in the works for two decades is bound to generate its fair share of myths and so it is with Neil Young’s Archives, a series of a multi-disc box sets chronicling Young’s history. Originally envisioned in the late ’80s as a Decade II, the project quickly mutated into a monster covering every little corner of Neil’s career. With its escalation came delays, so many that it sometimes seemed that the project never really existed; it was just a shared fantasy between Neil and his faithful. During that long, long wait, fans held tight to the idea that Archives was a clearinghouse of rarities similar to Bob Dylan’s The Bootleg Series, a treasure trove of unreleased songs and epochal live performances that would trump whatever bootleggers had to offer. While rare and unheard music is certainly a key part of Archives, particularly on the first disc covering the pre-history of 1963-1965, viewing this project as merely a CD box set is wildly misleading. Neil Young has designed Archives as nothing less than an immersive multimedia autobiography, an interactive experience where the music, text, video, and pictures feed off each other, creating a virtual journey through Neil’s past.

This level of detail may suggest the one serious flaw in Archives: it cannot be taken casually. It demands complete, undivided attention, requiring users to dig as deep as they’d like, and it’s no stretch to say that it could take a week or two to discover everything here. Also, the set comes so tantalizingly close to being complete, it’s a major irritation to have one song lopped off of each the albums; surely, the extra storage space on DVD and BluRay could have allowed for complete runs of Everybody, Gold Rush, and Harvest. But really, these complaints feel churlish when faced with a box that is an embarrassment of riches, offering so much more than anybody could have imagined during that long, long wait. Not only was the wait worth it, Archives feels like it was 20 years in the making. It’s an extraordinary work that redefines what an autobiography can be.

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From Popdose by Ken Shane:
"It goes without saying that if you’re a Neil Young fan, you have to have this, but it’s equally true that if you are interested in the course of American popular music in the last 40 years, this is an indispensable collection."
From EYE WEEKLY BY Phil Dellio :
"First of all, about a third of Archives is drawn from the years 1969 and 1970; for me, Neil’s output during those 24 months (Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, “Helpless,” “Country Girl,” and “Ohio”) is matched only by what The Beatles and Dylan put out in ’65-’66, and the Massey Hall and Fillmore discs take you to the very epicenter of that singular moment of genius and mystery and vision.

Much as Decade was 30 years ago, Archives is the culmination of that side of him (the latest installment, anyway; more boxes are scheduled), and, faults and all, it chronicles an obsession well worth excavating."

From NPR Music by Will Hermes:
"To many, it'll all seem like overkill. But if you're like me, you'll waste hours with this stuff. Neil Young's Archives is definitely the new gold standard for artist anthologies, and I'm sure many will follow suit, since it's a cash-cow concept for an ailing industry. But few musicians have a body of work that deserves this kind of treatment. This guy definitely does."

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From Sound & Vision Magazine by Mike Mettler:
“FUCK THE AUDIENCE.” So says Neil Young in one of the Easter eggs on Archives Vol. 1. This blunt point — made at his Broken Arrow Ranch during a video shoot for the Archives back in (yes) February 1997 — is critical to understanding this long-gestating passion project. Especially key is what Neil says next: “If I’m going to survive, they’re going to have to eat it.”

The Canadian-born, California-entrenched singer/songwriter has followed his muse down any and every rabbit hole he desires, embracing all genres and styles with the commitment of an artist willing to express his creativity in whatever form he chooses. The message: Join me or don’t; it doesn’t matter. I’m still going. But far from being an exercise in esoteric navel-gazing, Archives is the Holy Grail — a fine reward for the patience, understanding, and loyalty of his followers, and a truly comprehensive chronicle of the first phase of his epic career. From the evidence on Vol. 1, it’s a digital love letter to Neil Young fans, one that’s wholly worth the wait in ways heretofore only imagined.

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From All About Jazz by Doug Collette:
"With the possible exception of Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home (Columbia, 1965) and Highway 61 Revisited (Columbia, 1965), there may be no rock of modern times with more clarity of purpose than Young's Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere and After The Gold Rush. Flush with confidence arising from his solo shows, the chance encounter and earthy spontaneous bonding with the California bar band Crazy Horse constitute symmetrical pillars of Young's career. The higher profile and more refined approach of Crosby Stills and Nash, to whom Young brought more than a modicum of idiosyncracy, seems in retrospect a patchwork of disparate elements never so seamless as Young and The Horse: their chemistry flourished both in the studio and on the stage.

There's as much to be said for the ringingly succinct version of “Cinnamon Girl” that begins Topanga 2, as the beautiful sprawl of “Cowgirl In The Sand” and “Down By The River” from Live At The Fillmore. In contrast, neither “Helpless” nor “Country Girl” have ever sounded more studied, especially as CSNY compare with the splendor of Young with Crazy Horse on Don Gibson's country standard “Oh Lonesome Me.” From the mournful harmonica that introduces the song's world-weary pace, to the vulnerable delivery in Young's voice, it's possible to feel the fragility of the moment in the lyrics and the musicians' capture of a truly collective moment.

As with Archives at large, the three discs comprising this flashpoint period in Young's career are sprinkled with rarities, including an excerpt from the performance at Woodstock in the form of the slight “Sea Of Madness,” and unreleased gems such as the Stray Gators version of “Journey Through The Past” that never made it on to Harvest, and rare gems of the time including “Bad Fog Of Loneliness” and “See The Sky About To Rain.”

Then as now, the level of Neil Young's prolific creative output is virtually impossible for even he to keep up with, which is why the release of The Neil Young Archives Vol. 1 generates as much if not more rumor, speculation and debate as it did during its repeated delays. Still, that sensation can't equal the level of fascination conjured up by the best of the music itself, which is haunting and cathartic, an effect that no doubt struck the artist as he assembled this package."

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Wired By Steven Levy:
"When you follow an artist closely for many years, your own consciousness inevitably becomes intertwined with theirs, and sudden access to their personal vault of unreleased tunes, alternative mixes, and private paraphernalia is a bounty that requires a lot of unpacking. Archives drops you into the Neil Wide Web. At first I jumped from one gem to another. It thrilled me to hear gorgeous versions of tunes I'd experienced only on fuzzy bootlegs, to discover cheesy instrumentals from Young's high school band, and to view evocative items like the article his father (a well-known Canadian journalist) wrote after seeing his son play Carnegie Hall."

From Donald Gibson's blog:
"In a career as uncompromising as any in popular music, Neil Young has seldom sought the creative path of least resistance, instead yielding to the mystifying influence of his own muse. With unwavering conviction — believing that the best, most inspired works flow through, rather than from, one’s consciousness — Young is a rare figure in rock, one who is inextricably attuned to his art while, at times, shamelessly expressive of his most visceral and vulnerable emotions.
Long running on his own wavelength — and not just in the realm of music, incidentally — Young has produced a canon so prolific and singular that chronicling it has posed a host of problems, not least of them being its eventual scope and format. After years of false starts and thwarted expectations, though, the first installment of what promises to be a monumental undertaking has ultimately come to fruition."

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The Holy Grail


From Rolling Stone by WILL HERMES:
"This 10-disc ultra-mega-anthology is like Geraldo's trip to Al Capone's vault if the gangsta had the smarts to retain librarians."

Audio Audition by Jeff Krow:
Besides Bob Dylan, no other single rock artist can match the recording output of the inimitable Neil Young. Young has gone through similar stages as Dylan, from pop singer to country and grunge electric rock. Like Dylan, Neil has a fervent fan base who has followed his journeys for over 40 years. Dylan’s output has been prodigious and he continues to tour and record. However, with the release of this mega Blu-ray 10 disc set, Archives, Vol. 1, Young has even outdone Dylan. Perhaps, it may be more appropriate to say that Neil WILL outdo Dylan in scope, as this edition of Archives covers only the first nine years of Neil Young’s recording career.

Sure, you can view it as an ego trip, but for those of us - myself included -who have followed Mr. Young into our nearing retirement phase of life, it is a chance to revisit our youth when listening to Neil made things feel “right,” and we felt in sharing his changes in musical taste that we too could change ourselves into whom we had hoped to be.

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From Stuff.co.nz by Simon Sweetman:
"The stuff to salivate over is a solo acoustic See the Sky About To Rain - before it would end up in its recorded version within On The Beach's delights. And then there's the outtake Bad Fog Of Loneliness - excellent. You can also hear how Young repeats himself in an endearing way throughout his career; taking a guitar line, a familiar little lick, a percussive strum and turning it into the basis for more than one song. It's as if he goes back, listens to something he did, decides he likes that and goes 'that'll work again'. Here with Archives Vol. 1 he has done that with a whole bunch of his stuff. And I think we're pretty lucky to see the start of this roll out during his lifetime.

There's potentially volumes two, three and four to come - maybe a volume five - and who knows what else. Young will play it out until he's happy and could suddenly back away from the rest of this series. But I doubt it. And I like the idea of seeing/hearing his recorded life - the bits that tell the story - unfolding in a series of box sets. To think that in nine years Young could achieve more stylistic growth and diversity than so many people manage in careers three times that length means that there will definitely be some good things to look forward to in the future volumes. We fans know that already, from the best of his released material.

But hearing it correctly contextualised - for me - made it worth the price of admission.

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Of course not everyone has been thrilled by NYA. Take for example our favorite commenter here Anonymous whose reaction seemed to sum up much of the hard-core fan carping and whining:
Well........

all i can say is i'm massively disappointed. I plopped down $323 bucks for the Archives, another $433 for a PlayStation3, and $15 for an HDMI cable....

and.....

....and......

.......and......

i wish i could return everything and get my money back. To shell out nearly 800 bucks for something i'm not satisfied with gives me cramps.

there is so much material in the archives, it's a multimedia extravaganza....but maybe i'm old school, all i really care for is the music. Unreleased tracks and such.

For me, it's a pain to endlessly search around for nuggets on the BluRay discs. Searching for the hidden stuff is, well, stupid. It would be nice if you could play everything in a loop, and have slide shows pop up showing the photos.

I just dont have the energy or desire to navigate from one photo to the next, or searching for easter eggs etc.

I give Neil an awful lot of credit to pull this massive set together, it is impressive. Lots of blood, sweat and tears went into this, and he deserves props.

but for me - well, it's just not worth it.

i guarantee one thing - once the newness wears off, only a small percentage will consistently plop the BluRays in and search around day after day. Frankly, it gets boring.

In the end, the MP3's (or CDs) will get played.

after all, it's about the music.

boo-hoo. Thanks for your concern Anonymous but you spare us next time.

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From The News Blimp who apparently the only thing negative they could think of was the cost:
But we honestly believe Neil Young’s over-the-top collection is one that could have remained on the shelves of his own personal library. Because in creating a tribute to himself…which he believes many will spend big bucks on…he’s actually succumbed to the same awkward, clueless embarrassment that other classic acts of the 70’s era like the Eagles and AC/DC created for themselves by selling CD’s only through socially wicked retailer Wal Mart.

Neil Young…like the Eagles and AC/DC…has forgotten who helped make him successfully famous…and rich.

Real people. The Woodstock Generation.

Unless there’s a realistic way for his true fans to enjoy Neil Young’s terrific life story…without having to miss meals and live without AC during the hot summer…as far as we’re concerned…he might as well skip the next few planned installments of “Archives”.

No one will be able to afford them…except rich guys like Neil Young.

From Neil Young Archives Blu-ray: Rip off? | The Audiophiliac - CNET News by Steve Guttenberg:
"Summing up, I can't recommend 'Neil Young Archives, Vol. 1: 1963-1972' on Blu-ray. If you really love Young, get the CD box. Then again, if Young really cared about his fans he'd ditch the filler and put out a killer two-disc set of just the unreleased stuff."

(Note the comments section for this review where Guttenberg is ripped as being totally clueless.)

From Neil Young Shows Gems, Indulgence on $350 Box Set: Bloomberg.com by Mark Beech:
"“Archives” isn’t an ideal introduction to Young. “Decade” covers his career up to the mid-1970s better. Still, “Archives” is the most technologically advanced box set yet.

The only really bad thing is how many other rich hippies will get the idea to rush-release their own “Archives.” Who’s next: Maybe the Grateful Dead, with a 50-volume offering and endless 40-minute versions of “Dark Star”?"

(A rather back handed compliment which we note that lots Dead-heads would really like to hear.)

And Neil Young Archives Blu-ray: Rip off? | The Audiophiliac - CNET News. blah-blah.

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But enough of the naysayers. The haters. The doubters. The let it bring you downers. Mellow harshers. The 4% Clubbers.

From Young's Archives worth wait by Jordan Zivitz:
"As a career retrospective, Archives is without peer in its loving attention to detail and respect for Young's legacy."

Pitchfork by Stuart Berman:
"Taken individually, the reams of extras that accompany every track on the DVD/Blu-ray editions-- candid photos, original handwritten lyric sheets, radio-promo spots, newspaper clippings, tape-box doodles, and so on-- may not seem like a compelling reason to pony up for Archives' enhanced options. But cumulatively, they chart an evolution as intriguing as that heard in the songs.

Brian Eno was recently quoted as saying that if the practice of selling music in physical form is to continue, the emphasis will have to shift from the content to the form, to enable a unique user experience that can't be replicated with the click of a mouse. Archives constitutes a bold step towards this new paradigm, where the delivery system is as much in service to the supplemental materials as the music that ephemera serves to canonize."

From Uncut.co.uk by NEIL SPENCER:
"Archives bristles with much more – you’ll find, for example Young’s father’s review of his 1971 show – and it’s hard not to believe that Neil the tech-head has not laid down a template for all future retrospectives (one can imagine Dylan and McCartney, the only artists of comparable stature and longevity, paying close attention). There’s more, too much more, to come, but for now, Volume One will do just fine."

archives-box-neil-young-needle.jpg

We'll just conclude by saying that we think that we'll be enjoying The Neil Young Archives Volume #1 for years to come -- or at least until Volume#2 is released. And that's good enough for us.

Be the Rain, Be the Change.

Be the Wheat.

Peace,
Thrasher

archives-box-3-crop.jpg
And I've been waiting for you.
For such a long time now.


ps - Thanks to the folks at NY.org for all the links!


Also, see The Making of The Neil Young Archives.

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75 Comments:

At 7/26/2009 12:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archives is good, not great.

but that's just my opinion.

Anonymous

 
At 7/26/2009 12:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this video of CSNY's On the way home on the Archives?

YouTube - Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young - "On The Way Home" Live (Early 70's)

 
At 7/26/2009 01:05:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome T

old sound man

 
At 7/26/2009 07:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, that video is in Archives Vol1.

 
At 7/26/2009 08:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know what's more impressive - Neil's Archives, or Thrasher's review!

I dont agree with chunk of this, but i respect the effort!

well done.

Johnny Rocket!

 
At 7/26/2009 09:29:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Thanks JR.

Coming from a tough customer like you, I'll take it as a compliment.

 
At 7/26/2009 09:51:00 PM, Blogger wardo said...

Great summary, as usual, Thrasher. Now I'm wishing I had saved a quarter every day since first hearing about Decade II. As it stands, I don't have it yet, but I've yet to see nothing that says it won't be worth coughing up the bucks. And so I will.

 
At 7/26/2009 11:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm shocked! Thrasher can find no fault with anything. Everything's perfect, the sound, the sequencing, the tracklist, the price. You're nothing, if not predictable Thrasher!

Just out of interest, have you ever - even once - written something that could be construed to be negative about Neil? Is he really that perfect?

 
At 7/27/2009 12:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the fact that there wasn't that much unreleased stuff on the Archives is what really made it a bit of a disappointment for me. When I heard the Archives were coming out I thought I could dispose of The Archives be damned. But I've actually been playing that more than the Archives, which I didn't expect would happen. Stuff like Hitchhiker, Kansas and Born to Run are just amazing. Maybe there should have been a Decade 2 which collected all of the rare gems together, in an easily affordable 2 CD set.

 
At 7/27/2009 01:32:00 AM, Blogger D.I. Kertis said...

Login now working-- God knows how long this will last...

This is a pretty good review, Thrasher and a more-than-decent crack at the surely formidable task of doing NYA1 some measure of justice. Thanks for the time and effort of putting it (the review, not NYA1!) together for us to see. I have to say it's quite flattering to be quoted here (and quite a relief that you repaired my "Mr. Soul/Soul Man gaff before doing so. Still not quite sure what I was thinking to type that in.)

As I've already talked about at length throughout the Thoughts and Commentary section, I have been enjoying Archives set greatly for the past month and 1/2 or so. I've "only" got the DVD set, but even then it's more than satisfying: the sound quality is mind-blowing after those early '90s CD "remasters" ; there's plenty of great music, including some really worth while rarities and unreleased tracks; and all sorts of excellent bonus material to go through. That about sums up my experience thus far.

You mentioned some of the video on the North Country disc. I've really enjoyed that, too: footage of Neil recording A Man Needs a Maid and There's a World (the latter the only representation of that recording included in the Archives, which, along with the version of Words from Journey Through the Past, means that Out on the Weekend is (I believe) the only track from Harvest not represented on NYA1 at all) and Neil and the Stray Gators recording Are you Ready for the Country? is absolutely priceless.

It's also quite remarkable what a difference the improvements in sound quality have made in some cases. Take Soldier for instance. I had been relegated to the edited version on Decade, in early '90s CD masters quality at that. So imagine my joy when I played Solider on the Archives and felt like I was sitting in the room with Neil as he was playing, rather than pressing my ear onto a glass leaned against the wall of the next room. Soldier being such a great (yet somehow forgotten) number, it's nice--to say the least--to be able to listen to it in audio quality that does it some semblance of justice.

There are also the stills. I haven't actually counted, but it seems there must be hundreds. I might be a bit odd, but I think looking at still photographs, which capture a particular moment in time, is tremendously interesting. And of course nothing beats Neil sitting in the field outside the barn at Broken Arrow Ranch, with a can of beer in hand, offering commentary as a recording of Words is played back. That was great-- especially Neil talking about the natural echo and then the camera guy moves closer so we can hear it better. Then there's the prelude to the North Country menu with Neil in his jeep, which reminds of me old home movies my grandfather took, where all you can here is the projector running!

Elsewhere you get SN&Y playing acoustic version of After the Goldrush tunes live, or Neil playing absolutely fantastic solo, acoustic-guitar only versions of The Loner and Cinnamon Girl, which really gives those classic electric numbers a new angle. Or going back to the beginning, Neil mailing himself the sheet music of his first compositions for copyright purposes...

The entertainment the Archives can provide really seems endless at times.

 
At 7/27/2009 01:44:00 AM, Blogger D.I. Kertis said...

Anonymous (7/26/09@ 12:42 pm),

Yes, there is a video of CSNY performing On the Way Home Live somewhere on the Archives. I say somewhere because in amidst the enormous amount of material, I've forgotten exactly where. I'll try and find it and report back to you at some point.

 
At 7/27/2009 06:26:00 AM, Anonymous Sean O'Leary, Dublin, IRE. said...

I bought the Blu-Ray and frankly I now believe it is a red herring. Yes it sounds great but does it sound much better than DVD audio? Not to my ears.

The truth is, I don't have the luxury of being able to sit down often and put the blu-ray discs on to listen to the music at home. I have kids! There's more chance of Scooby Doo being on my telly than Neil Young.

Like it or loathe it, most people listen to music on portable devices and/or in the car on CD, and that's how I have listened to (and loved) the Archives in the main.

The BD-Live is a good idea in theory but the bottom line is, what use is it if I can't get the extra songs off my PS-3 and into my iTunes collection? Furthermore, any video downloads will likely not be in HD because the file size will be enormous. The only advantage I can conceive of would be the downloading of concerts etc but my point stands, if I can't get the audio files off the PS-3, what's use it ? I thought it was all about the music?

To add insult to injury, when I downloaded the 1st BD-Live, it mentioned at the end that DVD owners could download the file separately. In other words, DVD owners can download it to their PCs and rip the audio for iTunes. This is infuriating.

The other selling point of the BR was that the video content would be in HD, but that's not strictly true. Yes the filing cabinet etc is all HD but who wants to see pictures of a record or vintage cassette player revolving in HD? The hidden videos of Neiler playing (in the bar and with CSN) are in SD so in fact the crucial video content on the BR is not HD at all. WTF?

and no Neiler @ the BBC in Feb 1971 in HD? Criminal :-(

and JTTP is banal. and no extras like the full recording of Words in the barn? or CSN doing the back vox on Alabama? What a rip-off.

I think I will be buying the DVD version next time. I love Neiler and I salute him for his innovation and of course the music but I think this has been ill-conceived and poorly implemented.

 
At 7/27/2009 07:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How anyone, Neil Young fan or not, could not completely fall in love with the Archive Vol. 1 is beyond comprehension. Great review, Thrasher.

 
At 7/27/2009 08:13:00 AM, Anonymous Shaving Foamasi said...

The problem with any compilation is that you'll never please everyone. Personally, I think that Archives Vol 1 is the best conceived and realised compilation by any artist ever. Thankfully, NY is worldly wise enough to know that there will be people who would have complained whatever was on Archives. Some of the points made are valid but some are just plainly ridiculous and based on false premises.

If you don't like the Archives set, then you could always sell it on e-bay or something or give it to someone that you think might like it. In the meantime, I'm going to continue enjoying my Archive set and am really looking forward to Vol II...

 
At 7/27/2009 10:05:00 AM, Blogger Wayne said...

I love Neil and have been a fan for many years, but Vol. 1 was a little disappointing to me.

I think it's because the identity of the set has probably changed so many times over the years that it isn't really sure what it is anymore. It's certainly not an "archive." I remember an interview with Neil years ago where he said it would include "everything" because that's what the fans want. Now that's an archive.

But not including all of the songs from each album just doesn't make any sense, artistically that is. There's plenty of room on the discs for them (I seem to remember a couple of the cds being under 50 minutes)--Why leave off "Out On The Weekend," for example? I just don't understand why an "archive" would do that.

Secondly, I was surprised that the unreleased songs are clearly not up to par with Neil's released ones. The thing about Bob Dylan's outtakes is that often the songs are actually better than the released ones, and with Neil (at least on this first set)this is just not the case. That surprised me, because I just always kind of assumed they would be. But you can't tell me that either of the two versions of "Birds" are better than the After The Goldrush version or that the first version of "Everybody Knows" is better than the released one. And frankly, some of the unreleased stuff is pretty bad. ("It Might Have Been" for example).

There are still some nice surprises on the set, and I'm not trying to be a negative nancy about it--I'm very happy to finally have a pristine recordings of "Everybody's Alone" and "Sell Out"--essential stuff--but, like I said, I'm a little disappointed, and I think I'm justified in feeling that way.

 
At 7/27/2009 10:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrasher,
Hat's off to ya ... with respect to being prolific, you are reaching Neil's level!
Best,
Dan

 
At 7/27/2009 11:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrash -

i'm surprised you don't have any complaints whatsoever about the Archives. But that's cool...

My major complaints -

- Price
- Lack of BluRay Live downloads (thus far)
- GUI interface - it's challenging to get around, but passable, given the format
- Hidden content - i don't see the point, people want to listen to the music, see the videos, they don't want to painfully search around for stuff on every disc, and then constantly forget where the buried stuff lies. Yawn. Neil could resolve this by ALSO including a separate disc with all the hidden content (instead, he gave us another copy of Canterbury - yawn)
- lack of unreleased material - Neil kept a lot of stuff from this period buried - WHY?


Aside from these major facts and shortcomings, i think the Archives is a remarkable piece of work. Hopefully Neil fine-tunes the format in future releases (and also gives us more unreleased material).

Anonymous

 
At 7/27/2009 12:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are just too many good things I could say about the Archives vol.1.In the world of so called "Box Sets" it is far superior to ALL that's come before it.It should really set the bar.Well done Neil.And well done Team Neil.Keep it coming.

Rancho Relaxo

 
At 7/27/2009 01:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From purely a musical standpoint, I think the Dylan Bootleg Series is far superior to Neil's Archives.

Neil, however, offers much more in the way is multimedia, which is nice, but in my mind, less essential.

Afterall, it's the music that matters most...

 
At 7/27/2009 02:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Archives is great.Only complaint is the hidden stuff. I like everything in order, there for me.I want to know where everything is.I dont want to be bothered trying to find things, trying to remember where things are hidden,or wondering if I missed something.
That part of the Archives is annoying bullshit.Otherwise it's great !
How about a list of all the hidden stuff and where to find them ALL ?
Anyone put that together ? I would like to print such a list and keep it with Archives 1. Neil, dont do this on Vol 2.

 
At 7/27/2009 03:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest to EVERYBODY.That y'all go back and take a listen to Flying on The Ground and I've Loved Her So Long from The Riverboat show."Man that's some GOOOOOD shit."

Rancho Relaxo

 
At 7/27/2009 03:26:00 PM, Anonymous Breillpeteezeh said...

Well, the Archives has passed me by and as a complete Neil nut I am happily not missing them.

The cost was the first issue, just too much money to spend on stuff that i have in lots of other formats.

Second was the track listing. Got massey hall and Filmore. Got all the albums he's released. I couldn't see how purchasing many of them again was goin got get me fired up.

Third was the release of Fork in the Road. Not an album that I want to listen to and it influenced my decision about the archives.

I'd like the booklet and JTTP but I can do without them at the price given.

 
At 7/27/2009 03:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The archives are obviously an excellent piece of work and I have spent many hours glued to the tv watching them. My only complaint is the hidden tracks. You can't listen to them in the play all feature and i would LOVE to have digital copies of these. Is it possible for the archives download card to allow you to download hidden tracks at a later time? Just a thought. But... words can't describe how awesome this set is

 
At 7/27/2009 03:52:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The newest edition of Guitar World has an interview with Neil and an overview of his rig that is as good as anything I have read - as good as Larry Cragg's interview from the ToneQuest report. If you are a Neil fan (especially with regard to his gear), you should get this edition.

Old Black

 
At 7/27/2009 05:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's pretty simple. The reason that the Archives has not gotten great reviews is because a stunningly large amount of the material has already been released. Sure, it's now being released in a "higher quality" format (and that's cool) but the reason people like Neil Young is for the substance of his songs, not the sound quality of them. Great songs do not become great because of sound quality. The Neil Young Team, for all its great efforts, made a critical mistake by releasing Massey Hall and Fillmore ahead of the Archives. Reception to the Archives would have been much different if they had not done that. I am sure that they will not repeat that mistake the second (and third) times around.

-Big Old Rig

 
At 7/27/2009 07:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Content great but the lack of quality control regarding glue. I own 10000 CDs and never ever have I had an issue with glue before the Archives.

Come in Archive Guy your 15 minutes of fame are up! He should be redundant now and should never have been necessary. After all where was he when we were buying DVD-As.

 
At 7/27/2009 08:05:00 PM, Anonymous Portage and Main said...

I said it before and I'll
say it again:

P-Percivals
A-Archives
T-Takes
R-Real
O-Organic*
N-Navigating

*Garfong!
Have a great summer, AG.

 
At 7/27/2009 08:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the archives, they sound great, love the packaging, format, etc. but like everyone else...just lacking in stuff we never heard before. Please...on vol.2 ,more unreleased stuff....and the Full original Tonight's the Night...that Brigg's wanted, with all the banter.

 
At 7/27/2009 09:17:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where's the BluRay Live?

c'mon Archives Guy, you kept promising, and i bought on your words. What happened?

Why the delay? The least you can do is fill us in.

Ol' Georgie.

 
At 7/27/2009 09:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Black mentioned the Guitar World write up on his gear, but there's also an interview with Neil regarding the Archives. He talks about probable BD-Live updates of some Cellar Door shows from 1970.

Also Vol.2:

"I think we'll see Volume 2 in about two or three years, tops."

"One thing I'll tell you about the next volume of Archives is that Time Fades Away II is in there...It's a completely differnt thing, with completely different songs. So that's interesting."

bumpyjonas

 
At 7/27/2009 10:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what i don't like about the Archives - there's too much moving around, too much navigating!

once you get into a groove, you have to grab a joystick and meander somewhere else, and only hope that you find the place you wanted - or thought you wanted - to go.

You can't get into a groove. Could you imagine how massively disappointing Tonight's the Night would've been had you had to continously flip the album over and over to hear the next song.

it would be a major buzz kill.

C'mon Neil.....bring it back.

 
At 7/28/2009 02:04:00 AM, Blogger D.I. Kertis said...

On the Way Home with CSN& Y is on Topanga 3 (disc 6 of the set.) It's hidden as a yellow thumbtack attached to the timeline. Highlight and click...

 
At 7/28/2009 05:20:00 AM, Blogger Homesick in Paradise said...

Hello all,

I have reviewed the NYA for French music monthly Xroads (4 Pages with pictures).

Gave 5 stars, with some issues about the presence of Fillmore and Massey Hall, the absence of 1 song off each of the first 4 releases and the re-release of said discs, the poor quality of artworks compared to existing pictures, but also one question I have not seen asked yet:

Why is the box that includes the Wiskey a gogo pad and the DL card so big??? I could include two regular DVD cases. Was it supposed to include something else?

That said, I think this pioneering project is yet too big for us to realize. It's a milestone in the compilation model. From now on, any retrospective will pale in comparison to NYA.

Neil is showing the way, period.

Thanks for great job Mr. Thrashers Wheat and to Archives Guy for the invaluable insight and his time.

Jacques-Eric Legarde, Paris

 
At 7/28/2009 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

Time Fades Away II...

Time Fades Away II ?????

AHHGGGH!! Chaos, utter chaos!!!

I hope some of these releases (i.e. TOAST, and now Time Fades Away II) will be available OUTSIDE the context of extremely expensive boxed sets...

 
At 7/28/2009 10:27:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yea - apparently Time Fades Away II includes many of the same songs but with a different line-up (particularly different drummers).

hmmmmmm?!!

 
At 7/28/2009 11:01:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the BluRay Archives, and a brand new PS3 player.

One problem - the discs don't always play.

What an incredibly major bummer this is.

I just want to hear the F'in music, and i constantly have to fiddle with the player. Does anyone know if there are firmware updates i should consider for the PS3.

would this help?

 
At 7/28/2009 11:11:00 AM, Anonymous MARIAN M. said...

Where did people ever get the idea that every single song of Neil's would (or should) be included in the archives?

"Neil Young Archives" is whatever NEIL YOUNG wants it to be. HE is the artist, and HE gets to decide what should or shouldn't be on each volume of HIS archives.

Volume 1 is a masterpiece!!!!!

Starting June 2, I went through all the discs on Volume 1--first on CD and then on DVD. I sure had a lot of fun searching and finding all the hidden treasures. Almost two months later, I'm back to "Disc 0" on CD.

After waiting SO many years for this stuff, I am truly enjoying these early gems.

I also went through the first four albums remastered.....whooo!!!!!

Music is truly my passion, and sound does matter!!!

I sure love you, Neil!!!

Now I'm waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting for Volume 2....

Thanks again, Archives Team!


Thrilled in New York,

Marian M.

 
At 7/28/2009 02:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matthew Lintzenich asked...

"Why is the box that includes the Wiskey a gogo pad and the DL card so big??? I could include two regular DVD cases. Was it supposed to include something else?"

Dude, you put your weed in there.

Rob Schneider

 
At 7/28/2009 02:42:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man oh man.Now talk of a alternate version of TFA.Now I REALLY can't wait for Archives vol.2.I happen to have the TFA on vinyl.No joke.I just LOVE the song LA.Great stuff.Hope vol.2 comes out sooner than later.

Rancho Relaxo

 
At 7/28/2009 03:09:00 PM, Blogger Matthew Lintzenich said...

Hey Rob, I didn't say that!

But it is good to know that the Archives comes with a weed-storage container.

Maybe Archives Vol. 2 with include the recipe for honey slides!

 
At 7/28/2009 04:34:00 PM, Blogger Zak Claxton said...

Well, imagine my surprise when I scrolled down this review (which is so thorough that it rivals the Archives themselves in completeness), only to see a pic of my own goofy face and a link to my fan review.

I stand by everything I've said: the Archives Vol. 1 is the finest musical retrospective ever released by any artist or band. My hope is that it sets the new standard for what used to be thought of as mere "box sets" so that more of the artists I love will at some point do something comparable.

Of course, the list of artists/bands who have the type of creative output that would allow for such a set in the first place is very, very short.

Thanks again, Thrasher, not only for including my silly review, but for the obvious work that went into your collection of information. Great work.

 
At 7/28/2009 08:01:00 PM, Anonymous forever young said...

Hey Rob, I loved you in duce Bigolo and The animal..I didn't know you were a Neil young fan?

 
At 7/28/2009 09:25:00 PM, Anonymous SONY said...

"the list of artists/bands who have the type of creative output that would allow for such a set in the first place is very, very short."

That thought includes 2 perspecives.

1. Enough variety to make it interesting and enlightning

2. An audiophile and pack rat like Neil to have all the 'inventory' to pull it off.

Who's it gonna be: The Who, Stones, Bruce, Bob (obviously), Petty, The Dead, The Band (solo/collective), Clapton, Beatles (done that), CSN,...........

....short list. Others?


AND multiple Volumes? We'll see.

 
At 7/28/2009 11:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not overstate neil's importance (as much as we'd like)

Dylan
Beatles
Stones
Dead

probably even Bruce

could rival - if not surpass Neil - in the multimedia dept.

Neil is my first love, but i prefer objectivity.

do you?

 
At 7/29/2009 01:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It might be a good time to check your NYA Vol1 Blu-ray discs to see if there is a new message waiting for you.

Sometimes the journey IS the prize.

 
At 7/29/2009 02:15:00 AM, Blogger Dave said...

I know this is the kind of thing only a supergeek fan would care about, but I really dig the listing in the back of the book of *all* the tracks dating from the period covered by Volume 1. It makes me appreciate the work that must have gone into tracking down, identifying, and organizing all those tapes...then considering each of them for inclusion. There's a lot of factoids in there for obsessive fans (such as info on the October 1971 A&M studio session, previously unknown, I believe, and still unheard) and I hope some of the rest of these tracks ultimately trickle out via the live updating.

 
At 7/29/2009 07:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Got a BluRay Live notification today. Solid remix version of Here We Are In The Years. Decent.

Archives Guy - was this the "imminent" BRayLive you were talking about a few weeks ago?

 
At 7/29/2009 08:29:00 AM, Anonymous SONY said...

"Let's not overstate neil's importance"

Maybe the difference is the 'personal' collection of photos, videos, etc, rather than the official/unofficial stuff in the record company files. I wonder who else has a warehouse full of stuff like ol' Neil. I would think the Shakey Pictures part is rather unique.

 
At 7/29/2009 08:59:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"have the BluRay Archives, and a brand new PS3 player.

One problem - the discs don't always play.

What an incredibly major bummer this is.

I just want to hear the F'in music, and i constantly have to fiddle with the player. Does anyone know if there are firmware updates i should consider for the PS3.

would this help?"

Your PS3 makes it very easy to update to the latest firmware, and if you haven't done it, that should be the first thing you do. You should also reread the manual if things aren't working out for you. Once you've done those two things - properly - you can start to consider the possibility that something is wrong with the discs themselves (fairly unlikely). But until then, it's a PS3 problem or a setup problem, and that's up to you to fix, with whatever assistance you can get from friends, or online, or out of the manual, or from Sony.

 
At 7/29/2009 09:16:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

To 7/28/2009 11:19:00 PM,

And your point?

Sure Beatles, Stones, Dead, etc COULD.

But they haven't.

Neil was the first. Why diminish the achievement as you grasp for straws to downplay the significance of Neil's place in music history?

We prefer objectivity, as well.

 
At 7/29/2009 10:29:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"have the BluRay Archives, and a brand new PS3 player.

One problem - the discs don't always play."


A sugguestion - make sure the discs are free of smudges and fingerprints. Blu-ray disc are sensitive about that.

 
At 7/29/2009 11:21:00 AM, Blogger tim said...

I just love the Archives (got both the Blu-ray and CD). Just having a wonderful time with it.
If anyone has picked up Guitar World Neil's on the front cover with a great interview about the Archives. Wait till you read about the 'WASTE' that is the '70's and '80's and you will be chomping at the bit for Volume 2 &3.

 
At 7/29/2009 12:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tim.It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that I've BEEN chomping at the bit for Archives vol.2.Can't wait to see and hear Neil/Crazy Horse '76 tour.Or TTN tour with Santa Monica Flyers.Great stuff indeed.

Rancho Relaxo

 
At 7/29/2009 02:14:00 PM, Anonymous SONY said...

"to downplay the significance of Neil's place in music history?"

Well that is not really that debatable, the music part. And now the 'retrospective output' part.

The other interesting thing is the cultural/societal impact of an artist.

Elvis/Dylan/Beatles, even the Dead and maybe the Stones (probably others) certainly had impact on how people perceived themselves and their place in the 'whole' of things. Not sure if Neil's impact is quite as deep in that direction, though the grungekids may have a different thought on that.

Neil, to me, seemed to be writing/singing from an introspective position whereas, though not exclusively, the others were more outward focused in the writings and the rantings.

Just a thought (or 2)

 
At 7/29/2009 02:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'mon Thrash -
you call me out with your ridiculous "COULD" statement, then you don't even have the spine to print my reply.

your actions here are pathetic my friend.

Censorship, especially when it makes Thrash look good.

Spineless Twirp

 
At 7/29/2009 03:29:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

To Anonymous @ 7/29/2009 02:56:00 PM

Before you go calling folks "Spineless Twirp" [sic], how about looking up the definition of censorship.

And then read the Comments Policy.

peace,
t

ps - the irony is not lost on me of your relentless Anonymous attack postings in which you refer to my "spinelessness".

You don't know it but you are.

 
At 7/29/2009 04:04:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrash,

i speak objectively about Neil. If that bothers you, i do apologize.

Neil is just a man, he makes mistakes just like the rest of us. I refuse to elevate him to Sainthood just because he creates incredible music.

The Archives are an incredible piece of work, yet in some ways it's a flawed product. The technology doesn't always work, and it's not easy to navigate.

Are those legit complaints? I believe so.

You apparently disagree, and that's your right.

i also have a right to speak my mind. I spent a lot of money on this set, and i'm ever-hopeful Neil will improve things moving forward. (also, the easter eggs and such are nice, but i think i speak for many who wish it was easier to find these things, by simply having the option to PLAY ALL. Is that asking too much?)

Again, who pissed in your Cheerios, Thrash?

Anonymous

 
At 7/29/2009 05:39:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Mr. Anonymous,

We have little use for concern trolls with their astroturfing sockpuppets.

You've brought these arguments up repeatedly over the past few months. They're old & tired.

You hounded me about a review which I've posted. You indicated you would provide a review as well.

If this is the extent of your views regarding a project 20 years in the making, then it really speaks towards your lack of respect.

peace

 
At 7/29/2009 08:17:00 PM, Blogger karen said...

Kind of off topic technically but seemed like a good time to say that the archives are so much fun ... I just spent an entire very thunderous and very full-of-lightning afternoon fucking around with it (again). What a blast!

And also ... Thrasher, just want to say thanks for what you do, this site is an awesome resource and place to chat, you have done so much for the NY fan community and I know I speak for so many when I say that we appreciate it, and you, and I thank you, you are a doll xxx

lovekaren

 
At 7/29/2009 08:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about mp3s of those blu ray downloads? Good conversation going on over at the rust list about that. Opionions?

 
At 7/29/2009 11:31:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if ya wanna hear the Air moving from Neil's lungs out thru his Nose or Mouth, get the BD...MY hearing is fairly shot...so MP3s will work for me...picking and choosing is what iTunes is for

asg

 
At 7/30/2009 07:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, does anyone know if there are any photos of David Briggs anywhere in Archives 1?

if not, that would seem to be a GIANT omission.

 
At 7/30/2009 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Mr. Anon,

If you have an issue with our Comments Policy at Thrasher's Wheat this is not the place to debate. Readers of this thread have better things to do than wade thru your inanity and emotional insecurity.

You can discuss the policy here. We'll be glad to engage you in debate.

peace.

ps - how's your review coming? And have you registered a blogger ID yet as you promised? We're still waiting.

 
At 7/30/2009 11:47:00 AM, Blogger karen said...

mp3 downloads? of the ARCHIVES? wha? who would ever want that? that's craazzzy.
lovekaren
just kidding folks. i have to confess that i did actually, um, forget to download the mp3's for a loooong time after i got the archives, haha, that's kind of funny given that I HAD TO HAVE THEM. hold your commentary, archives guy! ; ) but for what it's worth, here's my (non-audiophile) view of them. they're fine (tech talk!). but ... they're not a replacement for THE BOX. for me, they just serve as a convenient way to get to know the archives tracks more intimately. i feel like i need to hear a song (or a record, in order, or the archives, in order) before i have an intimate relationship with it. so for me, having the mp3's of the ARCHIVES on my ipod is kind of like, you know, getting to know each other a little better. well. me, getting to know them. i don't think the archives are really getting to know me any better. WHAT. the end.

 
At 7/30/2009 12:14:00 PM, Blogger karen said...

whoops. typing too fast, even for me. i meant to say, above, that i need to hear a song over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over before i feel like we have an intimate relationship. the end.
lovekaren

 
At 7/30/2009 03:27:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First thing.I don't know about the rest of ya's.But ifor one got a little hot and botherd by Karen's over and over aned over again thing there.Nice.Yeah I too was hoping for some pics of the late GREAT David Briggs.Mybe in vol.2.?Archives Guy if you're still out there?Maybe you could offer us a taste of what we might be looking foward to coming out between now and NYA vol.2?FITR on BD?Toast?Trunk Show?Harvest Moon Live perhaps?Oh one can hope and dream and ponder.Can't we.Take care.
Rancho Relaxo

 
At 7/30/2009 05:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a review for you Thrasher - well, sort of. I've just copied and pasted an email that I sent to a friend about the Archives, but it sums up my feelings on the project...

My thoughts on them? Underwhelmed I guess... After all these years of anticipation, I'm in no hurry to rush out and buy them - in any format! I dare say that I'll end up picking up the DVD version, but not until I see it heavily discounted somewhere (probably Amazon?) down the track. And I expect the subsequent volumes to be better, so won't want to have an incomplete collection...

For sure there's some surprises on there, and a few things that I hadn't heard before, but they are the exception. I really like Sell Out, Slowly Burning, Everybody's Alone (had only heard the live acoustic versions), these versions of Journey Through The Past and Bad Fog Of Loneliness...and that's about it! The early stuff has some novelty value, but there's nothing great there in my opinion. And it's nice to have the Live At The Riverboat CD. But the whole package seems poorly sequenced and compiled to me - and that's disappointing considering the number of years they've put into it. It's a real mish-mash, live tracks interspersed with album tracks, a song off a Crosby album, live and studio versions of Tell Me Why and OLCBYH on the one CD, a live version of STSATR tacked onto the end of the same CD, when a similar version is included on the Massey Hall CD, a live Heart Of Gold a few songs before the studio version, but no Out On The Weekend - etc etc. And including the previously released Massey Hall & Fillmore East is just ridiculous - why not leave the 'Performance Series Archives' as just that? The whole package seems unbalanced to me...

Interesting that everyone on Thrasher’s Wheat seems so chuffed with the sound quality and the blue-ray capabilities of being able to read articles, look at timelines etc. I was always looking forward to the Archives for the music and video content – and that’s what seems to be lacking somewhat… Hopefully Volume 2 will be better?


Peter

 
At 7/31/2009 08:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrash

you ask me a question, I reply, then you Censor me. You are something else.

Neil Young used to write songs about people like you.

Tin Soldiers and Thrasher's coming!

 
At 7/31/2009 10:03:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tin Soldiers and Thrasher's comin'.....

 
At 7/31/2009 11:00:00 AM, Blogger Thrasher said...

Mr Anon @ 7/31/2009 10:03:00 AM:

Still awaiting your NYA review.

Put up or shut up.

peace,
t

 
At 7/31/2009 01:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrash
i sent you a post on this, conveniently(?) it wasn't published.

Go Figure

Please reply. I wont make the effort to write an objective review if you won't publish it.

Thrasher's Wheat....
Sponsored by Censorship

Mr. Anonymous

 
At 7/31/2009 02:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm getting you Anons mixed up. Stand up and be counted dammit!


SONY

 
At 7/31/2009 05:45:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrash, i tried to paste my review, but it was too long....go figure.

here's a small sample...


Ok, here is Mr. Anonymous' much-anticipated Archives Vol. 1 review. This review is for the BluRays version operating on a PS3.


Photos - STUNNING. Incredibly impressive, and great annotations. I really enjoyed seeing all the Buffalo Springfield stuff, particularly the Nurit Wilde shots - the one of Neil, shaded, is mesmerizing (Jimmy McDonough referred to it in Shakey, and he could't be more right). BTW, Ken Koblum is photogenic, and always smiling. Are there any photos of David Briggs? If not, that's a MAJOR omission, as he was so critical as Neil's solo career launched. Also, here's an idea - as you are watching the songs via BluRay, it'd be nice if photos popped up throughout the song, maybe a note or two about the song etc. It would make "watching" much more interesting.

The Book - AVERAGE. Could hav

 
At 5/25/2013 02:59:00 PM, Blogger Wildgift said...

Really late to this party, but I just bought Archives brand enw in bluray, and it is stunning, BUT:

I tried to download the mp3s (hey, I live in Los Angeles; my car is sorta my home) and I got a message saying:

T"he following URL is not a valid download link. Please contact the site administrator if this message has been received in error."

Any ideas as to what might be causing this? I sued 3 different browsers; same result.

Walk on....

Thanks!
Peter

 
At 12/06/2013 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where do you find the mp3 download card?

 

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