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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Archives Comment of the Moment: Soldier, My Ears


The Archives Comment of the Moment is from NYA Review by D.I. Kertis:
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.

Thanks D.I.!

More commentary on The Neil Young Archives.


At 8/23/2009 11:43:00 PM, Blogger D.I. Kertis said...

You're welcome!

At 8/24/2009 07:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're an Archives FanBoy, Thrash will publish your comments. If you have a dissenting opinion, Thrash will censure you.

That about sums it up.

Hip-hip hooray!

Archives FanBoy

At 8/24/2009 12:06:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Archives FanBoy,

Just a friendly little reminder - This Is Not For You.


At 8/24/2009 02:16:00 PM, Anonymous SONY said...

Censored by Nobody!

At 8/24/2009 05:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the DVD version, too, and I am blown away as well. As far as the cleaned-up version of "Soldier" goes, I always liked the atmosphere the sawdust burner provided since it sounded like a campfire and was disappointed those parts were removed. While it's nice to have a clearer version, I'll take the original mix. I guess that's what vinyl is for.
FD Roadrunner

At 8/24/2009 07:32:00 PM, Blogger D.I. Kertis said...

In reference to a previous to a previous comment, I'd like to ask-- when did we start issuing labels rather than respecting the validity of others' opinions, even when we disagree? When did we start calling each other "fanboys"--or "bashers" for that matter--instead of respecting everyone's fundamental rights to his or her views?

I am a fan of Neil Young and have been enjoying Archives 1 immensely over the last couple of months. I know I'm not the only one. Would people such as Anonymous above all of us as "fanboys" simply because we disagree with him and happen to enjoy a product Neil has released more than he does? It is both disturbing and maddening to think that there are people in existence whose minds are relegated to this type of black and white thinking.

Additionally, there is criticism of Archives 1 in plain sight on the Thoughts and Commentary forum. So don't try to tell me there's any censorship going on. In Anonymous' case, last I checked, his brief review of Archives 1 was still at the bottom of the Archives 1 review page as the last comment added at the end of July. If you think anyone in censoring anyone on here, frankly, I have to say I feel that's pure bull****. If Thrasher, the forum auditor, feels a comment is off-topic or otherwise frivolous or offensive to the board, it will be removed. That's not censorship, it's keeping the boards free of idiocy, redundancy, and trolling. And again, I have seen numerous critical comments of Archives and other Neil Young releases on here that Thrasher apparently feels don't fit this description or else they would have been removed.

So, to recap-- A) I've had it up to here with the labeling on both sides. Whether you're calling someone "fanboy" or "basher", why can't we just accept that not everyone agrees and we're all entitled to our opinions? And B) Censorship on Thrasher's Wheat=utterly nonexistent.

Please take the time to think before responding...

At 8/24/2009 08:20:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I just want to say . . . It's not Neil-bashing to bring up legitimate arguments about the Archives, like Neil leaving one song off of an album that would be re-release a few months later. I love Neil, and have for 20+ years, but the Archives is not perfect, and that's a fact. Thrasher and others would do better to respect good arguments against the archives rather than basically say those who aren't 100% happy with it are crazy.

At 8/24/2009 08:24:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thasher would do better to respect dissenting opinions about the Archives. I love Neil, and have for 20+ years, but the Archives is anything but perfect. There are a lot of good arguments about its flaws. This site is unethically censored.


At 8/24/2009 09:34:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...


As always, thanks for your thoughts.

Yes, it all does seem rather strange at times.

Folks like Fanboy & Wayne are just looking to stir things up.

We've been dealing with them since Greendale and then LWW. Then FITR.

Now with NYA, Neil's career capstone where some would like to gripe about trivial things like their discs fitting too tightly into the case. As opposed to focusing on the music and the joys of a full length Soldier such as yourself in the above post.

You know the music matters. And because sound matters, we like to try and enjoy it for what it is.

But it is rather sad.

So we do delete comments. No doubt about it. It's all laid out in the Comments Policy.

We're always more than willing to listen to a dissenting opinion. But when Wayne says this site is "unethically censored", he clearly doesn't understand the basic definition of censorship. Much less the prevailing operation of blog comments.

Let's face the facts.

We all have a lot to do in life.

We do this for fun. We choose not to agonize over whether to allow snarky, unenlightening, taunting comments or delete them.

The angry, incoherent 4% Club is incapable of properly framing an argument and marshalling facts. They mean nothing to us and are irrelevant.

It's summer. We're going to pop a cold one and chill.


At 8/25/2009 12:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Thrash - do you have any critical commentary on the Archives? Is there anything about it that you wish was done better?

For me, i wish there was more actual unreleased material. Neil has it from the Vol 1 period, and he hasn't delivered it.

I'm hopeful BluRay gets a kick-start, off of life-support, and the format lives up to the hype Archives Guy built around it.

So far.....a DUD!

At 8/25/2009 02:42:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

(I posted this comment last night, and don't see it yet. Is this due to my inept computer skills, or did the comment not conform with the Comments Policy? I admit the comment is a little snarky, and not mostly related to the subject of Soldier. Just curious. )

Thrasher, I am no ethics expert, and am totally an advocate for freedom of speech, but after a while it is just self evident when someone is being negative for the sake of being negative- or more precisely, trying to goad sincere minded people down dead end negative roads, because they just can't handle something opposed to their own dim witted sensibility.

I don't know where the line is, but like another dim witted congressional "neck tie person", faced with his inability to define pornography- and proving that even a broken clock is right twice a day- I don't know what it is, but I know it when I see it. Trolls are trolls, and they deserve no respect.

Having said all this, Archives- which I have yet to hear due to my financial extremity, was proffered as a warts and all compilation. Was it ever going to please everyone? Can everything be included save a simple unedited “it got recorded, here it is” 103+ CD approach? Come on. I rest, as always, with Neil’s judgment, and for the purposes of this comment, the prescient sentiments of Tears For Fears: "Time to eat all your words, swallow your pride, open your eyes."

Oh, and I can’t wait to hear Soldier again, with enhanced sound quality. I’m sure it make’s my case for skipping the version callously shoved down our throats on the otherwise mostly awesome Decade…

At 8/25/2009 03:10:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Thanks Greg M (A Friend Of Yours).

A comment of your did post last night on the Eddie & Uncle Neil thread so not sure about this thread? You didn't get deleted.

But your point is right on.

There is a definite pattern of whining. Specifically on BD Live.

Day after day, where's my BD Live?

It's quite old and serves no purpose. The issue has been addressed. Obviously, some are hyper impatient. Any Neil fan that operates in that mode must be severely challenged.

Someone complained about how NYA wasn't perfect?! Not sure where that expectation came from??

Again, thanks for the support & understanding.

It is appreciated & helps us carry on.


At 8/25/2009 03:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thrash -

where has the issue of BD Live been addressed? Where and by whom?

It was addressed when Archives Guy was pumping it up and up....and still we wait, more than two months later, and there have been but two updates.

If it's been addressed....can you let me know where? In all honesty, I musta missed something.

That's a reasonable request, right?

I love the Archives, yet am disappointed with the lack of BD releases thus far.

Does that make me a hater?
i dont' think so.



At 8/25/2009 04:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is acceptable and even good to censure-much like an editor editing-as long as it is not the government doing the censuring. So if your nose gets out of joint because Thrasher didn't post your precious words, then maybe you should get your own blog.

At 8/25/2009 06:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Someone complained about how NYA wasn't perfect?! Not sure where that expectation came from??"

Probably from your over the top positive review!

At 8/25/2009 09:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Archives will be better in Vol 2.

Vol 1? Eh!

At 8/26/2009 06:23:00 PM, Blogger D.I. Kertis said...

In response to Mr. Anonymous,

I found Thrahser's review quite thoughtful, accurate to many of my feelings about Archives 1, eloquent and articulate. It may not pertain to you, but that does not make it"over the top." That simply means it does not pertain to you.

At 8/27/2009 01:32:00 AM, Blogger D.I. Kertis said...

This is a bit removed from the subject of Soldier, but this thread--like so many--had already veered off into discussions on trolls and supposed censorship, so I figure this won't hurt and may even steer the discussion away from its current murky waters:

The more I think about it, the more I feel that Archives 1 puts even the most well-known previously unreleased tracks in a new context by presenting them along with all of the memorabilia and archival material that goes with them with this giant anthology of his work from this time period. One can now see each song, previously released or not, in relation to Neil's entire body of work, not just as a song in and of itself or even as part of a specific album released at a particular time. That's one of the things a retrospective release can be most valuable for--gaining that new perspective of both the art and the artist. Sometimes retrospectives are done as much for the artist as for the fan. The artist, too, likest to gather his work together and see for himself what he as accomplished so far at times. And I think this might be one such case. I know Neil has talked about the Archives as being something he needs to do for himself as well as his fans. ( I do say "needs", not "needed", lest we forget that what we have so far is only volume one and three or four more --even old Bernard Shakey isn't quite sure--are in the works.) But then I suspect all of Neil's releases are as much for himself as they are for us. Probably more, as a matter of fact.

It will be interesting to see what the future Archives volumes bring, and also how Neil will deal with the issue of not being able to archive everything simply because his career is still very much in motion. How far will the proposed 4-5 box sets go in terms of chronology? Where will he stop? I guess that depends how far he gets before finishing them all. In the meantime, though, we're safely in the realm of the past. Getting the next couple of Archives sets out should be plain sailing as long as it doesn't take too long.

At 8/27/2009 09:40:00 PM, Anonymous AK said...

i love how thrasher hides behind his comments policy. as if that means anything. fuck your policy.

and fuck you thrasher. you are a fraud.

and you know I always sign my name.

regarding the archives, my friend got a copy off a blog. i'm not paying for it. not at it's current price or even the $174 i could have bought the blu-ray for off deep discount.

At 8/28/2009 09:17:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...


Good to see you.

It's been awhile since you graced us with your presence.

I love you too man.



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