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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

7th Anniversary of Release "Time Fades Away" Petition

"It's like stashing Mona Lisa in the basement."
Petition Signature Signer #6628 by Gareth D.

Hard to believe, but it's been 5 years since we launched the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition campaign.

Since February 2005, over 135,000 visits have been logged to the TFA page and the petition has gathered over 16,000 verified signatures. (The actual count is closer to 20,000 but the petition site has had several backup failures where thousands of signatures were lost.) Over 13,000 votes have been cast for favorite song on album.

Here's the vote breakdown:

Don't Be Denied - 25.9%
Last Dance - 22.8%
Journey Through the Past - 11.5%

So why does any of this really matter?

Well, for one thing, recent news indicates that there is a possibility that the original TFA may NEVER be re-released at all. From an interview in Guitar World, Young discusses The Archives Vol.#2 which will include Time Fades Away II. TFA#2 is an alternate version from the tour's second half.
"YOUNG: One thing I'll tell you about the next volume of Archives is that Time Fades Away II is in there. And it's interesting because the whole thing has a different drummer than what was on that album. I switched drummers halfway through the tour- Kenny Buttrey was in there for the first half, and Johnny Barbata came in for the second. It's a completely different thing, with completely different songs. So that's interesting. There's lots of stuff like that that I'm working on right now for the second volume."

Again, why does this matter?

It's been called the "missing link" of the "Ditch Trilogy".

Neil Young's 1973 Time Fades Away is one of the most remarkable live albums ever recorded. Certainly at the time of release, it was almost unprecedented for an artist to release a live concert recording of previously unreleased material. Long out of print on vinyl, still unavailable on CD in the early 21st century and widely bootlegged, the album is considered to be the "Holy Grail" of all Neil Young albums.

In an effort to gain wider distribution of this essential Neil Young recording, fans have started a petition requesting that the album be officially released. Those interested in obtaining a legal copy of Time Fades Away are urged to sign the petition today.

In 2003, it seemed that an official release was near when four of the "Missing 6" Neil Young albums surfaced. (On The Beach, one of the four albums released after a long hiatus, was also the subject of a fan's petition drive which would eventually gather over 5,000 signatures from the Neil Young Internet fan community Rust and Human Highway.)

Time Fades Away was recorded directly from the soundboard to 16-track using the Quad-8 CompuMix, the unreliable first digital mixing soundboard—against the wishes of producer David Briggs, who referred to it as the "Compufuck" but was forced to yield to the desires of Young. This resulted in a murky-sounding release. Because no two-track stereo master tape was ever made as would commonly be done, the album cannot be remastered in a traditional manner. If any new release was to be attempted, a new mix would need to be made from the original multitrack tapes.

(Thanks Peter!)

A comment by Greg M (A Friend Of Yours):

I agree with all the reasons stated for releasing and revering the album, but my guess is that there must be something personal beyond what has ever been revealed about that tour and album that causes Neil to short shrift it. Must be something big given it's the only album left unrepresented on Decade- The Bridge at the very least was worthy of being included.

I always thought it was just too painful because of Danny Whitten's 11th hour death preceding the tour. There is also the money disputes that went on, but I think we're grasping at straws, Neil has his reasons is all. The Detroit leg of the tour was the first concert I ever went to, and it was a great experience, especially the first half acoustic set. When the whole band appeared for the electric second half there was a discernible disconnect between band members, no interaction, very removed. It probably didn't help that they partook during intermission- I'm assuming.

The only song that stands out in my mind is Don't Be Denied, and a very lethargic Alabama with Neil playing the Wing guitar. I also think that it is totally in the spirit of Archives to get an alternative version. In the meantime, we can only speculate so much. Hopefully if we ever see TFA II, Neil will fill us in a little more on the details, but only if it's not excruciatingly personal.

Greg M (A Friend Of Yours)

A comment by andrea1bianco:
I've read in some publications that several songs were recorded at the A & M studios by Henry Lewis and during the TFA rehearsals at The Broken Arrow Ranch. Look Out Joe, later released on TTN, comes from these sessions. Some songs, unreleased yet, could have been recorded. I mean Goodbye Christians On The Shore, Come Along And Say You Will, Letter from 'Nam. Nothing officially confirmed, but speculations of some studio recordings during the TFA timeframe exist.

A Rust comment by Jules:
From Decade liner notes:
"Time Fades Away. No songs from this album are included here. It was recorded on my biggest tour ever, 65 shows in 90 days.
Money hassles among everyone concerned ruined this tour and record for me but I released it anyway so you folks could see what could happen if you lose it for a while.

I was becoming more interested in an audio verite approach than satisfying the public demands for a repetition of Harvest.

So if you haven't done so already, go and sign the petition!

And if you have signed, then please re-tweet, share, forward, etc.

More on the history and background of Release "Time Fades Away" Petition.


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At 2/29/2012 02:35:00 PM, Anonymous LRR said...

Thare's no master tape...blah, blah, blah...

If Neil can do a "needle drop" recording of his favorite Mr. Soul version for the Archives, surely he could do the same for Time Fades Away.

Neil must really hate it...

One could only hope that the songs from TFA, not already released on the Archives, get mixed from the multi-tracks and get presented on the Archives V2.

At 2/29/2012 03:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Obtain a legal copy"

The HDCD bootleg is incredibly easy to get, so until Neil decides to put it up for sale(he won't), that's my legal copy.

At 2/29/2012 03:46:00 PM, Blogger Raincheck said...

The HDCD boot sounds pretty good to me. It could be released tomorrow. It should be. There is a lot to love on Time Fades Away, even if Neil doesn't think so. But it is his work, and his right to manage it as he sees fit.

Since I have a download of that, I'm glad Archives 2 will have an "alternate" version. More new music!

At 2/29/2012 03:47:00 PM, Blogger Raincheck said...

WHEN is Archives 2 expected? It should be a great collection, and I am getting impatient!

At 2/29/2012 04:43:00 PM, Blogger Hawk said...

Is this album valuable? I found a used copy at a local record shop for $10.00. Not that I would ever sell it, but I didn't realize it was that hard to obtain (legally).

At 2/29/2012 11:09:00 PM, Blogger mark said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/01/2012 08:05:00 AM, Blogger SONY said...

Glad to be part of the 5.6%!
Yonder Stands the Sinner knocked me over the first time I heard it and still does. I always appreciate the'unorthadox' layouts Neil puts together, that one certainly shines for me.

At 3/01/2012 08:09:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For me, "Yonder..........." ranks as Neils' worst song of the 1970's !

At 3/01/2012 12:16:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/01/2012 12:18:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

I love this album, so it's hard to pick a favorite, but I'd have to go with something from my “quiet triumvirate” (a term I just made up)- The Bridge, Love In Mind or Journey Trough The Past. The album is so hard driving, that by the time these three came along they always gave me a much needed chance to breathe a little. And they're so beautiful and poignant (“I will stay with you, if you’ll stay with me, said the fiddler to the drum”). But, if pressed I'd have to say The Bridge.

On the contrary, and it's really uncomfortable for me to talk like this, but I'd have to put Yonder Stands The Sinner at or very near the bottom of all of Neil's songs for me. Yeah, it has its moments, but ah, no, it just doesn't work for me. But it's a small price to pay for an incredible album.

BTW, it’s been mentioned here before, but I think it needs to be reiterated- can anyone think of another album or project that took such a risk in terms of its release following on the heels of a number one album? The uniqueness of a live album of previously unreleased material has already been mentioned too, and live albums are always a little rough, but unvarnished in all the ways TFA is? I mean, I'm sure Neil didn't set out with this decision in mind, but when push came to shove he took a huge risk in his determination to be honest about what had just happened. I can't think of a similar comparison. And if Neil's penchant for willfulness was ever in doubt up until this point, TFA marks the first unambiguous sign of what was to come, not to mention how clear a statement it made in staking out the claim that the art and the artist are more important than the audience, or at the very least are the more crucial determining point in the whole process. It's easy to say now how great an album this is, but when it first came out, trust me, the term great was not being thrown around by anyone. Really interesting stuff, surrounding a really interesting album- and on top of the whole mystery of Neil's stance toward it.

A Friend Of Yours

At 3/01/2012 02:54:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

I think that Elliot Mazer produced TFA, not David Briggs.

Anyway, there's not original master for the Cd mastering.Or Neil gets the master from the acetate or other copies, as he has done other times for the Archives, or gets new mixes from the original multitracks reels, with a different sound from the original TFA.
So Tired.

At 3/01/2012 03:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...disappointment hurts!

At 3/01/2012 04:44:00 PM, Blogger Raincheck said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/01/2012 04:46:00 PM, Blogger Raincheck said...

Following up on Greg Manho's comment:

Love in Mind here is just an achingly beautiful thing. It's nice on Massey Hall, but this is the real thing. Ends so beautifully and too soon.

And Don't Be Denied is a pure classic.

Sinner? It is what it is but I like it. Passion. I would put a lot of 70s stuff below it. Without any thought - Vampire Blues. Motorcycle Mama. 1/3 of Stars and Bars.

At 3/01/2012 08:41:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Yonder is a destination with no map, how'd he get there, how'd he get back. He ended up there out of pure emotional distress, to me anyway, and like a round of genufelcting to he old white porcelin throne, out it came in it's glorius polluted splender. Not necessarily a rosie endevour, but a catharsis of jettisoning a type of burden felt but not defined or understood. The passion is an accurate description. Few if any other songs he has done make me react like that one. DO you not love the ugly baby when he's yours?

At 3/01/2012 10:33:00 PM, Blogger Greg Mantho said...

Passion. I'll have to listen to Yonder a few times from this perspective, and Neil did include it, so there must be something there. Wouldn't be the first time I missed a salient point. But it's all in the eye of the beholder, isn't it? I loved the seventies stuff, and to me Stars In Bars is a deceptively strong album, but I can see where people are coming from. I don't think they're wrong about any of it, they just didn't like it. Lucky Neil put it all out there tho, because there sure is a lot of grist for the mill, isn't there?

Its part of what drives Neil I think, to put it out there and let it mean whatever it means to the next person who hears it. It becomes the ultimate fish tale, bearing little resemblance to what it started out being in the beginning. It all came out of Neil’s experience, and through the prism of his artistic and emotional lenses. I don’t think we're supposed to get what it means to him, or to the next guy. We're supposed to get what it means to us. Still, it’s fascinating to get a different take on things, it makes me think. Yonder clanked with me, but now I’m curious all over again.

A Friend Of Yours

At 3/02/2012 10:01:00 AM, Anonymous LostDog said...

My trip with Young has been going on for just over 20 years now: effectively since I became aware of his existence, thanks to a friend whose music tastes back then were far better than mine.

Today, I'm only an almost-completist: there are a few albums I don't own if they double up what's already out there (Lucky Thirteen, pass), and of the bootlegs from Dimeadozen etc. I favour the ones with good sound, generally eschew audience video recordings, and leave more recordings than I download. Completism for someone who has had almost every concert since 1970 bootlegged (if not true, it sure feels like it) would be a tough row to hoe, although clearly there are people out there who do it, just as there are Deadheads who want all of it, all of it.

Anyway, for me, that's a step too far, because I don't want it just sitting on a hard drive, I want to burn each concert off to CD - which usually means two CDs per show - and then it starts to be work, gotta label those things and then store them in, it's too much and so I try to go for some of the highlights. But still, I've probably got over a hundred concert recordings there.

Anyway, there are gaps in my collection of the official output, but one thing I felt is part of the journey with NY, if you're serious, is you've got to spread yourself across formats a bit. You're going to need some vinyl (not forgetting singles), some CDs, and if you want a lot of the video material (I do), one video format won't cut it. What've we got: some things that were only on VHS, I think, quite a few that are still only on VHS and laser but never made it to DVD, some things that haven't been released at all yet (Trunk Show!) and some things that are on DVD only (Deja Vu.)

We could all get some petitions going to bring the entire catalogue up to date, but don't hold your breath for success...

I ended up wanting to own NY albums in the best available format, so that meant grabbing the DVD-Audio releases, the 200g vinyl, and where none of those were available, then settle for the CD. Plus any beat up old vinyl I could find, just because it's cool to have some beat up old vinyl. I confess to owning some of those albums in just about every conceivable format except 8-track (yes, including open reel).

I got into laserdisc a few years ago specifically to get hold of the excellent Weld, and managed to pick up the also excellent Complex Sessions shortly after that, and most of the other things that were put out on Laserdisc. I guess I'd prefer 'em on Bluray, but as they never even made it to DVD, if it comes it probably won't be any time soon. What kind of cat can have a blitzkrieg of a concert movie like Weld ON THE FUCKING SHELF? Someone with a seriously impressive back catalogue, that's who.

So Time Fades Away is just another of those things that fell through the cracks. But it's available, on vinyl, and that's a great way to listen to it.

I mean it kids, Uncle Neil makes you a multiformat guy, and if you don't like that, you'll just have to get by on those CDs that are available. That's still a fair wedge of albums though. (And don't forget Eldorado.)

At 3/02/2012 12:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great story LostDog!
Looks like there's another one coming for your collection on RecordStoreDay 2012: The Mynah Birds - It's My Time b/w Go On and Cry.

At 3/02/2012 11:44:00 PM, Anonymous Mother Nature on the Run said...

There are certain albums that can only be taken for a spin. "Time Fades Away" is one.

At 3/03/2012 10:54:00 PM, Blogger Kimball said...

Maybe it SHOULD only be taken for a spin, but its certainly possible for it to be your daily driver, at least til you break down, cuz the record won't be the one the let up.

At 3/17/2012 08:23:00 PM, Blogger misfit said...

Buy a turntable... Neil sounds better on old vinyl anyway. There are many copies available on ebay and sometimes at your local record store.


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