PREVIEW REVIEW: Neil Young, "Live At The Cellar Door" - Uncut
"Live At The Cellar Door"
Neil Young Solo
Here's an early preview review of Neil Young's upcoming release "Live At The Cellar Door" from Uncut.co.uk by John Mulvey: (Thanks Daniel!)
“I’ve been playing piano seriously for about a year,” he says before “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong”, “and I had it put in my contract that I would only play on a nine foot Steinway grand piano, just for a little eccentricity.” As he’s talking, Young is messing about with the piano strings, an apparently aimless fidgeting that, as he starts talking about getting high, reveals itself to be a kind of theatrically disorienting scene-setting.Also, Uncut will be releasing a Neil Young edition of the Ultimate Music Guide.
Abruptly, the discordance stops and a beautiful version of “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong” emerges, with all its elegiac power intact. One of the great pleasures of “Live At The Cellar Door” is the way it illustrates how malleable Young’s songs can be. “Cinnamon Girl”, for instance, is hardly diminished by that lunging riff being replaced by a quasi-baroque flurry of notes. Listen out, especially, for a powerful moment when Young sings “Loves to dance/Loves to…” and allows himself to be overwhelmed as his playing suddenly shifts from tenderness to a new bluesy intensity. “That’s the first time I ever did that one on the piano,” he notes at the death, and I’m not sure he’s done it again many times since.
Best of all is the version of “Expecting To Fly”. The take on “Sugar Mountain - Live at Canterbury House 1968” shows how Young’s ornate studio confection could be potently reconfigured in a solo context. This piano study, though, is even better; crashing, plangent notes juxtaposed, with disingenuous artlessness, up against the fragility of his voice. Here, too, there’s an intimation of what is to come next, in 1971, as “Expecting To Fly”’s evolves to contain hints of “A Man Needs A Maid”. As is the case so often, it shows Young working over his past to find a lead to pursue into the future.
Uncut.co.uk's John Mulvey writes:
At 68, Young remains more restless, unpredictable and hyper-productive than any other artist of a comparable age and reputation.As we sometimes joke, "That Neil -- such a slacker."
Since 2000, The Rolling Stones have released one new album, while Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney have managed five each. Bruce Springsteen has produced six; Tom Waits, four; Leonard Cohen and David Bowie three apiece. In that time, Young has come up with an autobiography, seven personally-curated archive releases, five films, an environmentally-friendly car and a new audio format, plus the small matter of ten new albums.
It is an eccentric, if not always magnanimously received, body of work that tells the tale of an artist driven to spontaneous creation, whim, rough-hewn experiments and rapid emotional responses that pay little heed to the expectations of his paymasters and, sometimes, his fans.
Labels: neil young