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Monday, March 03, 2014

Record Store Day's Neil Young Vinyl Releases: Official Release Series Discs 5-8

Neil Young Vinyl Shopping - April 16, 2011
Plan9 Music, Richmond, Virginia
Photo by Emaleigh Franzak

Good news for all those folks who have been waiting for the re-release of Neil Young's Time Fades Away! Looks like that Release "Time Fades Away" Petition we started back in 2005 finally worked -- sort of.

Time Fades Away -- currently only available on used vinyl -- will be re-released -- again on vinyl and will continue to remain only available on vinyl. No digital release for TFA still. No CD, MP3 or PONO formats are expected anytime soon.

Record Store Day, on Saturday, April 19th, will celebrate with over 1,000 independently owned record stores in the U.S. and hundreds of similar stores internationally.

Planned releases include:
Neil Young: Official Release Series Discs 5-8 Vinyl Box Set; 4-LP, 180-gram black vinyl in reproduction jackets housed in telescoping box. Limited to 3,500 units.

This limited edition box set includes the classic albums: Time Fades Away, On The Beach, Tonight's The Night and Zuma, each remastered from the original analog studio recordings at Bernie Grundman Mastering. The artwork is a historically accurate reproduction by Young's long-time art director, Gary Burden. These classics are being reissued on 180-gram audiophile vinyl for the first time and pressed at the world's premiere pressing plant, Pallas MFG Germany.

Neil Young: Four Different Classic Album Cover T-shirts

Official On The Beach T-Shirt

To coincide with this highly anticipated set of vinyl reissues, a special run of T-shirts designs featuring the cover art from Time Fades Away, On The Beach,Tonight's The Night, and Zuma is being printed.

"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 144,000 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 16,000 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.
The biography Shakey by Jimmy McDonough quotes a 1987 interview:

My least favorite record is Time Fades Away. I think it's the worst record I ever made—but as a documentary of what was happening to me, it was a great record. I was onstage and I was playing all these songs that nobody had heard before, recording them, and I didn't have the right band. It was just an uncomfortable tour. It was supposed to be this big deal—I just had Harvest out, and they booked me into ninety cities. I felt like a product, and I had this band of all-star musicians that couldn't even look at each other. It was a total joke.

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 3/03/2014 12:53:00 PM, Anonymous SD said...

AMAZING. The remasters of the first 4 albums are incredible, so I can only expect the same from these.

I'm sure we'll see them individually released later as well.

At 3/03/2014 01:27:00 PM, Blogger Eric Higgins said...

I love how in the top photo, NY is in a record store and the rack directly in front of him holds a Rick James album!

-- Eric in sunny FLA

At 3/03/2014 01:36:00 PM, Blogger BrotherWill said...

This is the most exciting news from the Neil camp in a while! I am so exciting to hear all four of these remastered for vinyl. THANK YOU, NEIL!!!

At 3/03/2014 01:56:00 PM, Blogger Jan Tesař said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 3/03/2014 02:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely archives 2 can't be far behind then.
Any news on A Letter Home yet, due for release later this month?

At 3/03/2014 02:27:00 PM, Blogger landhorses said...

Are these going to be released on CD as well?

At 3/03/2014 02:40:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

Every real Neil Young fan has already a TFA vinyl copy and a HDCD copy. I remember that the petition was for an official CD version.

At 3/03/2014 02:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a link for the t-shirts yet?

At 3/03/2014 02:49:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Answered my own question.
Scroll near the bottom of this page for images -

They look nice but I'm wondering how limited they'll be. From reading the press release, I had thought they were just going to be a regular release but it turns out they are RSD exclusive too.

At 3/03/2014 02:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just FYI, that TFA II would be from the first half of the tour, with Buttrey - the original album is from the second half, with Barbata

At 3/03/2014 03:32:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's A Beautiful Day.

At 3/03/2014 03:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like this will be the only rerelease of Time Fades Away. Limited to 3500 copies, won't be available on CD, stand alone vinyl, digital download or Pono.

At 3/03/2014 04:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Surely Neil must realize that if he doesn't release the original TFA on CD, the bootleg CD of it will continue to circulate (and become the de facto version). He may as well release it, even if the sound quality isn't up to par and even if he plans to release TFA II.


At 3/03/2014 06:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suspect these 4 titles will eventually be released individually
on vinyl. Especially in light of the upcoming Archives Vol 2. They basically did the same thing for the
first four albums around the time of
Archives vol 1.. It makes no sense to
limit the availabilty of Time fades away to 3500 copies. I suspect this
4 vinyl set will cost a pretty penny
but im also sure we will eventually see TFA as a single vinyl release

At 3/03/2014 07:58:00 PM, Anonymous SD said...

Can almost guarantee it will be released as more than a standalone set. Why would he go to the effort of remastering the 4 albums and having them cut/pressed at high quality to only have a limited release? Neil has never done this with an album before, and this is a continuation of the Official Release Series so it will obviously get a general release as well - likely individually.

If it doesn't I would be floored.

At 3/03/2014 09:45:00 PM, Blogger punkdavid said...

There seems to be a lot of speculation in this post, both in the story AND in the comments. I have not seen any official announcement listing that the four albums listed in the story are the four that will be in the box set. I ASSUME this is correct, but I've only seen the announcement of "Original Album Series 05-08". I mean, we're all assuming that Journey Through The Past will never be released?

On that note, just because Neil is starting with a vinyl-only release doesn't mean that CD releases will not be forthcoming. There were CDs for the first OAS records, it would be odd if there were not for these eventually. Of course, I'm still waiting on my Blu-rays (or other hi-def format) of those first 4 albums, which were promised but never arrived.

At 3/03/2014 10:01:00 PM, Blogger Keith said...

What about the Journey Through The Past Soundtrack? Surely that is considered an "official release" and worthy of a repress to vinyl. While Words and the proper Soldier cut were on Archives Vol. 1, it would be great to get clean audio of Alabama (not counting the audio in the movie).

At 3/04/2014 01:26:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is just the beginning, folks: "According to a publicist, there won't be a wider reissue of the (Time Fades Away) album until the second volume of the Archives box sets are released—no word on when that will be."

At 3/04/2014 01:28:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, and punkdavid, here's the official announcement:

At 3/04/2014 11:32:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I spotted the release listed on Bull Moose, including the box set image:

At 3/04/2014 11:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome cover pic. Never seen that before.

I really hope this isn't going to be too tough to get on record store day. Ordering online last time was nice and easy and allowed me to get number 104/3500. Would love to get an early number like that again.

At 3/04/2014 11:41:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't sign the petition. Keep it special. Isn't hunting and tracking down records what's collecting all about anyway? I own two copies of Time Fades Away. It isn't that hard to find and it isn't that expensive.

I do love the On the Beach t-shirt.

At 3/04/2014 01:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@punkdavid: We should consult the Tarot to see if there's a CD release coming.

At 3/04/2014 02:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first vinyl box set is
selling for $300.00 on amazon. Ill
wait for the individual releases to come out perhaps a year or so from
now rather than pay a kings ransom for this vol 5-8 boxset I can almost guaranteed these will come out as seperate vinyl releases. Having been in the music business no record comppany is going to press 3500 copies of a major title-its not cost efficient the more records pressed the lower per
cost per unit. They can say they won't be released until such and such but they will be released

At 3/04/2014 06:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They only pressed 3500 copies, of the Volume 1 box set. They're numbered. It's the best listening experience of those 4 albums that I have heard.

At 3/05/2014 07:46:00 AM, Anonymous SD said...

Anon: You're likely not paying a king's ransom. Bull Moose lists it for $160 - so $40 per album roughly, plus the box.

When they are released individually they will be right around that price. So you won't be saving much if anything.

At 3/05/2014 12:01:00 PM, Anonymous Crystal Canyons said...

I'm just going to repost this, as I was late to the game last time around:

I won't knock those reissues, probably sound great, but all of those are not too hard to find used, even On The Beach and Time Fades Away, at decent prices and condition. Vinyl was the primary format in the 70s, they made a lot of them. What would make me more excited would be vinyl reissues of 90's era albums whose value on the used market has skyrocketed, as these were made in small numbers usually in Europe only, and will set you back $50-$200 on the collectors market. I missed out the first time around, was a broke teen at the time, so I'd most like to see vinyl reissues of:
Ragged Glory
Sleeps With Angels
Dead Man
Broken Arrow
Year Of The Horse

Ragged Glory DVD/blue ray

However, I understand Neil is rolling through his chronological timeline, and the era or reissues is likely not going to get any attention until Archives 4 or 5 is running at full steam. Then again, Dreaming Man and A Treasure were released recently, both outside the timeline of Archives 2 (Well, maybe A Treasure would be inside, who knows?) I just hope we are all still alive when that era gets it's due. Really looking forward to Archives 2, maybe my Favorite Neil era, lets hope there is a ton of mindblowing unreleased stuff on there! And how about that early Crazy Horse album/box set/whatever...?


At 3/05/2014 04:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At my local independent record store they show the record store day release at $159.95 MSR

They also show a "NEW" Neil Young
being released the week of March 30th monday in the UK and tuesday
April Fools Day in the U>S.

At 3/06/2014 12:11:00 PM, Anonymous Setz said...

A "NEW" Neil album (of old cover songs) due out on April Fools. I can't be the only laughing. That Neil guy.


At 3/07/2014 12:02:00 AM, Blogger Scott LaBenne said...

I'm curious about the 'new mix' they'd need to do off the original multi-track tapes being one of the reasons for the cd issue-delay. Can't they simply compromise the original mix off those tapes? The Compu-fuck mixing board shouldn't be a factor in a re-issue, unless they are having trouble locating one. And even then...would it be necessary to re-mix the album? Any thoughts folks? I'm a bit confused by Neil's reasoning behind the technological aspect of not being able to re-master or re-mix the original tapes.


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