Finally! Time Fades Away About to be Re-released
At long last, we can finally retire the Time Fades Away re-release petition!
This news is a fairly major deal here at Thrasher's Wheat as we await the appointed moment on Record Store Day's "Black Friday", November 28th. Warner Bros. Records will -- at long last -- make available Time Fades Away in the upcoming Neil Young Vinyl Box Set.
It's very hard for us to believe, but it's been over 9 years since we launched the Release "Time Fades Away" Petition campaign.
Since February 2005, nearly 150,000 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.
"It's like stashing Mona Lisa in the basement."
Petition Signature Signer #6628 by Gareth D.
Neil Young: Official Release Series Discs 5-8 Vinyl Box Set is a 4-LP, 180-gram black vinyl in reproduction jackets housed in telescoping box with a limited pressing of 3,500.
The limited-edition box set includes the long out of print 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.
So why does any of this really matter?
Well, for one thing, news in 2012 indicated that there was a possibility that the original TFA would 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.
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.