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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Researching Neil Young's Canterbury House Recordings

"Sugar Mountain - Live At The Canterbury House 1968"
Neil Young Archives Performance Series, Vol. 00

Neil Young's Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House 1968 from The Archives Vol. 00, is a recording of solo concerts at Canterbury House in Ann Arbor, MI on November 9 and 10, 1968.

From a recent comment by Jim McKelvey on the post 1969 Neil Young Interview: Alone at the Microphone | CBC Archives:
Interesting to link to the Sugar Mountain "set list" website to see his solo career live started in Oct. of 1968. When he mentioned the Springfield ended in May of 1968 I got curious about the live shows he did afterward solo. The "Live At The Canterbury House" first run was, I guess, his 9th date as a solo performer which is sort of background to the first part of the interview. Do wish we could compare the two Canterbury House runs given the difference in the material and maybe that will happen with the archives when it goes paid.

The Canterbury House usually booked performers for three nights and two shows each night which I'm sure had to do with the meeting the rock bottom price for the performer to play such a small facility.

This interview appears to have taken place after the six date solo run at the Riverboat in Toronto and was the day before the "possible" debut live of Crazy Horse at the Bitter End in New York on the 12th.

Did step in a can of worms when I went to Ann Arbor to check out the archives of the Canterbury House. It was rather heady to be a "researcher" and talk to the archivists there but must say the Neil Young folder was lacking. Others folders had flyers, original contracts, phone call notes and everything. The folders for Joni Mitchell, Doc Watson, John Fahey, Norman Blake, Little Feat and what not were kind of bursting with information and original written material about the shows including national and local review.

The Bentley Historical Archive was not too happy they didn't get all the archives from the Canterbury House when I was there.

Sadly, someone pulled many of the tapes of the Canterbury House before they got to the U Of M archive at the Bentley Historical Archive near the V.A. in Ann Arbor but they were digitized by the Michigan Music Project who is shopping them for release. If someone interviews Elliott anytime soon it would be interesting to get his side of what is going on with the Canterbury Tapes of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell. Can't remember but there are maybe twelve live shows by Joni over the course of two different three night stands there so plenty of time to get really comfortable in that setting.

Did speak on the phone with the recording engineer who digitized the Canterbury House tapes briefly as he was at an airport returning from Europe but he did go on a bit on how good they sounded. As good or better than the Canterbury House recording that has been released.

Have shared this before here but if anyone is doing research this is a good tip!

Bentley Historical Archive link:

Michigan History Project link:

Here is an interview with Scott Young, Neil's father, who I guess you could say was an acquaintance of mine when I was writing about music in Michigan. We'd sit together at shows in the press seats (5th row on the aisle usually) and we sent some letters back and forth over the years. A couple of the Neil Young shows we attended together ended up in "Neil & Me" in which I got a mention.
Thanks so much for sharing the research Jim!

Great stuff and we eagerly await additional reports from The Archives. It's also interesting that Bentley is now a regularly featured writer on NYA T-C. He's shared some great stories with lots more to come from the looks of it.

"Sugar Mountain - Live At The Canterbury House 1968"
Neil Young Archives Performance Series, Vol. 00 (Back Cover)

More on Neil Young Archives - Vol. #1.

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At 11/26/2018 07:54:00 PM, Blogger Jim said...

Just to be clear, I was sort of checking the Bentley out as I need to have my written published archives somewhere. Was sort of flippant in my comment above that I want to clarify. It was my first time doing official research, that is true, but it was partly on Neil Young and partly on how to deal with my 160 published works in the Ypsilanti Press, weekly Variety in NYC, Detroit Free Press, Metro Detroit and the Face in London all on music in the surrounding area around Ann Arbor.

Also donated some soundboards I'd been given by Nanci Griffith, three by Richard Thompson and one of the last shows by Steve Goodman for their Ark Coffeehouse collection. Think I left another set with Anya at the Ark Coffeehouse office.

After I finish a book I've started on a sort of real life "mythical mountain" in North Carolina that will include a heaping helping of the Nunne'hi I'm going to circle back and complete a book on my reviews and interviews from 1979 to 1992 that were published. About fell off my chair when the "Outlander" series I was watching with my wife last week had a Nunne'hi story line. Could see it telegraphed before it happened and was so shocked when it did.

Did take about 150 photos of the material at the Bentley but you have to sign a release that I haven't returned to display them.

So would have liked to have heard one of the three "solo" renditions of "Country Girl" from Deja Vu done at the Canterbury House before it was recorded weeks later for the LP. It was done on the second round of shows at the Canterbury House in 1969 but it wasn't to be for that trip.


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