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Thursday, June 04, 2020

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young Official Bootleg Series Announced | NYA

"I’m So Happy That Y’all Came Down"
Neil Young: Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles - February 1st, 1971

Last week, Neil Young provided more details on plans to release vintage bootleg recordings with improved sound and original art.

Posting images of front and back of the widely bootlegged "I’m So Happy That Y’all Came Down" of the solo acoustic Neil Young concert at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles on February 1st, 1971, Neil writes on NYA that he wants to release Official Bootlegs with "better sound from our masters".

In reaction to the announcement, the Comment of the Moment from the intrepid Scotsman who said:
I'm sure yet more early-seventies solo acoustic performances will be the popular option; but I would like to hear the complete Jones Beach 1988 tape, from the same audio source as used on Bluenote Cafe.

And I'd like to hear Nurburgring 2002, a fantastic live performance with Poncho and the MGs that would be superseded in quality by the lossless master tape in the Archives.

But more than that, I'd like to hear more of the great shows that WEREN'T already bootlegged. Using cleaned-up soundboard tapes (with some added reverb to simulate the venue ambience, when necessary) or multi-tracks from the Archives.

Pier 84 from 1988. Pier 84 from 1985. Rotterdam 1989. The Weld Series from the multi-tracks. Concord 1993. Nurnberg 2002. Etc etc etc etc etc. There are literally hundreds of examples.

And of course, although the bootlegs are more well known, many of the most thrilling shows were not widely bootlegged. They exist as fun-sounding audience recordings. But Neil might as well release some of them himself from better-sounding tapes.

And no, I don't think it should all be about EXTREME audio quality. I'm fed up with this. No, Neil can't hear audio frequencies above 20khz, and you can't, either.

Yes, audio quality IS very important. I agree with this. I am an enthusiast about it myself. But like most things, taking it to its logical extreme doesn't often improve the experience. And it also excludes so much of the great live music recorded during the David Briggs era.

In other words, many of the live tapes are "only" in CD quality (and many of Neil's best albums are in fact "only" in CD quality). And thankfully, that is just fine. It is low-bitrate or poorly encoded mp3s that you have to worry about, and Neil is bang on the money in this respect.

So I do appreciate the desire to present the best quality experience. But there's also the very real and present danger that you will devolve into that mysterious breed of creature known as "the audiophile". You have been warned.

Anyway, careening back on topic. Neil has made so much of his most exciting music on the live stage, much of it taped in very usable quality, and there is simply too much of it to release as part of the semi-mainstream Performance Series. I think MANY of the existing live tapes deserve to be released, maybe as a classily-presented download option for a small price each (or as part of a second tier subscription). This is something that wouldn't have been feasible in the past, but certainly is now.

What's the alternative? To keep that great complete soundboard of Catalyst 1996 tucked away on the shelf until anyone who would enjoy hearing it is dead? We already know it sounds great, becuase we heard excerpts from it on Year Of The Horse.

I think there is a passionate niche market for this sort of stuff, and it would be unfortunate to waste the opportunity. Especially when live music is off the agenda for a while.

So starting with pre-existing bootlegs and upgrading the tapes from the Archives would be a very welcome idea, I'm excited about this, but I hope Neil and Warner are both enthusiastic and ambitious about releasing some more live shows via an online store: including those that weren't "officially" bootlegged. I think there really is a lot of potential and a lot of great live recordings that want to be heard.

As we mentioned, thanks for the in depth comment. As always Scotsman,your insightful contributions -- once again demonstrate that Neil fans/rusties are some of the most knowledgeable and articulate music fans out there. So glad you can stop by to visit and share.

Yet another worthy Neil announcement, although we're very curious as to where Elliot Roberts would have stood on this issue.

There are so many concerts worthy of "Official Bootleg Series", especially those that were never even actually bootlegged. Bottom Line 1974, Jones Beach 1989, would be nice.

Another comment by NYBD11-12 with a bunch of great suggestions:
I agree that "Glad y'all..." should not be one of he first bootleg releases because the track list and performances are very similar to Massey Hall. I agree that the 1974 Bottom Line show would be a good one to release -- nearly all of the songs were unreleased at the time (many from ONTB) The challenge with the Bottom Line show is that the existing bootleg sounds like it was an (intimate) audience recording.

My selection criteria is based on historical heft, and shows with many unreleased (at the time) songs.

The Boarding House '78 World Tour would be a great one to release. It had many of the first live versions of Comes a Time and Rust Never Sleeps songs. I would also like to hear a cleaned up version of the Neil/PJam show from 1996 (?) recorded at Golden Gate Park without Eddie Vedder, who was ill.

If the tape exists, I would like to hear the 1969 CSNY set at Celebration at Big Sur. Stills fights with a tripping audience member. I actually saw this film in a theater!

The CSNY Altamont set has historical value, but I have no idea about sound quality or song selection.

Neil did a live, solo set on KQED in 1969 that includes different versions of old standards.

The SNACK concert in SF 1975 with Neil, Dylan, Sanatana and several Band members would be a valuable addition to the cannon.

Other potential boots could come from CA Coast Bar tour 1975, but without the Crazy Horse songs since they are weak. (eg: "She's Hot" is cliche ridden boogie.) the Echo's at Princeton Landing (1996?) would be welcome.

I have most of these bootlegs. An upgrade in sound quality would enhance their enjoyment and influence.
Thanks NYBD11-12 for suggestions! Hope you share w/ NYA.

Neil Young Goes "Bootleg Record Shoplifting" - 1970/1
via NYA
(Also, see Neil Young Goes "Bootleg Record Shoplifting".)

More on Neil Young Official Bootleg Series Announced | NYA.

Neil Young Vinyl Shopping - April 16, 2011
Plan9 Music, Richmond, Virginia
Photo by Emaleigh Franzak | Plan 9 Music

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At 6/05/2020 11:10:00 AM, Blogger Art Carey said...

My bootleg of this material was titled "Young Man's Fancy." It was revelatory -- and I loved it!

("I can hardly hear ya.")


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