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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Neil Young Official Bootleg Series Announced | NYA

Neil Young Goes "Bootleg Record Shoplifting" - 1970/1
via NYA

In not entirely surprising news on Neil Young Archives, Neil Young has announced that he plans to release vintage bootleg recordings with improved sound and original art.

In the above short film from 1970/1 (that we embedded here in back in 2016, but scrubbed and now hosted on NYA), Neil Young is seen shopping in a record store and just so happens to come across his own music on bootleg albums.

The clip is from Neil Young Archives Volume #1 and is quite amusing on a number of levels. The sheer audacity of Neil essentially stealing back his own work, the non-flummoxed record store clerk trying to handle the situation, and of course that '70's vibe all make for a vintage time capsule.

When we posted on artists shoplifting their own work, we received the following comment by TOM who said:

you should be ashamed of yourself for publishing a video of Neil "following his muse" by bullying a record store clerk who obviously has no control of the Bootleg Industry, an actual legit issue.

It wasn't funny, clever or interesting;
Just Neil being a bully

Shame on NY and shame on you.
Right, shame on us for sharing an artist trying to protect his legacy.

As the surreal world becomes ever more surreal, note that Neil Young had already previously announced in 2019 that the Archives will eventually be hosting "Bootleg Albums".

While Bob Dylan unarguably holds the lead in the "official bootleg releases" category, Neil's latest move demonstrates that The Joker and The Thief remain in neck and neck in the friendly competition for singer-songwriter of the century.

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

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:
“We have ripped off all of the original art from the bootlegs.

No expense will be spared. The only difference will be the radically better sound from our masters.

“We are going full bore with our series right now, so write letters in to me with your favorite bootlegs and we will find them and use the best audio we can locate, either from the NYA vaults or somewhere else. Watch for this coming soon. We are building it starting today."
In the meantime, here's a comment on the scrubbed YouTube video (incidentally, the irony of a pirated video of pirated bootleg albums about " Official Bootlegs" is not lost on us):
But the point is that artists need to be paid for their work.

That is all this is about. Forget it’s Neil Young.

It’s very simple.

If you were an artist - musician, actor, photographer, painter, whatever - you would have no trouble comprehending the spirit of what he’s doing in this clip. This is where this notion of taking from artists started, back then. And look where it’s left us. People ripping shit off all over the internet. It’s not fair and you would understand if someone at your job said “Well Jim, sorry but we’re only gonna pay you for some of the work you did. The rest of it we’re giving out for free.” Neil was making a statement, plain and simple, and yes, you’re right, hardly any of this affected him monetarily him back then or now or will in the future.

Personally it’s a whole other story when that is your work. He’s doing it for the greater good, which is in fact pretty awesome.

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

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At 6/02/2020 05:38:00 PM, Blogger wardo said...

Much as I have a fondness for the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion show, I really hope Neil chooses other shows to kick off this series. Between Massey Hall, Young Shakespeare, and arguably Cellar Door, this period is fairly mined. Assuming it's not in Archives Volume 2, I'd like to have Bottom Line 1974 for starters.


At 6/03/2020 06:19:00 AM, Blogger Flyingscotzman 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.


At 6/03/2020 07:55:00 AM, Blogger Phil said...

I agree with Scotsman. We're not just hoping for bootlegs from 1971 or others that are sometimes incomplete shows... Although it would be better than nothing.

It would be simpler to have a site where you could download a large number of shows, even if you pay for them.

Like probably 90% of us, the CD quality is sufficient and above all, I want to listen to it in my car, transfer it to my phone for the plane, the train, or anywhere.

I would be very disappointed, for example, that Rust Bucket is only available in Blu-Ray or vinyl .

A link to the mp3 files does not suit me. I want an object, a cover where to put the cd with the classical albums, the NYAP, the NYASR, etc.


At 6/03/2020 10:51:00 AM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

I would really like to hear the Jones Beach concert(s)? I recall reading a review by Robert Christgau and being confused and then I realized what he was saying: Neil had somehow found his way back (I enjoyed many of the 80's albums, don't get me wrong, Trans is in my top 5). I always had this hope that Neil's records would be massive commercial successes and this is because I wanted people to see just how great he was in some kind of popular consensus. That was when I was young and always trying to convince people of something. Now I just want to hear the music. Imagine "Landing on Water" in the Billboard top ten, ha ha ha ha or for God's sake "Everybody's Rockin"- ha ha ha!

At 6/03/2020 12:11:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

I also agree with Scotsman on all counts. There are so many great shows that either weren’t bootlegged or audience tapes that were less than ideal listening experiences. I’m also one who prefers a physical product over a download, but these type of things are only going to appeal to a very small audience of hard core fans, so a download might be the best option from a cost / reward perspective. I will certainly appreciate the opportunity to hear anything Neil decides to make available to us, and it appears that he’s becoming more aware that his older fan base isn’t going to be around forever.

On the other side of the issue, I don’t really want Neil to have too many pots on the oven. It’s fairly easy to get distracted or consumed with too much all at once, and miss an opportunity for the muse to create something new. Although, Neil’s history shows us that hasn’t been much of a problem. Good times are coming.....

Peace 🙏

At 6/03/2020 12:30:00 PM, Blogger sab1024 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6/03/2020 12:45:00 PM, Blogger sab1024 said...

As many know a great source for live shows is sugarmegs. I feel like a kid stealing candy, but it's much more than a sugar high. And knowing Neil says "Go for it" (sugarmegs won't stream unofficial content if artist objects) I feel grateful and thankful I can hear so much live material. Like a kid, I get giddy hearing unreleased stuff like "Gateway of Love", "Get Around", "Mexico", "Kansas" and others. But I will even more thankful and giddy when he officially releases them.

At 6/03/2020 02:10:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ wardo - Bottom Line 1974 would be nice.

@ Scotsman - thanks for in depth comment. we'll probably make this a CotM and respond there.

as always, thanks for your insightful contributions -- once again demonstrating that Neil fans/rusties are some of the most knowledgeable and articulate music fans out there.

so glad you stop by to visit and share.

@ Phil - some good suggestions. NYA continues to evolve by the day.

what didn't seem to be even remotely likely a few years ago, are now dreams come true today. so we're grateful.

but we always wonder: WWED? (E=Elliott)

@ Abner - yes, Jones Beach! And video too.

@ Dan - Neil always seems to have too many pots going.

Look at this Greendale or Rust Bucket stuff coming out that's been in the can for decades, for ex.

Neil seems to not even have been aware of the Rust Bucket multi-cam. Or long forgotten most probably.

It seems they're still making discoveries in the vaults.

Not only are good times coming... we're living them ... if you know where to look tat is ...


@ sab1024 - yeah, gotta watch out for the greedy hand ... and too much sugar. :)

At 6/03/2020 02:45:00 PM, Blogger NYBD11-12 said...

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.

At 6/03/2020 04:59:00 PM, Blogger Roberto said...

The Doroty Chandler boot was the very first I got and it was not easy, think about 1977 with no Internet close at hand (can you immagine it?) .

But I would like to get some more recent and less visited.. I agree with Big Sur and I do totally share OPL . The sound quality of many 1976 show is good but an improvement would help (what about a complete live at the roman coliseum?). Then we still need a definite concert edition of 1973 shows (maybe the acustic CN&Y in 1973) .. I may keep on listing all through the night, let's wait and see.

At 6/04/2020 04:00:00 AM, Blogger simonshippey said...

I wonder how many people over the years were fooled by the track-listing of "I'm Happy ThatY'all Came Down"?! Neil singing "It's so hard to wait"! On my very first trip to the US in 1996, me and my friend found this record in a record shop on Haight Street and couldn't believe our eyes! Neil playing that beautiful slow-burning Springfield classic! Co-written with Richie, but no info as to what that meant.. The guy we stayed with had no record player so we had to wait till we got back to London a week later, where the truth was finally revealed...

Always dreamt of hearing Neil sing this tune...anyone know anything about the songs genesis, or if a version has ever surfaced?

At 6/04/2020 08:25:00 PM, Blogger outiar said...

Tonight's The Night tour.

At 8/22/2020 12:36:00 AM, Blogger RocknR20 said...

We’ll be able to buy these?

At 12/10/2020 01:16:00 PM, Blogger Acoustic FeedBack said...

Are these released yet? Does anyone know how and where these will be posted?

At 12/10/2020 01:57:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ AF - good question and maybe some confusion.

Here's an update on Bootlegs.

But concerts are now loaded onto Timeline as a Beta Test:



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