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Monday, December 14, 2020

Comment of the Moment: REVIEW - Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxset


At long last, NYA #2 boxes are starting to arrive in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe where shipments from The Greedy Hand have been seriously delayed.

So it looks like many U.K. rusties will have a delightful Christmas after all given some of the anxiety and grief which they have experienced. Certainly not the most pressing global problem, but in these times, it's the little things that matter nearly as much as the big ticket items.

All of which brings us to our Comment of the Moment: REVIEW - Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxset | Everybody’s Dummy by tomatron:

Feeling a kinship with so many who appreciate the artistry of Neil’s oeuvre, I hate to downplay the disappointment, frustration, and even betrayal people are feeling with their physical product in limbo. 

We have waited a long time for this moment, after all. I can relate too, my impatience more directed toward the incomplete Vol 2 video collection as well as the destruction of carefully curated Archives playlists and really the entire playlist feature. For a lot of fans, the box which contains a complete era of music is paid for and missing, and that sucks.

But we are here for the music. This thread was created to highlight our thoughts on the music. And we have the music. Even if you never got your download codes, a monthly subscription goes for $1.99. And now it’s free. Why not set aside your frets about the deluxe packaging for a moment or three, hop on the web, and have a listen? Are we here for the cardboard and paper, or for the songs? The juxtaposition of chronological sequence and creative presentation within the set is fascinating. Compare the track listing of each “disc” with the running order available by playing the tracks through the file cabinet, and then with the original albums. Consider a song’s impact right in context of the time and place it was recorded, who was there, how they played, and what might have happened in Neil Young’s life the night before!

Marvel at the impact Ben Keith had on the music during this period. He is all over this set, right there through it all, the ups, the downs, and the further downs. He was even a member of Crazy Horse for like two songs. Then have a listen to Frank Sampedro join the band and hear Neil’s writing gel with his mates in a very new way.

There is so much appreciation to be found in the different versions of songs we know. The Dume Powderfinger is slower and more tentative than the Rust and Weld editions we revere, but its relative tenderness speaks to the youth and apprehension of the doomed narrator. Homegrown Kansas was interesting and sensitive, especially following the nightmare of Florida, but it turns out that song was truly meant for Crazy Horse 2.1 to rip through at least once and let Neil swagger through the verses he’d barely warbled just a few weeks earlier.

You can play some of this stuff for your friends who didn’t know what they were missing. Disc 1, Everybody’s Alone, is an excellent introduction to Neil Young for anyone who has yet to have taken the time with his work. What better place to jump in than right into the ditch? They’d be hard pressed to find any more compelling rock n roll from the era, and much of it was unheard until mere weeks ago. Or throw on the Look Out For My Love compilation and dive headlong into the mid 70s with a killer run of Horsey album tracks that jut into a beguiling set of tunes done justice by an all-star Stills-Young band, and realize that Neil Young may actually have invented yacht rock, but also grunge a decade and a half early.

If it’s the images you are missing out on, the good news is that the Vol 2 file cards are loaded with them, and about half of the songs (with the rest presumably to come) have video/visualizations available featuring vintage gear and tableaux arranged with ingenuity exploring the photography and cover art of the era in motion.

Now let me be frank (Poncho?). By continuing the gripe, contributors are taking for granted the venue which thrasher has provided here and drowning out those of us who came to discuss the music we love. 

The second installment of the Archives was worth the wait. The box itself can keep waiting. 

The treasure inside it has already arrived.

Thanks so much tomatron. "yacht rock"?!  who knew?! You've been on a roll lately and we much appreciate your sharing thoughts on NYA here. More on Comment of the Moment: REVIEW - Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxset | Everybody’s Dummy.

 Also, see ROUNDUP: Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxset.

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At 12/14/2020 04:52:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

Doesn't Yacht Rock need a Michael McDonald sound-alike to qualify? I have to admit that I needed to look up the official designation of what Yacht Rock was, because I had assumed that it was "The Eagles" or "Jimmy Buffet". I learned that I was wrong! It is more that white-soul-sounding adult oriented music of the late 70s and early eighties. Maybe "I Can't Tell You Why" would qualify. Regardless, after being mortified that this music of my back seat youth had such a terrible name, I realized that, thankfully, it sounds nothing like the SYB. :-)

At 12/15/2020 11:28:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

A splendid comment of the moment.

I appreciate the positive focus on the content of the box, as that is the essence of why we’re all here. It’s sometimes too easy to get caught up in the details while completely missing the gold. This has been one tough year for the whole world, and I believe that there is real gold to be had in the experience we have all shared. This is not a year that should be forgotten, but one which has offered some wonderful lessons. First and foremost, the opportunity to witness the fragility of the human experience. We humans tend to reveal our true selves during a crisis, and from what I’ve observed, the folks who have endured best are not the ones we read about in the headlines. The comment above is a great example of looking past the reaction and seeing the gold that exists within the challenges we are faced with.

This year should have brought us all closer together, but for some it meant polarization. Now those folks may be getting all the attention but they are far from the majority. Think of the thousands of health care providers who have sacrificed so much for so many. And all those people who have shared their grief over loosing a loved one in the hope of helping others with their own pain. We have much to be grateful for this year.

Here in the Neil Young universe we have offered support to one another other dealing with our emotions during this challenging time. It shows a level of comparison that seems to be overlooked in the news, yet here it is, in plain view for all to see. We are indeed, stronger together, and I hope that sense of community continues as things hopefully begin to improve.

Just remember, the Fireside Sessions would have never happened had it not been for the pandemic. The Official Bootleg Series may never have been considered had Neil not been in quarantine. It’s entirety possible that Volume Two would still be sitting in the vault had none of this transpired, so let us be grateful that we are all still alive and enjoying the fruits of Neil’s labor.

Regardless of the challenges we all face....together.

Peace 🙏

At 12/15/2020 02:08:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ LRR - 'the official designation of Yacht Rock"?! ha. who knew a definition existed, although Jimmy Buffet seems a perfect description and makes one shudder in the context of SYB.

@ Dan - a splendid comment of the moment, indeed.

can't really add anything else here about 2020 that you haven't already said succinctly.

just fyi, but normally TW does a year in review. ATM, we're not planning to do a full blown review. Partially b/c we really don't want to go back and re-live 2020 and don't think anyone else does either. But also, w/o concert tours, it just doesn't feel right. While Neil did produce another bountiful year w/ like 12 releases and all the NYA updates and Fireplace sessions, we think we can summarize and capture in some sort of mini 2020 year in review.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all !



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