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Saturday, December 05, 2020

REVIEW: Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxset | Everybody’s Dummy

"Fireplace Sessions"
Neil Young Archives Volumes #I & #II 
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While reactions and reviews continue to gush forth for the Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) boxset -- released on Nov. 20 -- we do hope that everyone has their boxset very soon.

Here is an excerpt from an excellent overview-review of Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxset | Everybody’s Dummy:

The Old Homestead (1974) is something of a companion to Homegrown (which follows in the set) and it’s fascinating. 

Only the “title” track and “Deep Forbidden Lake” had been released on albums proper, with the rest of the program—70 minutes total, the equivalent of two Neil albums—devoted to songs that slipped through the cracks. Some, like “Hawaiian Sunrise”, had featured on that summer’s CSNY tour, represented here by a superior take on “Pushed It Over The End” and Stephen Stills’ blazing contribution to “On The Beach”.

“Homefires” and “Give Me Strength” were often highlights of acoustic sets over the years, while “Bad News Comes To Town” would be trotted out with the Bluenotes and “Changing Highways” would emerge 22 years later as a Crazy Horse stomper. A piano rendition of “One More Sign”, dating from the Buffalo Springfield era, is as heartbreaking as “LA Girls And Ocean Boys”, which would be co-opted into “Danger Bird”. Three distinctly different takes of “Love/Art Blues”—solo, downbeat, and jaunty with yodeling—demonstrate his quest for the right sound. “Frozen Man” and “Daughters” had been rumored for years, and live up to our hopes.

Dume (1975) not only widens the scope on Zuma by about half an hour, but reveals some of the incredible candidates left off that album, such as an earlier version of “Powderfinger” and electric takes on “Ride My Llama”, “Pocahontas”, and amazingly, even “Kansas” and “Hawaii”. “Too Far Gone” and “No One Seems To Know” appear a year before the live takes on Songs For Judy; “Born To Run” is not the Bruce song, but a Neil original tried and abandoned over the decades. Look Out For My Love (1976) is even more sprawling, the continuing adventures of the refurbished Crazy Horse alongside that year’s CSNY experiment that dwindled down to the short-lived Stills-Young Band, culminating in another stab at “Human Highway”. But first we get a transcendent “Separate Ways” that would have tilted Long May You Run even further in Neil’s favor, a band take of “Traces”, and two tracks with the Crosby-Nash vocals still intact. 

In the midst of all this is “Mediterranean”, an intoxicating exploration unlike anything in the catalog.

Thanks so much for the review Everybody’s Dummy!  Great overview of NYA#2 and glad to hear you're enjoying. 

Full review @ Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxset | Everybody’s Dummy.

Unboxed: Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976)
via Rusted Moon


More on Reaction of the Moment: Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxset.


Also, see Thought of the Moment: Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxset.

Unboxed: Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) 


Also, see Review of the Moment: Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976).


Book Fold Out: Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976)

via Rusted Moon 


More on Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976) Boxsets Begin to Arrive Around the EARTH.


Also, see Neil Young Archives: The Next 10 Years (2010-2020) – A Retrospective by Lone Red Rider.


More on Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976): Pre-Order Updates via The "Greedy Hand" Store + Unboxing & Preview Videos .


Also, see Comment of the Moment: Pre-Order - Neil Young Archives Volume II (1972 - 1976).

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At 12/06/2020 02:00:00 PM, Blogger tomatron said...

After reading and enjoying the full review at Everybody’s Dummy (and being in agreement with the bulk of it), I’m loving these pics of the set that are coming through. Since I’ll be picking up the retail edition from the local record shop in March, I won’t be examining the large box I up close. I see what the FarmAidians did with their Fireplace Sessions photo and appreciate that. Halfway relatable too - we don’t use our fireplace (not much point in Central TX), so all my records are on the brick hearth. It’s fun zooming in to see the details of the packaging here and how it compares to Vol 1. No second, inner, box is present, just the discs filed away. Makes it maybe a bit easier to access each. Also seeming to be missing is the goodie box from the first volume where Sugar Mountain and a few extras were stashed. No biggie, especially since this year’s book features the fold-out timeline poster which was only accessible on the video discs last time. In the book is a lovely location for this feature.

Of course the lack of video is by far my biggest point of contention with the physical versions of Vol II. The inclusion of the Journey Through the Past film was so special, and watching all the record and tapes play in a row is a borderline psychedelic experience. At least the individual visualizations debuted along with their respective tracks in a somewhat piecemeal fashion for the first half of the set, but after the first time, who will have the patience to sit there and hit play for each on the computer? They really worked so much better on disc, where they could be enjoyed as an unbroken playlist. Hopefully they will still be released as a compilation somehow; I find that to be the maximal presentation of the Archives music. Any guesses as to when the next wave of Archives videos will arrive? We are missing all but two from Discs 6-10 as well as a handful from Discs 2-5. No mention of this was to be found in the latest batch of letters to Neil.

I’d like to add my current opinion on a controversial subject. Homegrown and the other previously issued Archives releases are indispensable to the project’s completism. I totally get the complaints about the inclusion of records we already bought, but wouldn’t the comprehensive nature of NYA Vols I & II be shattered without their presence? There would be a big gaping Tuscaloosa-shaped hole in Vol II, for instance, if it had been left out. Again I have hopes for the future: that Neil, having taken these concerns into account, will continue to populate Vol III with almost all the material from the era covered, and then offer the set at the most reasonable price possible. I continue to value my vinyl LPs of these records while being satisfied with their place among the rest of the Archives releases.

Here are a few stray thoughts about the music in response to the review posted. As much as I revere Rust Never Sleeps and adore Hitchhiker, I must say the Dume rendition of “Ride My Llama” is now the definitive take. So trippy! Same goes for “Kansas;” on Homegrown it feels like an interlude, but the electric Dume version comes off as its final form. Its swagger suits the lyrics and riffs just right.

A more pronounced difference comes with “Letter from ‘Nam” absolutely destroying the Life version, not that that would have been hard to do. Little things like the (serendipitous?) placement of the song as Track 1 and unusually leaving the snippet of producer talk-back at the start help “Letter” communicate several ideas at once. Now the song projects Neil’s discomfort with (and soon-to-come dismissal of) typical studio procedure, his present-day concern for continuity within the Archives setting as shown by its follow-up to War Song on the previous compilation, and of course his misgivings with our country’s cavalier attitude toward the lives of its troops and of civilians at home and abroad. The best Neil Young songs work on many levels at once, and this move was characteristically genius.

At 12/06/2020 06:10:00 PM, Blogger wardo said...

Thanks for the kind words on the review. I do agree on the importance of including Tuscaloosa and Homegrown in the set, as they would leave holes otherwise. (I'm on the fence about Roxy, especially as the majority of the TTN disc isn't new or refreshing.)
According to my chronology, Hitchhiker and Songs For Judy come immediately after discs 9 and 10, so maybe Volume III will pick up after those?


At 12/07/2020 11:21:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ tomatron - Thanks so much for insights and sharing.

Lots of good points here. Like Wardo/ED, we also agree on the importance of including Tuscaloosa and Homegrown in the set. Without Tuscaloosa and Homegrown it would have created a major gaps in the chronology.

@ wardo - likewise, thanks for the review! A big job. So how many NY album reviews is this for ED? 40+?!

At 12/07/2020 11:59:00 AM, Blogger wardo said...

This is entry #64, but some cover more than one release. The Buffalo Springfield reviews need major overhauls, which will affect the numbering.


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