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Monday, October 17, 2022

Comment of the Moment: Neil Young's Harvest 50th Anniversary Edition Deluxe Box Set

Detail: Harvest 50th Anniversary Edition Deluxe Vinyl Box Set

The Comment of the Moment is on last week's announced of Neil Young's Harvest 50th Anniversary Edition Deluxe Box Set by Tomatron:

The tag is steep but not egregiously so as the ATGR box was.

The outtakes on their own disc make plenty of sense on vinyl - a 7” is a suitable presentation for 3 short tunes, and its artwork features a great photo from the barn sessions. Official audio released by NYA makes the BBC 100% worth including.

What in the world are they doing putting out DVDs when it could be blu-ray? The lower quality relegates them to bonus discs. And buying this album on CD is a real step down from the now-ubiquitous hi-res streaming or the entirely analog experience of the LPs. But the $50 asking price is reasonable considering all the legendary music and extras within. This release is a fine gift for the fan who grew up with the record but never got into the weeds (ditch?) of the catalog, and wouldn’t be delving into the completism of the Archives but would enjoy revisiting that time in an expanded fashion.

The vinyl set would be an especially lovely present for a new fan who would be getting Harvest for the first time. For those of us who have heard it all by now, the availability of BBC audio will be a sweet stream, and the unseen comprehensive film of Harvest Time will be a must play on the Hearse/Movietone screen, no additional dollars required.

Hearing this fully developed Heart Of Gold on the heels of the wealth of bootleg and performance series concerts from the preceding tour has been a bit of thrill. The flavor of the acoustics is quite different in the BBC setting, and the singer’s mood is subdued and refined at this stage. I don’t recall Out On The Weekend ever being done like this; by the time it went on the road for what became the TFA tour, the Stray Gators we’re rocking the full band version. 

A budget-priced, stand-alone BBC LP at some point would be a welcome addition to the shelves.  

Thanks Tomatron! (not sure why this didn't publish on 1st try? So thanks for trying again.)

Yes, it does appear to be a very nice edition and an improvement over the After the Goldrush 50th edition which seemed a little on the underwhelming side. 

Another comment by Richie C on whether this might be a trend on all major albums getting the 50th treatment got us thinking here.  After lots of investments in NY Archives box sets with the understanding that it's everything from the era and then having to go back to purchase missing elements seems troubling and a greedy hand move.  Or did Neil explain somewhere why this material wasn't included on NYA#1?

But, as with everything, if folks keep buying, the greedy hand will keep selling.

More on Harvest 50th Anniversary Edition Deluxe Box Set.

Neil Young's Harvest 50th Anniversary Edition Deluxe Box Set
Release Date: 12/02/2022
 (Click photo to enlarge)

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At 10/18/2022 05:17:00 AM, Blogger Steve L said...

Am I the only one that has never been that fussed about Harvest? Apart from ASB it's probably his 1970s album I like least.

Having said that, I really like both Out on the Weekend and the title track.

It would be great to have the BBC concert on vinyl though.

At 10/18/2022 05:06:00 PM, Blogger Art Carey said...


At 10/19/2022 06:39:00 PM, Blogger Tomatron said...


Thanks, Thrasher! Right, it didn’t post the first time and I thought it was gone into the ether. But some random navigation clicks revealed it still in the box and ready to rock.

I think most of the new old material that’s being released after the NYA box sets came out is stuff they didn’t have ready at the time. Neil’s team have a rigorous process for making sure the sound is of the highest quality, and it can be decades before the recordings are even discovered. With albums like this BBC performance, a lot might go into securing the rights to broadcast it, let alone produce for retail.

There was that early promise of Blu-Ray additions, but the main sequences of the Archives compilations never had every song. They’re even missing key album tracks like Out On The Weekend. Vols I and II are a marvelous curation of the eras, but the only real place with EVERYTHING is the Archives site. A collection so comprehensive that pricey, previously-released packed deluxe anniversary packages aren’t quite as essential anymore.

At 10/20/2022 11:20:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Steve - probably not.

re: BBC concert on vinyl. so. do we really know anything about the quality?

This was `1970s tv. how good could the quality possibly be under even the best of circumstances? has anyone heard anything about the mastering of the BBC tapes?

@ Art - and then there's that ...

@ Tomatron - thanks again on CotM.

we do recall when NYA #2 came out some inquired about BBC. Obviously, it took awhile to acquire rights or what have you.

again, what do we know about the BBC tapes? Are we getting an upgrade bootleg that we've all seen for decades now?

or did neil really get into BBC vaults and obtained a pristine master to work with?

Given the time lag, difficult to believe.

guess we'll know in december

At 10/20/2022 06:43:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Harvest is, imho, a very good album. Words (Between the Lines of Age) is a too-often forgotten classic, one of Neil’s greatest. The electric barn numbers are appropriately dirty. Production is unusually balanced and smooth on the Nashville material. Not cluttered either. NY’s later country-influenced albums can sound a little overdressed compared to this. Heart of Gold… Old Man… hard to argue with the track list.

The London Symphony items typically get mixed responses, but Neil’s fragile, wavering voice set against the enormous, monumental, bone-shaking edifice of Jack Nitzche’s arrangements is a statement in itself. Really captures a sense of alienation, isolation in a big, scary world.

The album as a whole has scope. Cinemascope, so to speak. Basically, it’s the musical equivalent of using huge wide lenses. The result is that you see small humans against huge scenery. For me, that sums up Harvest. Not a coincidence that NY was doing his first filmmaking experiments at the time (JTTP) and referring to A Man Needs a Maid as a movie song. Most NY albums don’t have this much “scenery”; they are more interior, abstract, or minimalist. The classic Crazy Horse sound, for instance, is exposed, jagged, stark like a Brechtian stage set. Harvest is Old Hollywood by comparison, almost neoromantic.

All these labels are necessarily reductive, though. My point: Harvest isn’t any better or worse than most of the albums around it, but it sure is different.

At 10/21/2022 10:17:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Meta Rocker - thanks for thoughts & insights, as always.

It is very hard to over state just how important and deserving of 50 year anniv the album Harvest.

Not much stands the test of time... esp these days.

How Neil ever managed to connect up the Stray Gators w/ Linda Ronstadt & James Taylor in Nashville one day is absolute magic.

and is there really anyone out there who isn't looking to find (if not already) their heart of gold?

hint: look inside 1st, find yours, and then you will find your life companion.

At 10/21/2022 01:43:00 PM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

Re: Harvest 50, will probably end up with the CD box. I’ve explained the vinyl dilemma before. Given the sheer volume of NY’s catalog, I doubt there will be anniversary editions of most albums. RNS may merit the treatment.


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