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Thursday, February 09, 2023

Outtakes from Neil Young's "Le Noise": "You Never Call"

Neil Young
via The "Le Noise" Sessions
 (Click photo to enlarge)


Outtakes from Neil Young's "Le Noise" are now streaming on Neil Young Archives.

In a post on Times-Contrarian | NYA by John O, we learn that 2 outtakes of "You Never Call" are now posted:

Previously unreleased but beloved by those of you who have had the pleasure of hearing the song live or seeing it in the Le Noise session documentary directed by CK Vollick or Jonathan Demme’s Journeys — I hope at least one person who has never heard it before can hear it for the first time now, and be walloped by the almost unbearable intensity of its grief.


john o

As john o writes, be prepared to: "be walloped by the almost unbearable intensity of its grief".

Larry "L.A." Johnson: 1947 - 2010


As backstory, in 2010 Neil Young's long time film maker and producer Larry "L.A." Johnson passed away.

One of the outcomes of "L.A." Johnson's death was the Neil Young album "Le Noise", produced by Danial Lanois.  The album "Le Noise" does NOT contain the trackbut was performed in concert during the 2010 and 2011 tours.

Neil Young and Daniel Lanois


The video of Le Noise Sessions features the eight songs of the album, plus four "Le Noise" outtakes.

As we wrote back in 2010, "You Never Call" really encapsulates the mood and tone of the Twisted Road concerts. The ghost of L.A. fills the room and seems to hover over the stage. One can only imagine how hard it must be to sing a song about a dear friend -- who you have known and worked with nearly your entire professional life -- who then suddenly dies taking your son to a hockey game.

L.A. Johnson and Ben Young

"And I know Ben is with you
'Cause you take him everywhere
He brain-to-brained me
He told me you are still there."

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At 2/09/2023 10:45:00 AM, Blogger mshare said...

Thanks Thrasher - count me among the walloped, especially by the pump organ version. Neil’s music is helping me get through some difficult times.

At 2/09/2023 01:54:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Walloping indeed. and helping us all as well get thru these times.

on a somewaht humourous note 1st, if Neil wrote this song today would it be called:

"You Never Text"?

best of luck, godspeed, solidarity, and see you on the other side.


At 2/09/2023 06:44:00 PM, Blogger wardo said...

Le Noise is a wonderful album as it is, and I can't figure out where either of these versions would fit onto it. I think they're a little too personal for the overall vibe. That said, I'm so glad they're on

At 2/09/2023 06:56:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Having first heard ’You Never Call’ live in concert, I was disappointed that it wasn’t included on the album. But the pump organ version is (in my humble opinion) one of the most powerful songs Neil has EVER recorded. I was overwhelmed with emotion listening to this version today. It was a powerful experience hearing it live, but this version is just stratospheric in its delivery. I’m stunned that this wasn’t included on Le Noise, but so very grateful to have it now on NYA. Thanks Neil….just breathtaking!!!!

Peace 🙏

At 2/10/2023 04:24:00 AM, Blogger Cubanpete said...

What an incredibly powerful song. Its simply incredible how many gems Neil has sat on. We have all been so lucky these last few years. Long may it last.

At 2/10/2023 04:27:00 AM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

Le Noise was an interesting album, lots of fun sounds and explosions and good ideas from both Neil and Daniel...

But also more than a little bit "half-baked". An impressive totem pole built on weak foundations.

What the extended Le Noise documentary proves is that there was a version of Le Noise *actively in development* that was much more developed, much more nuanced, much *more* interesting.

Almost like a spooky "round the crackling campfire at midnight" set of folk songs. And like Psychedelic Pill, a "look back through the years" soundtrack to Waging Heavy Peace.

But the sessions changed focus — many of the early songs weren't so much built-upon as abandoned (or set aside 'til later). It's a bit like switching queues at the supermarket and starting from scratch.

A lot of the early work got left behind in favour of a series of slightly underwhelming, "cheap-and-cheerful" first drafts.

This gave Lanois more room to do his magic.... but I think the album flatters Daniel's art more than it does Neil's.

More on this in future, but I agree with Dan Swan and mshare about the pump organ You Never Call.

I'd go as far as to say it's not just more interesting and compelling than the guitar version, but more interesting and compelling than just about anything on the released album.


PS: For the next 24 hours, my latest rambling trip through the alleyways (starting with a rant about factory farming, moving on to songwriting) is free to read on Patreon:

At 2/10/2023 08:15:00 AM, Blogger Steve L said...

Hi Scotsman,

I source 100% of my cheese needs from The Ethical Dairy, a family farm-business located in SW Scotland (nr Castle Douglas).

Pasture-fed meat from family or community-owned farms is the only way to go. Check out the Pasture for Life website for UK suppliers.

I like Le Noise though, for me its one of his best albums since the mid 90s.


At 2/10/2023 09:40:00 AM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...


I haven't eaten meat for nearly 15 years now — just because I've found it's a hell of a lot easier to say "I'm vegetarian" than to say "I'll only eat this cow if you can prove it had a good life and died of natural causes".

The vegans will tell me I should give up all dairy, too... And I can't really argue with 'em. Like most people, my diet is imperfect. (And I'll check out the Ethical Dairy, for sure.)

But I do think every little helps, and a move *towards* a plant-based diet is going to become ever more pressing as we face up to the environmental challenges in front of us.

It's unfortunate that meat from a cow raised by a family farmer is more environmentally destructive than chicken meat from a factory farm.

(Of course, the latter is not so great for the family farmers, and certainly not for the chicken).

So as the world gets more clued up about gas emissions etc, I hope we don't see a shift towards even more factory farming... Which won't be solving the problem so much as redistributing it.

On the positive side:

The *radical* increase in the number of plant-based options at restaurants and supermarkets in the last few years is reassuring.


At 2/10/2023 02:29:00 PM, Blogger Alan said...

Who will join Dan & I* for some cruelty free food in Boise for the TW meetup?! The venue is killer: at Boise botanical garden / former penitentiary, a big lawn and grandstands also for those who don’t live on the rail. The venue is a field of dreams!
*= Pending tha band booking the gig, of course.

I have always loved Le Noise and I agree that You Never Call didn’t really fit in the album. I have not yet listened to the YNC pump organ version yet.

Le Noise is in my top 10 NY studio albums for sure. I love it more than many “classic” NY albums.

My bio brother Doug is very picky about NY albums, did not like PP, for instance. He loves Le Noise with a passion.

“There is no accounting for taste.”

Your brother Alan in Seattle

At 2/10/2023 03:47:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Scotsman, you hope we don't see a shift toward more factory farming? Next year I will be in Ireland studying their beef industry, so I can maybe catch up on some of what is happening in Europe.

But don't kid yourself. The agricultural system in the US is growing without impediment of any sort. I just published an essay on the system in Iowa. It is, without question, an ongoing nightmare. It cannot be explained in this context. There are issues and problems that go in all directions.

At 2/10/2023 03:56:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Indeed, as you say, when the ventilation is turned off the animals "suffocate." More people need to know the whole story. There are counties in Iowa that produce more fecal waste than Paris or NYC (in a day, week, month or year). I enjoyed your recent post (I have not signed up yet- apologies). The whole story is nearly impossible to articulate: everything is tightly connected. Ethanal (hoax), row-cropping, and CAFOs.

At 2/10/2023 05:44:00 PM, Blogger Flyingscotzman said...

Ab: Here in the UK we're seeing more factory farms, but we're also seeing more opposition to them, too.

(The opposition is a bit like throwing stones at the ocean, in terms of scale.... but it is opposition, nevertheless. And I think us Neil Young fans are inherently the type who believe Luke Skywalker can defeat the Empire.)

One realistic hope I see for the future is lab grown meat. And the optimist in me looks at the growth of the plant-based market, and the growing focus on environmental activism, and sees joint-movements that can continue to make progress — in unison.

Your point is well taken, though. The situation is bleak in the UK and Europe, just as it is in the US. And for those concerned with the environment without a moment's thought for animal suffering, it makes sense to pile the chickens high in factories.

Meanwhile, as you know but some readers here may not, parts of densely-populated Asia are moving towards a meat-based diet, not away from it. Factory farms are being built like skyscrapers to cater for the growing demand. Scary.

(Sorry for a somewhat grim start to the weekend!).

It seems hopeless, but there is reason for hope. I hope.


PS: I'll be interested to hear about your research in Ireland.

At 2/11/2023 03:16:00 AM, Blogger Alan said...

@ Dan : Having now listened to both versions on NYA, I again agree that that the pump organ version is a masterpiece. I also like the electric version. This song is relatable to many lost friends in Neil's circle. I am more open this song fitting on Le Noise than my first take. But now we get to hear it all on NYA! Thanks Neil!

Please come visit us in Boise & Seattle. I understand & support your humane food morals. Time to hit the Peace Trail again?

Your Brother Alan in Seattle


At 2/11/2023 07:31:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

One of the bitter effects of the Russian aggression is, that inflation has been going up in all European countries. Consequently people who during the pandemic had to stay home and cook themselves and therefore switched to healthier diets based on organic product and less meat-stuff now obviously have to make cuts regarding what they eat. The market share for organic foods in Germany was above 6% of the overall market, the share of land in organic cultivation and use was about 11% already and growing. While established farm operators now likely are able to muddle through somehow, those who have been planning to switch to sustainable production are discouraged by a plummeting market and growing interest rates. Still it should not be a problem to have a fullblown all organic and sustainable eco-tour in Europe. In most cases Neil Young & Promise of the Horse would be preaching to the converted (and resourceful).

At 2/11/2023 11:49:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

"for themselves" of course, although the mistake metaphorically is true also, some people came out of the pandemic with their nerves tender and well-done.

At 2/11/2023 01:13:00 PM, Blogger Abner Snopes said...

Organic products around these parts are expensive, too expensive for most people, the wealthy eat well.

Secondly, organic produce often sucks. Free range beef and pork is excellent but most people are used to the "tender and tasty" from the CAFO and finishing process (corn fed cows, a big mistake).

I visited organic farms in New England in 2018 and recently, just this past November. Prices were insane and I found out that one of the "farms of the year" fed about 1% of the county (not so good).

Going back to Scotsman's reference to suffocating animals- this is what happens and multiple CAFOs "had to do" this recently. Hydrogen sulfide and ammonia starts to accumulate as soon as the ventilation system shuts down. The midwest is covered in manure lagoons and pits. They then drain out the pits and lagoons and spread liquified manure on row-cropping fields (corn and soybeans): around and around we go.

Neil might be able to collect enough organic food if he plays in Minnesota or Madison WI. Otherwise there is the "death tube" option (cheap hot dogs) with the distant odor of methane baked manure. With a cheap, locally grown hybrid GMO grape red wine makes for a charming evening.

At 2/11/2023 05:52:00 PM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

It feels anti intuitive that it costs more to raise crops and animals the old fashioned (organic) way, rather than using poisonous chemicals and inhumane practices. When did we loose our way with the ability to feed ourselves. Or at least without destroying ourselves and our planet along the way. The Industrial Revolution was clearly the beginning of the end for us as a species. I’m encouraged by the folks who see the problem, and see some of the the solutions, but I fear there may be too few. I don’t see the powers that be giving up their privileged lives, and power anytime soon. And I don’t see anarchy as a reasonable option either. So where do we go from here, with the masses being hypnotized by their technology, and never looking up long enough from their isolated reality??? I don’t have the answers. It is a difficult thing to be a part of, even though I’m doing everything in my power to live my life in a way that will make a positive impact on the future.

Peace 🙏

At 2/12/2023 01:38:00 AM, Blogger Dionys said...

There are many tipping points at which we lost the ability to feed ourselves. It happened, when parents stopped teaching their children how to cook. It started when the food industries made us believe that "fresh" and "best before" actually describe the most important quality of produce and limit the edibility of foods. It began when people began to buy food in package sizes (in multiple wrappings, cartons etc.) they would never be able to consume and then consequently lost their moral standards with regards to throwing away food. In Germany roughly one third of the food is thrown away along the production, retail and consumer lines, with the consumer being the most wasteful link in the chain. Our post-war grandparents would be ashamed to see how we carry ourselves today.
Perhaps the food industries are the earliest business, where the managers and their supportive cohorts began to target the consumer proper as part of their business. They shaped our expectations by telling us how a potato should taste, what a french fry should look like (like a Russett potato from Idaho). Now we, the consumers, are a product, trained and drilled anyway McCain's, Nestlé, Kraft and McDonald's want it. Last time I was there I stumbled through American supermarkets like a zombie in search of a plain joghurt without any "enhancements", but among the rows and rows of shelves I couldn't find any.


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