Sunday, January 04, 2009

CD Review: Neil Young Sugar Mountain - Live At Canterbury House 1968

As I said in an earlier post, Santa was very good to me this year, and I scored a bunch of CDs and DVDs. The first I dove into was Neil Young Sugar Mountain - Live At Canterbury House 1968.

This is part of Neil's archives series and is a solo acoustic gig at what sounds like a coffee house or very small venue, based on the audience response and the ambiance.

The gig took place just after Neil had split with Buffalo Springfield but before his very first solo album had been released. So, basically before Neil became a bonafide solo superstar. Hell, before he was even on the map as a solo artist.

The CD is a great snapshot of that time period. Neil does a bunch of songs that will appear on his first album in a few months, and some Buffalo Springfield tunes. The show starts with some very stoned sounding guy saying he hopes the waitresses are getting all the orders because there were way more attendees than expected.

This leads to a very stoned Neil running through 14 songs, most of which introduced with long and witty stories. For example, Neil tells that the job he had before joining the Springfield was a stint at a bookstore where he either lazed around doing nothing or was on uppers and sorted three days' worth of books in half a day. He was fired for 'being inconsistent.' The irony of this was not lost on me when thinking about Neil's whole career, especially the 80s, when David Geffen sued Neil for making 'noncommercial records.'

And it goes on from there. Neil Young fans should get this CD, and also the other archives releases Live at Massey Hall (1971) and Live at the Fillmore East (1972). They surpass some of Neil's studio releases in passion, performance and even recording quality.

And speaking of archives, this CD comes with a DVD of the same playlist at a higher quality bit rate. The DVD also has a trailer for the massive Neil Young Archives project, expected to be released this year on Bluray and DVD. A shorter version of the trailer can be seen below. It looks totally epic.

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