Sunday, December 22, 2013

RECORD REVIEW: Neil Young "Live at the Cellar Door" (Guest Post)

RECORD REVIEW
NEIL YOUNG 
Live at the Cellar Door
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Guest writer 
Michelle Wilson
ventured out to a
store this holiday
season to actually
purchase a new 
CD. How retro?
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Is there anything cooler than a guitar, a piano and Neil Young’s iconic voice? Well, that’s what you get when you press play and listen to the latest release in Young’s Archive Performance Series, Live at The Cellar Door. The self-produced solo acoustic record showcases Young’s 1970, six-show gig at The Cellar Door in Washington, D.C. Some of Young’s material at the tiny D.C. venue, which featured two shows per night from November 30 through December 2, 1970, was captured for this 13-track album and released on December 10, 2013 — digitally, on vinyl and on CD.

Young includes five cuts off his third solo effort, After the Gold Rush, which was released a few months prior to these shows. Featured songs include “Tell Me Why,” “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” — a Top 40 hit for Young, as well as chilling versions of “Don’t Let it Bring You Down,” the title track, and “Birds,” which also was recorded angelically in 1972 by Linda Ronstadt on her third self-titled solo record and definitely worth a listen.

One of the many other highlights is a piano-only rendition of “Cinnamon Girl” from the 1969 album, Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, which featured Young’s first collaboration with Crazy Horse. The piano accompaniment in place of guitar offers a fresh, unique sound. Also culled from this collection for a stellar live presentation and a personal favorite, Young absolutely slays “Down by the River” in this haunting variation.

Also thrown into this treasure-trove of stripped-down, classic material are three Buffalo Springfield  pieces, “Flying on the Ground is Wrong” from their 1966 self-titled  debut album, “Expecting to Fly” off the 1967 record, Buffalo Springfield Again, and another personal fave, “I Am a Child” from the 1968 third and final effort, Last Time Around.

Using this forum to showcase new material, Young debuts “Bad Fog of Loneliness,” which never appeared on an official studio album but later was released in 2007 on Live at Massey Hall 1971 and included on The Archives Vol. 1 1963-1972 released in 2009. Two other songs, “Old Man” from 1972’s Harvest, and “See the Sky About to Rain” from 1974’s On the Beach, round out this aural delight.

If you have a Neil Young fan in your world, this is a must-have to add to the collection.

-Michelle Wilson
(December 2013)
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