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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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This is a great reminder (if we needed one) of just what a fine songwriter Neil Young is. The album is a recording of some solo sets he did in 1970 and they are very good indeed. I had the great good fortune to receive an advance copy of this album, I have played it a lot and the more I play it, the better it gets.

This is the young (sorry) Neil Young with just his guitar and a piano performing some great material like After The Goldrush, Only Love Can Break Your Heart, Old Man and others. They are really good, heartfelt performances which in these stripped-down versions often have tremendous emotional power. Don't Let It Bring You Down, for example, really packs an emotional punch for me - perhaps even more than the studio version does. The wonderful chord structures combined with Young's distinctive, ætherial, almost falsetto vocal give it a fabulous, spare beauty and the same is true of many of the other songs here.

The sound quality is excellent and the choice of material is very well balanced, I think. It's hard to get the balance right on a live album between failing to capture enough of the live atmosphere and having so much chat that it becomes tedious on repeated listening, but the producers here have judged it impeccably. There is very little of Neil Young speaking throughout most of the album - generally just a brief introduction to each song, which is exactly enough to give a feel of the live performance without interfering with the music. (And as an aside, although I know this is from 1970, it still brought me up short to hear Only Love Can Break Your Heart introduced as "a song from my new album".) The one exception is a longish, good humoured chat before the last track, Flying On The Ground Is Wrong, and here it is good to get a flavour of the man himself. It is excellently done.

I'm delighted to be able to give this album a rave review. It deserves it, which - let's face it - cannot be said of all Neil Young's work. This, though is among his best which means that it is very good indeed. Don't look for the Crazy-Horse-driven power which made Psychedelic Pill so brilliant last year, for example; this is no less powerful but in that more quietly thoughtful, contemplative Neil Young way. It's an excellent album of great songs, beautifully performed and recorded. Warmly recommended.
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on 15 June 2014
I've let six months pass since this album came out to really think anything of it - for quite a simple reason, as a 'new release', it didn't feel at all new because there was nothing we hadn't heard before. Scraping the barrel a bit to get excited about Expecting to Fly and a piano release of Cinnamon Girl... don't get me wrong, they're fantastic from the first listen, but this is a whole album.

Anyway, six months and a concept album later I've revisited it a lot and it is a great album, probably the best outright live acoustic album we've seen from Neil and his archives to date. The performance is faultless, and the sound quality is as good as, if not better than studio releases of the same songs from the multiply-remastered Gold Rush. Once the novelty of the piano on Cinnamon Girl, and the fact it's the first showing of Old Man have worn off, these are still great versions of great songs but it's the magnificent After the Gold Rush, Birds and Flying on the Ground that really make this a perfect listen from start to finish.

There is a case for picking faults in the release of this, why long after we had moved on from Archives 1 has this shown up and why are we being overfed with acoustic 70s releases when there's so little from the decades since - however, this is better than Massey Hall and everything acoustic we've seen so far, and if it's this or nothing, there really can be no complaint. Fingers crossed there's material of this quality to come from albums like Comes a Time and Zuma.
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on 12 December 2013
I have all Neil's albums on vinyl and this is superb because it's raw basic and there's an almost nervousness to the man that really shows on the solo show he did for the BBC. But this LP is worth it for "Expecting To Fly" alone, really powerful piano playing. I was fortunate to witness Neil perform this classic Springfield tune at Manchester in 2003 and it remains a beautiful song
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on 27 February 2014
This is Neil at his best. His performance is intimate and full of soul. The songs are uniformly brilliant. Best of all is the quality of the recording. It's hard to believe this was recorded in 1970. The sound is wonderful with no evidence of tape hiss - it's such a quiet recording that in the quieter moments on the piano you can hear the foot pedals being depressed.
Personal highlights for me are Expecting To Fly, See The Sky About To Rain and Don't Let It Bring You Down. These are songs I've always loved and it's a joy to hear them performed by Neil on his own with just a guitar or piano.
Unreservedly recommended.
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on 9 December 2013
This got delivered to me about 2 hours ago and it has stayed on the turntable since and will do for quite some time!!
Awesome is the word that comes to mind
Don't just sit there wandering whether to buy it or not
Just do it
You will not be disappointed
Oh and if you can get it on vinyl......Makes for a much better listening experience

Live At The Cellar Door [VINYL]
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on 9 March 2014
A beautiful,delicate,moving concert.You could hear a pin drop and Neil Young had his audience eating out of the palm of his hand.
If you've ever enjoyed any of his material you'll love this.A wonderful release.
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on 19 February 2014
Brilliant recording. Thoroughly enjoyable. A real blast from the past of live music. So glad I bought it. Neil Young fan for over 40 years.
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on 15 December 2013
Let me first say that acoustic albums are something I always have a soft spot for when done well. This newly released 1970 acoustic album sees Neil Young showcasing many of his songs from 'After The Goldrush' as well as songs like 'See the Sky about To Rain' which appeared some 4 years later on the 'On the Beach' album and rarities like 'Bad Fog of Loneliness' and 'Flying on the Ground is Wrong'. This is definitive Americana. For 'folksy' Neil Young the 70s was IMHO his pinnacle. Neil Young managed to capture the 'zeitgeist' of times while simultaneously producing folk music of rich emotional and musical intensity. Oft times remarks are made about his limited vocal range and hitting perfect notes isn't his strong point that is true but unlike some singers (often to be heard on X Factor) he isn't 'flat' but has a pleasant if slightly 'falsetto' tone. Most importantly though he conveys emotion well, for an example of this take a listen to 'Birds' or 'Down By the River'. From start to finish this is a masterclass and it's hard to pick out favourites. For audiophiles the cd version is excellent and has superb dynamic range and clarity, just a faint tape hiss can be heard if you turn the level up loud. If a 1970 album can be 'album of the year' then this is it.
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on 10 December 2013
I know it's great; a great artist, at the peak of his powers, his voice in splendid nick, during an unbelievably creative period, even by Young's extraordinarily creative standards. But what does this add, when we already have the Massey Hall and Canturbury House recordings?
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on 13 January 2014
I have nearly everything Neil has released, so I am biased, but the reason for buying this despite that said. The recording and the set list is so in keeping of "the best ever" by Neil and he comes across so much more of an entertainer than some previous work. The atmosphere of the club enhances the recording.
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