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4.4 out of 5 stars
36
4.4 out of 5 stars
A Treasure
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on 14 June 2011
The latest in the Neil Young Archives Performance Series, A Treasure is an unlikely collection of songs from Young's deeply unfashionable 80s period, including cuts from the Old Ways album whose style this live recording most closely resembles. While Old Ways is probably the only one of his Geffen albums still worth listening to in its entirety, it is one of a series of releases considered unrepresentative of Young's more familiar output, as a result of which Geffen eventually sued him. Its hardcore country leanings are tempered on A Treasure, partly because the live band that Neil Young had put together, consisting of Tim Drummond, Ben Keith, Spooner Oldham, Rufus Thibodeaux and others, represented the very best musicians available; and partly also because new life was breathed into old songs, including an almost inspired version of 'Southern Pacific', more familiar from the plodding version on the pedestrian Re-Ac-Tor album.

While there are other inspired moments on A Treasure, including a version of 'Flying On The Ground Is Wrong' originally on the first Buffalo Springfield album from 1966, and a magnificent performance of 'Grey Riders', one of the great unreleased Neil Young songs, which begins as a country stomp, and ends reminiscent of 'Like A Hurricane' drenched in disintegration and feedback. Other 'lost' material appears, including 'Amber Jean', which is competent but less inspirational, and in total the album features 5 previously unreleased songs. All are painted to a greater or lesser extent in the country stylings with which Neil Young was experimenting at this stage in the mid-80s. It is an unexpected and unusual choice of release, given the fact that Young's classic 70s archive material has yet to appear, but adds weight to a positive reassessment of an under-appreciated and often dismissed period of his career. It is also a timely release, coming less than a year after the death of Ben Keith, one of Neil Young's longest serving and most inspired musicians, whose comment on hearing the tracks again, led directly to the album's title. While the overall effect of A Treasure is slightly underwhelming, it is nevertheless a worthy and welcome addition to a series of live recordings that is becoming almost essential.

3.5 stars.
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on 14 October 2017
Magnificent. A great era for Neil Young and includes a couple of songs not on albums. Well worth having!!
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TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 13 June 2011
Appreciating all the facets of Neil Young over the years has been a challenging musical adventure. Its commonly accepted that he hit a "difficult patch' in the 1980s with his label effectively disowning him and more than the odd misstep along the way. His defense at the time has nonetheless stood him in good stead over the years for despite all the tangents taken he has admitted, " I've been consistent about it, consistently erratic." On the surface why Young's dalliance with country music through the album "Old Ways" caused the Geffen label such a problem appears odd. Young had released a similar album in 1980 with "Hawks and Doves" and Elvis Costello had successfully released "Almost Blue" his traditional country excursion in 1981. Yet Young's recording came on the back of a number of commercial failures not least the horrible vocoder experiment "Trans" and a frayed relationship with the label which saw Geffen's patience just about worn out. Young being Young and one of the world great professional contrarian's alternatively raised a large middle finger to them and carried on regardless going out on the road with the The International Harvesters in 1984 and 1985, playing venues like the Minnesota State Fair. This band was the cream of Nashville musicians and by any standards a much more accomplished set of players than Crazy Horse "the best bar band in the world". The outfit included slide guitarist Ben Keith, bassists Tim Drummond and Joe Allen, fiddle player Rufus Thibodeaux, drummer Karl Himmel, and piano players Spooner Oldham and Hargus "Pig" Robbins. These guys give greater depth to the rather underpowered country which had emerged on "Old Ways" with the result that it is transformed in this recording into something with more vitality and verve.

"A Treasure" is an archive recording that contains 12 songs five of which are new, two of which bookend the album. "Amber Jean' is first up which is a lovely ode to his daughter that could have happily fitted on "Comes a Time". Alternatively the explosive closer "Grey Ryders" is like a country version of "White lines" and really rocks with the superb fiddle of Thibodeaux driving it on. As Young's angry guitar burst through this could have fit on "Ragged Glory'. In between we get a range of great songs, including a pile driving cover of "Are you ready for the country", the loose swinging country blues of "Soul of a woman" and the fabulous rocking "Southern Pacific" where you can almost feel the movement of the train. There are straight country songs here which for this reviewer is a joy since Young is a master of genre and "Let your fingers do the walking" which would a brilliant opener to a Texas honky tonk dance. He also transforms the old Buffalo Springfield number "Flying on the ground is wrong" into a lovely country lament and it is one of the albums big standouts. Young of course flirted with support for Ronald Reagan at the time and "Motor City" captures his mood of homeland values with an anti Japanese car import song which states that there are "already too many Toyota's in this town" to considerable audience applause.

For those who didn't like the "metal folk" of last years excellent "Le Noize" this will be far more familiar Neil Young territory but with enough variation and top notch country sounds to satisfy old and new devotees. It's clearly been a hidden treasure and shines a new and more favourable lens on a phase of the great mans career that has been rather cavalierly written off until now. Overall its is an excellent addition to the Young canon.
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on 7 January 2013
Neil Young stated he insists on high res audio. I agree with him and prefer music in the highest audio resolution available when possible. I purchased this CD/BluRay expecting the BluRay disc to have the audio at least to be in 192 / 24 kHz, however it is in 48/24 kHz not much higher than CD.
The video content comprises of 1 full video clip and the remainder is video footage done by audience members in the lowest quality you can imagine, together with an image of the album cover to fill in the missing gaps of footage.

The actual music is great, especially the song Grey Riders and the opening song Amber Jean (the only complete video). These recordings are more of a country influence which Neil was into at the time in the mid 1980s. They are very enjoyable and fun.
Overall the BluRay is not worth the extra music unless your a completist. The CD has the same songs without the 1 video clip that is worth watching.
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on 14 June 2011
Neil Young unpredictable as ever. Treasure was named by the late Ben Keith when Neil was playing some of the archive material. I guess this cd/dvd will form part of the Archives 2 due anytime this decade. The Treasure features the band that in the UK we saw at Live Aid in 85, and this record is a mix of new songs & old songs. For Neil fans it's material that would fit with Old Ways, Harvest Moon & Comes A Time. One track stands head and shoulders above the rest and that's the blistering 'Grey Riders'. The DVD flits about from TV shows and You Tube but serves as a snapshot of Neil live before we had instant film on You Tube.
I can't see how this will attract new fans, but Neil Young has never pandered to fans old or new. An essential purchase for Neil Young fans.
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on 17 October 2012
Yes this is from Neil Young's "difficult 80s" period and yes it is leaning towards country but the performances and the song selection put it up there with his best live stuff. Energy and enthusiam leap out from the speakers from start to finish in a way that cannot be said of 'Old ways' his studio 'country' album of the period. The material ranges from Buffalo Springfield ('Flying on the ground is wrong'), through 'Harvest' ('Are you ready for the country ?) and 'Re-ac-tor' ('Southern Pacific'), to 'Old ways' and some previously unreleased songs, and they're all good. Outstanding guitar, pedal steel, fiddle and singing run through the whole CD.

My stand-out memory of the Live Aid concerts (altough it could have been Farm Aid instead/as well) from 1985 is of NY and the International Harvesters and the song that always stuck in my mind most was 'Nothing is perfect'. Here it is at last. This is a top Neil Young album, far better than his studio stuff of the era (the woeful 'Everybody's rockin'' and 'Landing on water' for example) and comparable with, although very different from, the very best of his live albums such as 'Weld', 'Live rust' & 'Unplugged'. Just get it.
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on 16 June 2011
Providing you like Neil does country (which I do) then this CD is brilliant, but you would not necessarily get this impression from the average rating. This is largely due to the fact that a number of the reviews linked to this 'CD Review' actually relate to the DVD. The majority of the negative comments relate to the poor quality of film footage, which may well be the case, but have no bearing on the CD (i.e. the quality of the songs, the performance or audio recording) which is excellent throughout. The previously unreleased tracks are gems, especially the final 2 tracks which must go down as one of his most simplistically beautiful followed by a classic Young guitar blast, being 'Nothing is perfect' and 'Grey Riders' respectively. How an artist can hide away songs of this quality for a quarter of a century defies belief. Only Neil Young! The live versions of tracks from Reactor and Old Ways beat the original album versions hand downs (especially the country version of Southern Pacific) capturing the live spark of inspired musicians in their element. Never before has Neil sounded like he is enjoying himself so much, with his vocals sound more confident than ever. So, ignore all the bad reviews that relate to the DVD and the overall rating for the CD would be considerably higher. Amazon should get their act together to ensure the reviews actually relate to the product being viewed. Buy the CD with confidence and enjoy the best release from Neil Young since....... INSERT your own favourite of choice.
For me personally, I much prefer it to the much lauded Le Noise, but I couldn't say it's better than/worse than....it depends which Neil you just happen to be into. Whichever NEIL you love, all the other versions of Neil are still better than almost everything else out there. BUY TODAY, ENJOY FOR YEARS.
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on 4 July 2011
I bought this package under the impression, perhaps mistakenly, that the blu-ray disc would contain video but this proved not to be the case. There is just one video that is watchable, some are incomplete and in very poor quality, some just feature a music track with the album cover on screen. The music tracks are in no better quality than the CD to my ears so I was greatly disappointed with this release; had I known, I'd have bought the CD only and not wasted money on the blu-ray package, which I'll almost certainly never watch again. Having said that, the CD is brilliant!
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on 18 May 2013
1980 to 1990 - not Neil's finest decade musically, there's no hiding the fact but this album really puts a new light on some of the tunes of that time. Live in Berlin, some Lucky Thirteen releases and segments of Life had previously been the only real official showing of Neil live for those of us who missed, or weren't alive to judge it for ourselves at the time - and they're all good! Berlin gave us a live helping of Trans as well as proving that the old classics still rocked hard. The proof is Neil still rocked.

So A Treasure, on paper not the strongest track listing. Are You Ready For The Country? the only song from any of his stronger studio albums, and some dubious titles from controversial albums like Old Ways and Re-ac-tor. What's the verdict? A really strong album that gives life to songs that had previously gone unnoticed with a strong country sound. Very strong. The Re-ac-tor songs in particular are made into gems. A slightly reworded Motor City and a powerful, epic of Southern Pacific made them 'new' favourites to me. Are You Ready for the Country and Bound for Glory sound as great as the studio offerings, and the album ends on the powering Grey Riders.

The album does seem to pan out a bit longer than it might, and there are songs here that could be described as 'filler' and that most wouldn't seek out if they weren't sequential on the album, but everyone will have preferences so it could just be me.

My one reservation about this album is the fact that it will become part of the NY archives (eventually) so those who invest the money in that series will be buying this twice, as many already will have with Fillmore and Canterbury House. But then to be fair, this album has been out coming up 2 years as I write this, and Archives 2 (which may or may not reach to 1985 anyway) is still without an Amazon page, release date, track listing and Neil's still touring and making new material.
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on 20 July 2011
The NYPS continues with another highly enjoyable release .If you like Young in Country mood , Old Ways , most of Stars & Bars, then you'll love this. It's not as good as Fillmore East or Massey Hall but still great listening. Best tracks are the BS 'Flying on the Ground' and the last 3 ' Southern Pacific, Nothing is Perfect and the Brilliant 'Grey Riders' Buy and enjoy
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