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.
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.
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.
Live AT Cellar Door is yet another live album from Neil's Archives. This concert has some performances of Neil playing some songs that have appeared on several other live albums but with different instrumentation such as cinnamon girl and expecting to fly both performed by Neil on piano. There is a few musical mistakes by Neil on this recording where he fluffs a note here and there and he forgets a word or two. But this performance is a very intimate show and these mistakes are barely noticed. Compared to other live archive shows from the same period this is not as good as Massey Hall or Fillmore but is a very enjoyable listen and is a good addition to your Neil Young collection.
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.
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
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
I hear that at a recent NY gig he told the audience to keep quiet while he was singing. Good on him, I'm sure we all hate those noisy covert go-ers who won't shut up. Listening to this 1970 show however makes one realise just what a cult artist Neil was back then, in a room with a couple of hundred folks at a push and thus an intimate and wholly enjoyable listening experience. As Neil tries out songs planned for the then unreleased Harvest nobody breathes a word as these quite astonishing songs appear to have the attendees mesmerised.