Thursday, September 9, 2010

Neil Young Live At Massey Hall 1971

I wasn't expecting to like this disc. I raved about the Neil Young and Crazy Horse Live at the Fillmore 1970 record. I just didn't really think an acoustic set was going to do it for me.

Well, I was wrong. Yes, these songs are stripped bare, and no, that isn't usually a good thing. But Young's voice has never sounded better, and the songs showcase his remarkable range as a lyricist. Accompanying himself on either guitar or piano, his voice is clear, high and full of emotion. This is Neil Young the singer's record.

The set list is pretty close to an early "best of" with some interesting rarities. But what shines here, other than a remarkable performance, is the recording itself. You might like to hear this just to hear how good a close-miked acoustic live recording can sound. It's a remarkably in-your-face every detail tenth row clean as a whistle recording. Very special stuff.

Of course if you can't stand Neil Young, this won't change your mind. If you've been vacillating, go for it. It's not just historic. It's darn good, too.

This is another in the series of archival recordings Neil Young has issued in the last several years. It is available on vinyl as well as CD. I heard the CD this time, but if the vinyl version of Live At The Fillmore is any indication, I'll bet it sounds great. The CD sounds great. Really great.

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