Neil Young Archives

Neil Young Archives

"Some of it is good, some of it is crap that wasn't released - there's a reason. Take a look, see what it is. That's what a fuckin' archive is about, not "Here's Neil Young in all his wonderfulness - the great, phenomenal fucking wonderfulness." That's not what I want."

Neil Young, on the Archives (2002)[1]

The Neil Young Archives is a series of archival releases by singer-songwriter Neil Young which feature previously released as well as unreleased studio and live recordings. The project has been long in the making – work began in the late 1980s. Throughout its development, Young himself has made several statements about the material included, release dates, and marketing that have proven false as the project is expanded upon to accommodate new releases or other relevant material.[2] Young has said that there will be five volumes covering approximately 50 years.[3]

The archives are divided into several series. The main part is a series of box sets covering separate periods of the artist's career. The Performance Series consists of individual releases of live material. Finally, there is the Special Edition series which will consist of previously unreleased albums. These different series also overlap; since, for example, two volumes of the Performance Series are included on the first Archives box set release, but are also sold separately.


Box sets

Volume 1: 1963-1972

The first volume was released June 2, 2009, covering Young's early years with The Squires and Buffalo Springfield, as well as cuts, demos, outtakes and alternate mixes from his albums Neil Young, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush, and Harvest. Also included in the set are several live discs, as well as a DVD of the long out-of-print film Journey Through the Past, directed by Young in the early 1970s.

Volume 1 was released as a set of 10 Blu-ray discs in order to present high resolution audio as well as accompanying visual documentation.[4] It is also available as a 10 disc DVD set and an 8 CD set. On January 31, 2010, the box set won the Grammy Award for Best Art Direction on a Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package, and was shared by Neil Young along with his art directors Gary Burden and Jenice Heo.

Volume 2: 1972–1982

Young's manager Elliot Roberts has stated that Volume 2 will span from 1972 through 1982,[5] one of the musician's most prolific eras. He also stated that it will likely be released "two or three years" after 2009's Volume 1.[5] If Roberts is correct, the second volume may feature songs from the albums and sessions for Time Fades Away, On the Beach, Tonight's the Night, Zuma, American Stars 'n Bars, Comes a Time, Rust Never Sleeps, Live Rust, Hawks & Doves, Re-ac-tor and Trans. Also recorded during this time were the albums Homegrown and Chrome Dreams, neither of which has ever been released.

Volume 2 could potentially begin with songs from the long out-of-print live 1973 album Time Fades Away, which would be the first time any songs from that record have ever been released on CD. In October 2009, Young told Guitar World that a disc titled Time Fades Away II will be included in second volume of the Archives series, noting: "It's interesting because [Time Fades Away II] has a different drummer than what was on that album. Kenny Buttrey was in there for the first half, and Johnny Barbata came in for the second. It's a completely different thing, with completely different songs."[6]

On his on-line newspaper, Young has stated that "four unreleased albums from this period are being rebuilt [...] Chrome Dreams, Homegrown and Oceanside-Countryside are the three unreleased studio albums. Also from this period is the unreleased Odeon-Budokan live recording produced by David Briggs and Tim Mulligan".

Volume 3 (1980s)

Little information about Volume 3 of the Archives has been announced. However, the website for Young's Living With War album contains several live recordings of songs from Life, which the page cites as being "From The Neil Young Archives, Volume 3."[7]

Volume 4 (1990s)

Volume 4 will likely feature tracks from the 1990s.

Volume 5 (2000s)

Elliot Roberts and Neil Young have said that the Archives project will extend into a fifth volume, which should include songs from 2009's Fork in the Road and the unreleased Toast album, which was recorded with Crazy Horse in 2000.[3][5][8]

Performance Series

The series of box sets were preceded by individual concert releases, dubbed the Archives Performance Series. This section contains details of releases so far. The releases are ordered in chronological order of recording. The albums were released in a different order, with Volume 2 coming in 2006, Volume 3 in 2007 and Volume 1 included in the first Archives box.

Volume 00: Sugar Mountain - Live at Canterbury House 1968

Sugar Mountain - Live at Canterbury House 1968 is labeled Volume 00 in the Performance Series, but was the third in the series to be released. It features recordings from Young's solo acoustic performances at Canterbury House on 9th-10th November, 1968. The album was released on December 2, 2008.

Volume 01: Live at the Riverboat 1969

Volume 1 is entitled Live at the Riverboat 1969 and is taken from a series of shows at the Riverboat Coffeehouse in Toronto in February, 1969, recorded by Brian Ahern. The CD was released as part of the Archives Vol. 1 in June 2009. Chrome Dreams II from certain retailers also included a bonus CD with a preview track from the Riverboat. Different outlets had different CDs, each with a different preview track.[9]

Volume 02: Live at the Fillmore East

Live at the Fillmore East, released in November 2006, features a March 1970 concert with Crazy Horse. The album was released on CD, LP and DVD-A with high definition sound accompanied by still images from the concert.

Volume 03: Live at Massey Hall 1971

A solo acoustic performance from January 1971, Live at Massey Hall 1971, saw release in March 2007. The album was released on LP, CD and DVD Video with the DVD version including high definition sound accompanied by 8mm film footage of the concert.

Volume 09: A Treasure

A Treasure documents the International Harvesters tours of 1984-1985. It was first released May 24, 2011 as an LP, with Blu-ray (and accompanying film) and CD following June 14.[10]

Volume 12: Dreamin' Man Live '92

Volume 12 in the Performance Series, Dreamin' Man Live '92, was released on December 8, 2009 and features all ten songs from the album Harvest Moon performed live in 1992.

Official Release Series

Although the Archives label is predominantly used for previously unreleased material, the name is also being attached to remastered editions of existing albums. Such releases are labeled Neil Young Archives Official Release Series. To date, four albums have been re-released as part of the Official Release Series:

Compact disc versions of the above albums were released on 14 July 2009. In addition, the albums were reissued as limited edition box sets on 24 November 2009, in both 180-gram vinyl and 24k gold CD versions. 140-gram vinyl editions of the individual albums were also issued on that date.[11]

Digital Masterpiece Series

In 2003, Neil Young released On The Beach, American Stars 'N Bars, Hawks & Doves, and Re-ac-tor on Compact Disc for the first time. These were reissued as HDCD's as part of the Neil Young Archives Digital Masterpiece Series. The CD versions were subsequently joined by DVD-Audio versions.

Special Edition Series

Neil Young recently announced a new part of the archives, known as the Special Edition Series. To date, one album has been announced in this series: Toast,[12] a previously unreleased album recorded in 2000.


External links

  • [1] - Official Neil Young site
  • [2] - Official Neil Young Archives site

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