Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A bit of Neil Young to start the short week...

'Wake up it’s a Tuesday morning!’

'Last Dance’ taken from Neil Young’s ill-fated but nonetheless magnificent 'Time Fades Away' live LP from 1973 (that year again eh?).

Criminally the album has never seen an official re-release or re-master. This track, the highlight of the album for me, features Graham Nash and David Crosby on backing vocals with Crosby also playing rhythm guitar and Jack Nitzsche on piano.

Neil was very unhappy with the tour that spawned the album. Danny Whitten was 'sent home’ because he was unfit to play such a gruelling tour (65 shows in 90 days and Young’s biggest ever tour!). Whitten was unfit due to his drug addiction and subsequently died of a heroin overdose.

It’s probably fair to say that the sound of the LP is a matter of taste. Personally I think the vinyl sounds awesome; really gritty and dirty and stands up next to anything Young did with Crazyhorse for sonic ferocity. Another problem as far as re-releases go lies in the fact that there are no master tapes to speak of....

'Time Fades Away' was recorded directly from the sound man’s soundboard to 16-track. There were no 2 track masters ever made of this record. The master discs were cut directly from the 16 track masters and the mix discarded. Because no two-track stereo master tape was ever made, as would commonly be done, the album cannot be remastered in a traditional manner. If any new release was to be attempted a new mix would need to be made from the original multitrack tapes.

I guess Neil being the old goat that he is just can't be bothered. I also have a theory that he is perhaps haunted by a few demons from that ill-fated 1973 tour and is worried he may unearth a few ghosts that he’d rather leave undisturbed! He must have wondered at the time whether Danny Whitten being 'sent home’ had a contributing factor to his ultimate demise. It certainly didn’t save him if that was the desired effect.

Anyway regardless of whether an official remaster will ever see the light of day you could always just buy an old copy on vinyl of course!.. My copy sounds awesome! I can see right now a 1st pressing copy on e-bay with a start price of 99pence... So get involved!


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