Neil Young

Reflecting 1969-1971

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Enough of these 1969-1971 recordings have shown up on other bootlegs -- whether in the exact same versions or quite similar live versions of these same songs -- to limit the appeal of this two-CD bootleg to Neil Young fanatics. If you're one of them, however, this is a neat thing to have, with pretty good sound quality, though it's marred a bit by substandard source documentation. Disc one has Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's fine live September 1969 performance of "Down by the River" on the television program Music Scene; an excellent live solo acoustic version of "Country Girl," also identified as coming from Music Scene, though frankly it sounds like it might be of entirely different origin; and casual solo acoustic rehearsals for a February 1970 TV show on KQED in San Francisco, though sometimes these get rather too casual for first-rate listening, including some instrumentals. Ending the disc are five songs almost certainly mislabeled as "Woodstock rehearsal" -- the live solo acoustic "Sugar Mountain" sounds like it's still the KQED rehearsals; the acoustic "Mr. Soul" (confusingly also referred to as a "demo" in the track listing) probably does come from CSNY's live Woodstock performance as you can also hear Stephen Stills singing on it, as well as live crowd noise; and "I've Been Waiting for You," "Oh Lonesome Me," and "I Believe in You" are alternate studio takes/mixes that have nothing to do with Woodstock (or live performance). Moving on to disc two, the first eight songs are good-quality solo, unplugged BBC performances from February 1971 on which Young runs through many of the highlights of his early catalog. The two February 1971 cuts from Johnny Cash's TV show are of lesser fidelity, but they do give you the chance to hear early acoustic versions of "The Needle and the Damage Done" and "Journey Through the Past." Ending the compilation is a grab bag of "original mixes" and "alternate mixes" of various early Young solo studio cuts, along with a couple of radio commercials for early Young releases.