Thursday, January 26, 2006

Why I'm Glad I Never Sold My Record Collection

TIME FADES AWAY (1973) is a PRIME example of why I'm glad I never sold my old records. Even though I might go a decade or two between listens, when I do pull out a gem, it's a beautiful thing.

Now, this is a rough-cut gem, certainly not a fully-polished stone. However, I think it's a gem none-the-less. As far as I can tell, it's the earliest example of Neil releasing a new album of previously unreleased songs that were recorded live in concert (see also RUST NEVER SLEEPS). In fact, it might be the earliest example of anyone doing such a thing. What a way to follow up the multi-platinum-selling, genre-crossing, mega-hit HARVEST! Neil being Neil, to be sure.

The album starts with the title track. I can't decide if it sounds more like southern rock or a Dylanesque rocker with "The Band". Either way, it's uptempo, and I like it!

"Journey Thru the Past" follows. This one was actually recorded in 1971, and features Neil alone at the piano for what sounds for all the world like "After the Gold Rush", Part 2. This one is not as imaginative lyrically, but feels at least as personal.

"Yonder Stands the Sinner" is edgy musically, but Neil's vocal performance seems somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

"LA" sounds like a musical cousin of "Ohio" or "Alabama" at first, though the emergence of the piano takes it in a slightly different direction, and the vocals take a "Mr. Soul" type of turn. Lyrics such as "uptight city in the smog" certainly sound like an indictment of the city.

"Love In Mind", also recorded in 1971, is a mellow, piano-based tune.

"Don't Be Denied", to me, is the ultimate highlight of this album. It's a solid rocker (not particularly fast, but solid), and check out these lyrics. Sounds like Neil baring his soul, if you ask me.

"The Bridge" is another Neil solo effort on piano, harmonica and vocals. Neil continues to open his soul to ask if love lost can be rebuilt. I suppose it remained to be seen.

"Last Dance" closes the album. It's an extended jam with some fairly angry vocals, and very stinging guitars. Sure, it's a bit overindulgent (i.e., too long, perhaps), but that was just a sign of the times, my man.

Bottom line: I really liked re-discovering this one, but good luck finding it. The album was out of print for YEARS before vinyl LPs all but disappeared as a medium. As far as I know, this one has never been released on CD.

PS - The ultimate bonus: I had completely forgotten the amazing insert included with the record. It folds out to nearly 3 ft. by 4 ft., and includes lyrics, the line-up of musicians by song, and other liner notes. Too cool. (Damn, I miss albums.)


Blogger Macky OlĂ© said...

Aww man, I'm jealous you have this. I've never heard it. They did just *finally* re-release On the Beach so maybe there's some hope for this one.

I've got a live boot from 1976 that has one or two of these tunes, "Journey through the past" comes to mind as a good one.

11:18 AM, January 26, 2006  
Blogger haahnster said...

Yessir. I got lucky on this one. I found what would be described as a "mint condition" used copy at a record store in Champaign, back in my U of I days (probably '89 or '90, or so). It was just a regularly-priced used album at the time (I'm guessing $4.99).

I read somewhere that there's some sort of petition circulating online to have this album released on CD. I would find it highly unlikely that would have any effect on a record company's decision. However, I like the spirit.

11:57 AM, January 26, 2006  
Blogger John Sonleitner said...

Yeah/Yeah/Yeah, On "Journey Through The Past" You've Gotta Love The Pictures In That Double Fold Out Cover/Sleeves. #1 NY Softly Stepping On The MB Hood! #2 SS Pointing At C&N In The Studio On How To Hit That Note (This Is Like The Infant Of The Same Pic In American Dream) In Reversion! The Only Similarity Is The NY Attitude To The Situation.Check Out SS. Still,I Love The Announcer "" Gentlemen Responsible For The Western Sound "" The Buffalo Springfield. Now On To That "Time Fades Away" Lets Agree NY Works On A Sad Situation Here It Is A Matter Of Reduction; 1st Stanza Is 14, Last Stanza Is 13, Spelled Out! I Was Privileged To See Them 3 Times On That Tour! The Best Show Was @ Bakersfield Auditorium! Leon Russell Opened For NY And It Wasn't The Stray Gators Nor Crazy Horse It Was A Mix And They Were "BAAAAD". You Know It's A Good Show When You See Crosby&Nash Backing Neil,At A Painful Time: And DC Shakes GN Back Into (Shape)? During The "NO,NO,NO" Part! It Is All In Timing, If A Smoke Alarm Sets Off, I Have A Box Of Vinyl & A Box Of Pics&Documents, They Break The Window I Follow! Forget CD's Or DVD's; There Is Nothing Finer Than A Reprise 6317 1st or 2nd issue or Trans & Beyond With a Little POP OR SCRATCH You Wanted To Kill Or Die Over,So Many Years Ago. I'm Still Pissed! But Don't You Think, This Includes You NEIL, A Finer Grade Of Paper Could Have Been Used For The Lyric Sheet On "Time Fades Away"?
PS. You Should Have Seen Mr. Young Get Tough With That OL*&*%$#* Black, During "Carry On" At The Forum )On 6/26/70 When The "B" String Went (PIIIIIIIIIIIING) Of Coure He Was REEEEEEFING On THAT WIGGLE STICK !!!!! John Sonleitner Lancaster,Ca. Neil Is The Man!

6:21 AM, March 11, 2006  
Blogger Cold Bowl of Chili said...

I've got the album-LOVE it. I also have the fold out Journey as well, I was into albums back when that's was all we had.

I guess he'll release it someday, perhaps to counter all the crap he's gonna take for his latest political mistake album!

We shall see......

12:21 PM, April 18, 2006  

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