25 agosto 2013

NEIL YOUNG'S FIRST DRAFTS (1968-72) pt.1

Neil Young’s First Drafts: this is a view into the transformation process between the first idea for a new record and the album actually published. It’s part of the artist's creative process and part of the magic behind the records we love.
Thanks to Archives Vol.1 we have now many information about the “backstage” of the first four albums, from Neil Young (1968) to Harvest (1972). Archives shows us some of Neil’s first tracklists for these albums and the original manuscripts of the songs, some of which were partially different from the ones we know.

Neil Young (1968)
Neil started to think about its debut album (released in the end of 1968 and again, in a remixed version, in January 1969) since the Buffalo Springfield days. The first ideas date back to about February 1968. In Archives Vol.1 we can see two tracklists totally different from the released one.

 I
Old Laughing Lady
Last Trip To Tulsa
Birds
Whisky Boot Hill
Billy Pennyworth
Falcon Lake
Slowly Burning
Whatever Happened To Saturday Night
Surely Enough
Scarborough High

 II
Old Laughing Lady
LA
I’ve Loved Her So Long
Love Is A Gift
Birds
Last Trip To Tulsa
Billie Pennyworth
Whisky Boot Hill

Neil wrote “Laughing Lady” and “Tulsa” in the Buffalo Springfield era; in the Springfield’s box set (2001) there’s the demo version of “Laughing Lady”. The band recorded “Falcon Lake” and “Whatever Happened”, available on the box set too.
Slowly Burning” was made by Neil and Jack Nitzsche still in the Springfield era, and we find it on Archives. We can listen only a live take of “Whisky Boot Hill” (later part of the “Country Girl” suite).
LA” years later became part of Time Fades Away, but it's an 1968 acoustic track according to Neil himself (listen to the 1973’s tour bootlegs, the only source that provides a brilliant acoustic take).
The other songs mentioned in the two tracklists, as far as we know, were never recorded. But, thanks to Archives, we can read the first draft of “Pennyworth”, “Scarborough” and “Burning” lyrics plus some attempts for “I’ve Loved Her So Long”.
The recording sessions were held in the summer of ’68 and the result was a completely different list of songs: the ones that are actually on the album plus “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” and “Birds”, in their first attempts available in Archives Vol.1.
Both the old ideas, compared to the released record, are actually two other different records, sharing just a couple of tracks. The released record is, probably, more developed, whereas the first ideas were more tied to the Springfield stuff. It would be really interesting, however, listen to songs as “Saturday Night” and “Whisky Boot” with the sound of the ‘68 sessions.
Let’s do some musical archeology and recreate an imaginary First Draft Edition of Neil Young, 1968, taking from the available out-takes, alternative versions, demos and some live takes.

1. Old Laughing Lady – demo version
2. Last Trip To Tulsa –live version
3. Birds – out-take
4. Whisky Boot Hill – live version
5. Falcon Lake
6. Slowly Burning
7. Whatever Happened To Saturday Night – demo version
8. LA – acoustic version (from 1973 bootlegs)
9. I’ve Loved Her So Long – live acoustic version
10. Everybody Knows... – out-take
11. Here We Are In The Years – original mix version
12. Round And Round – demo version
13. I've Been Waiting For You – live acoustic version
14. The Loner – live acoustic version


Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (1969)

The famous first Crazy Horse instant-record. No out-takes, no different tracklists, but the band kept recording stuff between 1969 and 1970, thinking of a second album...


Oh Lonesome Me (1970): the lost Crazy Horse

“This is a song from our new album… when we’ll record it…” says Neil at the Fillmore East, March 1970, referring to the “it-might-have-been” second Crazy Horse album after Everybody Knows. It never happened: it’s just the first of a long list of wastes by Neil. But between the end of 1969 and the beginning of 1970 the project was alive and running.
To recreate it, we have to start from the Crazy Horse studio session in summer 1969, just after the release of Everybody Knows. Here’s what was recorded (according to Archives Vol.1):

Oh Lonesome Me
Birds
Everybody's Alone
Wonderin'
I Believe In You
Look At All The Things
Winterlong
Dance Dance Dance
Also “Helpless” was played but, due to an error, not recorded.

Archives shows some tracklists handwritten by Neil for this record, but they date back to 1970, after the mentioned sessions. The first is “a list of song to record” (January 1970), with background vocals by Danny Whitten & The Ronettes, and a funny title: “A Country Store Plays Old Changes”.

Birds
Winterlong
Down To The Wire
So Many People
Oh Lonesome Me
Sugar Mountain
Dance Dance
Now That You Made Yourself Love Me [primo titolo di I Believe In You]
Wondering
One More Sign
I Don't Want To Talk About It

The latest is a song by Whitten, later recorded only by Crazy Horse for their 1971 record (without Neil).
We don’t know nothing about “So Many People” (maybe a working title, who knows).
There are two other tracklists dated back to February 1970, which include a title for the album (Oh Lonesome Me) and even a sketch of the artwork.

  I
Oh Lonesome Me
Wondering
Don't Let It Bring You Down
Dance Dance
So Many People
Join Back Home
Cinnamon Girl
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Long Walk Home

 In the bottom are listed with an asterisk:
Winterlong
Birds
Sugar Mountain
Down To The Wire

  II
Oh Lonesome Me
Wondering
Birds
Don't Let It Bring You Down
Crippled [Cripple Creek Ferry]

Wondering
Birds
Don't Let It Bring You Down
On The Way Home
Crippled

In the first tracklist, which is very strange, “Long Walk Home” jumps to the eye because we know this song as part of Life (1987). So how would it be with the original Crazy Horse sound?
“Join Back Home” is a complete mystery. Very weird is the presence of “Cinnamon Girl” and “Everybody Knows”, already released on the previous album, as well as some old Springfield tunes.
Since these tracklists follow the mentioned sessions, probably in 1970 Neil was thinking of new recording session with Crazy Horse (of course never happened). Compared to the songs recorded in the summer of 1969, Neil’s ideas were changed. The second tracklist is clear: it’s Oh Lonesome Me that was slowly turning into After The Gold Rush, the project next to come that would involve some of these songs.
But there is a mid-stop between Oh Lonesome Me and Gold Rush, and it dates back to March 1970 according to Archives manuscripts. It was a double LP part live and part studio, with some of the new songs (see below).
The sessions for the second unreleased Crazy Horse album are still partially unreleased. Archives contains live takes of “Wonderin’” and “Winterlong” but not the studio version, as well as “Look At All The Things” is missing (written by Danny Whitten and later re-recorded by Crazy Horse for their 1971 album).
“Oh Lonesome Me” (Don Gibson cover) and “I Believe In You” were recycled in After The Gold Rush.
Let’s recreate this lost album taking from the stuff we have and adding some other songs of the era (including “When You Dance”, recorded for Gold Rush but it’s still the original Horse).

1. Oh Lonesome Me
2. Birds
3. Everybody's Alone
4. Wonderin' – live version (or future release of studio version)
5. I Believe In You
6. Winterlong – live version (or future release of studio version)
7. Dance Dance Dance
8. Look At All The Things – Crazy Horse 1971 version (or future release of original version)
9. I Don't Want To Talk About It – Crazy Horse 1971 version
10. Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown – live version
11. It Might Have Been – live version
12. When You Dance I Can Really Love


After The Gold Rush (1970)

After The Gold Rush was recorded and released in 1970 as the result of Neil’s lifestyle in his Topanga Canyon’s home. As we said before, it followed the death of Crazy Horse’s Oh Lonesome Me. The birth of Gold Rush is shown by an interesting “memorabilia”: the paper inside the vinyl, which reports a well-known alternative tracklist written by Neil (withoud date).

Oh Lonesome Me
Wondering
Everybody's Alone
Sugar Mountain
Sea Of Madness
Big Waves
Dance Dance Dance
Birds
I Need Her Love To Get By

Thanks to Archives Vol.1, now we know more details about these songs. Furthermore, Archives contains another tracklist dated back to July 1970.

Tell Me Why
Only Love [Can Break Your Heart]
Southern Man
Til The Morning Comes
Wondering
Birds
Don't Let It Bring You Down
Long Walk Home
Crippled Creek Ferry

The recording sessions were held mainly in March 1970, so the second tracklist is subsequent. Surely it was a work in progress, probably related to the famous Dean Stockwell’s idea for a movie called After The Gold Rush. Neil wrote that song for the soundtrack; it's not mentioned in the lists although it was already recorded.
The only out-take of the sessions was “Wonderin’” (available on Archives Vol.1). “I Need a Love” and “Long Walk Home” weren’t recorded, according to Archives. “Big Waves” was the first attempt for “Powderfinger” and we can read the original lyric sheet. The other songs (“Dance”, “Sea of Madness”, “Everybody’s Alone”, “Sugar Mountain”) were already listed for the previous records but they were bound for oblivion.
The first tracklist is totally different from the released one, the second is much more similar. It isn’t easy to recreate a First Draft Edition of After The Gold Rush: except “Wonderin’”, we can find versions of the songs that are too different from the Topanga sound. Anyway, taking from rarities and adding some tracks from the released record, here’s a possible result.

1. Wonderin' – from Archives Vol.1
2. Birds – alternative version from Archives Vol.1
3. Everybody's Alone – acoustic from KQED sessions (bootleg)
4. Sugar Mountain – acoustic from KQED sessions (bootleg)
5. Dance Dance Dance – acoustic from KQED sessions (bootleg)
6. Sea Of Madness – from CSNY 1969 sessions (bootleg)
7. Tell Me Why
8. Only Love Can Break Your Heart
9. Southern Man
10. Don't Let It Bring You Down
11. Cripple Creek Ferry
12. Long Walk Home – from Life(!)

---
Italian version:

Nessun commento:

Posta un commento