Keeping abreast of Neil Young’s multitudinous releases can begin to feel like a full-time job. Since Shakey’s last studio LP, Homegrown, in June 2020, there have been no fewer than four live archival albums. He has already announced another Crazy Horse record, while this is the first of five instalments in the new Bootleg Series. Questions over quality control endure, but not here. Carnegie Hall 1970 (Live) is a superb addition to the catalogue.
The album’s 23 songs are taken from the first of two sets Shakey played at the iconic Manhattan venue on 4th December, 1970. The latter show has long been available via bootleggers, but the first, considered by Young as “far superior”, has remained unheard, until now. It finds Young in celebratory mood, nine weeks after releasing After The Gold Rush, 19 months on from the raw guitar pyrotechnics of Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, and a little over a year ahead of his first No.1 album, Harvest.
Mixed from the original analogue tapes by Young and engineer Niko Bolas, aka The Volume Dealers, the sound quality is excellent, Young throwing in six songs from After The Gold Rush alongside Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young material. The sense of occasion is palpable as grand silvery strums and hefty bass notes from Young’s Martin D-45 provide sparse accompaniment, training the spotlight on the vulnerable majesty of his song writing.
You can hear a track from Carnegie Hall 1970 (Live) every hour on our dedicated Neil Young radio station.
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