In House #1745: Neil Young & Crazy Horse at The Fillmore 1970; Rolling Stones in Boise
For years now, decades even, Neil Young has been talking about opening up his vaults and unearthing the treasure trove of bootleg recordings, aborted full-lengths, unfinished songs, and the like that exists there, spanning five decades and nearly as many musical phases. In the past, he's envisioned this project as a behemoth box set or two, or as bonus material to be gathered along with reissues of proper albums, but the arrival this week of Crazy Horse at The Fillmore 1970 reveals a direction more along the lines of Bob Dylan's impressive bootleg series. The recording from Bill Graham's Fillmore East marks the debut of Young's Performance Series, though it's labeled as the second volume, obviously revealing that a future release will pre-date this 1970 concert. Crazy Horse at The Fillmore, available on both CD and DVD, captures Young and Crazy Horse on the first tour following the release of their debut Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, still ahead of the classic Young solo releases After the Gold Rush and Harvest. Perhaps the most significant thing about this historical snapshot is the presence of original Crazy Horse guitar hero Danny Whitten, who would be killed by a heroin overdose just two years later (and serve as the inspiration for Young's "The Needle & the Damage Done"). Whitten and Young's dueling guitars have become the stuff of legend, and the tracks here put the heroics on full display, complete with jammed out, twelve-plus minute versions of "Down By the River," and "Cowgirl In the Sand." It's the circular ferocity of "Cowgirl," in particular, that reveals the template that Crazy Horse laid for later artists from Television to Pearl Jam to Built to Spill. Curiously, however, the set here doesn't represent the entire Fillmore East performance with several songs omitted, including the entire acoustic portion of the show. Still, there's plenty to like, including very early renditions of staples like "Winterlong," and "Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere," and an outstanding version of "Wonderin'" a Young composition that would remain on the shelf until his 1983 release Everybody's Rockin'. Long lost bootlegs are always good for an historical perspective-- this one also happens to be an enjoyable listen, thirty-six years on.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse
In House #1745.
Focus: New live release, Crazy Horse at The Fillmore 1970, from Neil Young & Crazy Horse, plus new music from Jay Bennett, Chuck E. Weiss, and Anne McCue, and the Rolling Stones play Boise tonight.
Stream Crazy Horse at The Fillmore 1970 in its entirety here.
In House PODCAST #207