Neil Young's Lost Gem

While preparing and researching for a commissioned piece on Neil Young's 45th anniversary as a solo artist, we came across 1973's Time Fades Away [Reprise] which, thanks to the prompt and able assistance of "5" contributor Greg Caz, we were able to review for the aforementioned piece.

A live album recorded, with one exception, between February and April of 1973, consisting of brand new material enthusiastically received by those present--a development one is unable to discern from Joe Jackson's Big World [A&M-1986], another live album of new material which purposely eschewed crowd noise/reaction--Time Fades Away is quite the rarity: a critically well-received, Top 25 album that sold more than 2 million copies, and features 2 superstars (David Crosby and Graham Nash), yet remains unreleased on CD despite no legal obstacles to impede it. (No songs from the album appear on Young's triple album retrospective Decade [Reprise-1977] either.)

But this being Neil Young you know something screwy is going on: Time Fades Away has gone unreleased in any digital format allegedly due to Young's bad memories of the tour on which the album's songs were performed. Yup, that's it. No biggie, tho, since this album has been amply bootlegged over the years, so it's not like Young's hardcore fans have been missing out, although they have been urging Young to officially release it. (It's actually quite good.)

Maybe there's a 30th anniversary version in the works. Yeah, ole Shakey is gonna re-release an album he hates and which, due to the way it was recorded, has to be mixed all over again before it can be properly remastered. Yeah. Wait--was that a pig gliding alongside the side of that skyscraper?