Well, the wait for Archives, Volume 2 is far from over, but Neil Young fans and collectors know that the artist rarely goes too long anymore without throwing them a bone (however delayed!). Such a bone is coming your way in May and June from Reprise. A Treasure compiles twelve live recordings dating from 1984 and 1985, including previously unreleased songs. One of these, “Grey Riders,” will be the album’s lead-off “single.” Young is backed by the International Harvesters, who supported him on 1985’s Old Ways (which in fact was a re-recorded version of an album rejected by Young’s then-label Geffen Records on the grounds of being non-commercial and allegedly too country-leaning). A Treasure will first drop on May 24 as a limited edition vinyl LP. On June 14, releases will follow in an array of formats: vartious configurations of CD, high-resolution Blu-Ray and digital.
The International Harvesters era produced some of the most straightforward country moments of Young’s long career, though the C&W/roots influence was nothing new to the singer. (His most successful LP, Harvest, had pronounced country overtones, as did its smash single “Heart of Gold.”) The first lineup of the band consisted of Ben Keith, Anthony Crawford, Rufus Thibodeaux, Tim Drummond, Spooner Oldham, Karl T. Himmel, Larry Cragg and Joel Bernstein. For the second lineup, Oldham and Drummond were out, and Hargus “Pig” Robbins, Joe Allen, Matraca Berg and Tracy Nelson were in. The recordings on A Treasure spotlight late country legend Keith on steel and slide guitar, Thibodeaux on fiddle, Oldham and Robbins on piano, Drummond and Allen on bass and Himmel on drums, among others. “I just love to hear those guys,” Young reflected in the official press release. “They’re all country music legends.”
Fans of the recently-reunited Buffalo Springfield will be in for a treat due to the inclusion of an October 26, 1984 performance at California’s Greek Theater of the band’s classic “Flying on the Ground Is Wrong.” Other songs originated on LPs including Harvest, Re-ac-tor, and Old Ways.
Tim Mulligan mixed and mastered the tracks on A Treasure. May 24 will bring the vinyl release, while on June 14, A Treasure will become available as a digital download with and without videos, and as a deluxe CD/Blu-Ray package. The Blu-Ray version will also feature selected video footage. (Young’s production company, Shakey Pictures, actually solicited material for this release from the musician’s fan community.) “I like to look at these old live videos and listen to what I think are the best versions of these songs,” Young commented. “It’s fun to see what we looked like when we were playing it then.”
Are you ready for the country? Hit the jump for the complete track listing with recording dates and performance venues! Pre-order links are not yet available!
Neil Young, A Treasure (Reprise, 2011)
- Amber Jean* (9/20/84) Nashville Now TV – Nashville, TN
- Are You Ready for the Country? (9/21/84) Riverbend Music Center – Cincinnati, OH
- It Might Have Been (9/25/84) Austin City Limits TV – Austin, Texas
- Bound for Glory (9/29/84) Gilleys’ Rodeo Arena – Pasadena, TX
- Let Your Fingers Do the Walking* (10/22/84) Universal Amphitheatre – Universal City, CA
- Flying on the Ground is Wrong (10/26/84) Greek Theater – Berkeley, CA
- Motor City (10/26/84) Greek Theater – Berkeley, CA
- Soul of a Woman* (10/26/84) Greek Theater – Berkeley, CA
- Get Back to the Country (10/26/84) Greek Theater – Berkeley, CA
- Southern Pacific (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair – St. Paul, MN
- Nothing is Perfect* (9/1/85) Minnesota State Fair – St. Paul, MN
- Grey Riders* (9/10/85) Pier 84 – New York, NY
*Previously unreleased songs