Last week, Neil Young wrote in a post on his NYA Times-Contrarian blog that his much-anticipated Archives, Volume 2 box set is set to arrive in May 2019. While this is welcome news, listeners won't have to wait until spring to hear unreleased, vintage rarities from the artist.
On November 30, Neil Young will release Songs For Judy, a 23-track collection of previously unreleased solo acoustic performances from his legendary 1976 tour of the U.S. The album will first be released on CD and digital, though a double-vinyl release will follow on December 14. Its cover artwork is based on a photograph of none other than Judy Garland; Young reflected on the late star in the monologue which opens this release.
Compiled by director Cameron Crowe and Young's longtime archivist Joel Bernstein (who had initially recorded the performances on cassette tapes for his own enjoyment), Songs For Judy contains impassioned performances of many classic hits--such as "Sugar Mountain," "After the Gold Rush," and "Heart of Gold"--along with a previously unreleased track, "No One Seems to Know."
Selecting the best performances from a tour full of first-rate renditions was no simple task. "For days we listened and compiled," says Crowe. "It was deliriously painstaking work. Wake up, eat breakfast, dive back into the recordings. Decide which of the 12 versions of 'Old Laughing Lady' was most essential. Repeat." The result, says Bernstein, is a collection of "intense and thrilling" performances culled from the P.A. soundboard mixes.
All the music has been mastered from the original analog tapes by Neil Young's go-to mastering engineer, Tim Mulligan, at 24bit/176.4kHz in preparation for the CD and vinyl releases. The LPs have been cut by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Los Angeles.
Songs for Judy is the first release by Shakey Pictures Records, a new imprint of Reprise Records, and will feature liner notes by Bernstein and Crowe. "Campaigner," recorded live in Boston on November 22, 1976, is now available as a digital single. Songs for Judy is available to pre-order now. You can find pre-order links and a full track listing below.
Neil Young, Songs For Judy (Shakey Pictures Records/Reprise, 2018)
- Songs For Judy Intro -- Atlanta, GA Nov 24 (late show)
- Too Far Gone -- Boulder, CO Nov 06
- No One Seems to Know -- Boulder, CO Nov 07
- Heart of Gold -- Fort Worth, TX Nov 10
- White Line -- Fort Worth, TX Nov 10
- Love Is a Rose -- Houston, TX Nov 11
- After the Gold Rush -- Houston, TX Nov 11
- Human Highway -- Madison, WI Nov 14
- Tell Me Why -- Chicago, IL Nov 15 (late show)
- Mr. Soul -- New York, NY Nov 20 (early show)
- Mellow My Mind -- New York, NY Nov 20 (early show)
- Give Me Strength -- New York, NY Nov 20 (late show)
- A Man Needs a Maid -- New York, NY Nov 20 (late show)
- Roll Another Number -- Boston, MA Nov 22 (late show)
- Journey Through the Past -- Boston, MA Nov 22 (late show)
- Harvest -- Boston, MA Nov 22 (late show)
- Campaigner -- Boston, MA Nov 22 (late show)
- Old Laughing Lady -- Atlanta, GA Nov 24 (early show)
- The Losing End -- Atlanta, GA Nov 24 (late show)
- Here We Are in the Years -- Atlanta, GA Nov 24 (late show)
- The Needle and the Damage Done -- Atlanta, GA Nov 24 (early show)
- Pocahontas -- Atlanta, GA Nov 24 (late show)
- Sugar Mountain -- Atlanta, GA Nov 24 (late show)