Today, Neil Young and Reprise Records announced another exciting treasure from the vault, continuing Neil’s ongoing excursions through his past. On March 26, he’ll release Young Shakespeare, a long-awaited live album and movie that documents the earliest known filmed live concert footage of Neil Young, in an array of formats.
The previously unreleased, solo acoustic show was filmed in Stratford, Connecticut in 1971, as Young was preparing his commercial breakthrough, Harvest, and just two months after the release of After the Gold Rush. He treated the audience to a number of favorites, including “Cowgirl in the Sand,” “Down By the River,” recent CSNY cuts “Ohio” and Helpless,” and selections from After the Gold Rush and the gestating Harvest. He also performs “Dance Dance Dance,” a then-unreleased tune that he says is “something to make you stamp your feet and bang your hands” along with “Journey Through the Past,” which would eventually end up on Time Fades Away. The show ends with an audience participation singalong of “Sugar Mountain” because “it worked last night,” he said. “If you don’t know the words, well, you’re all university students so memorize them the first time.”
Selections from the show were broadcast on European TV alongside documentary footage on Swing In, but outside of a couple encore presentations over the decades, it’s sat in Young’s archive. Now, the Connecticut concert footage and audio have been dusted off and restored to exacting specifications.
The music has been sourced and remixed from the original analog master tapes using the Plangent Process and will be available in the highest-possible resolution as mastered from 24bit/192kHz digital transfers by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering. The film, too, has been restored and it’s all sequenced in the order it was played. The result is a compelling document that shows Young stripping his music down to just voice, guitar, harmonica, and piano. In this intimate setting, he’s relaxed and jovial while telling stories, but intense and focused while performing.
Young Shakespeare will be available in a variety of configurations, all available to pre-order today from the Neil Young Archives Greedy Hand Store, as well as general music retailers. There will be a CD edition and an LP configuration available from all retailers. A deluxe box set edition will also be pressed up, featuring the CD, vinyl, and DVD. A note for digital audiophiles: if you purchase any of these versions from Greedy Hand, you’ll get free hi-res digital downloads of the album. A standalone DVD will also be available to through the Greedy Hand Store.
To preview the set, Neil’s team has released “Tell Me Why” as a digital single and music video and has also posted a trailer for the project. It’s sure to whet your appetite ahead of the March 26 release of Young Shakespeare. You can secure your copy from the links below!
Watch: Tell Me Why (live)
Neil Young, Young Shakespeare (Reprise, 2021)
CD/DVD/LP box: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Your Local Record Shop / Greedy Hand
CD: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Your Local Record Shop / Greedy Hand
LP: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Your Local Record Shop / Greedy Hand
DVD: Greedy Hand
Digital: Neil Young Archives (Streaming) / XStream (Digital Download) / Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
- Tell Me Why
- Old Man
- The Needle and the Damage Done
- Dance Dance Dance
- Cowgirl in the Sand
- A Man Needs a Maid/Heart Of Gold
- Journey Through the Past
- Don’t Let It Bring You Down
- Down by the River
- Sugar Mountain