By Kyle McCraw
For a little context, 1968 was the same year Neil Young left Buffalo Springfield and the year before the release of his first solo record. So, it should come as no shock that a little more than half of the songs here are from his Buffalo Springfield days (including “Mr. Soul,” and “Broken Arrow” among others), the rest appearing on his solo debut, except for the title track (which was first released on Decade).
The recording itself is very clean, with just Young and his guitar, and with the intimacy of the set and the quality of the performance, many may find these recordings often rival their album versions. Regardless, the real jewels of this release are the little bits of Young’s storytelling and interacting with the audience between songs. Whether he’s talking about getting fired from a bookstore because of some “pills” he was taking or about how often he was out of tune with the other guitarist of Buffalo Springfield, it gives a much more human picture of the songwriter than just hearing his songs ever could. He’s very funny here, and the slight timidity in his manner seems in keeping with this transition period in his career.
Traditionally, live albums are thought of as just for the rabid fans, but this one provides a nice starting point for casual fans to discover or rediscover Neil Young. And Buffalo Springfield fans get stripped down versions of some great songs, as well. But, you really should listen to it all the way through; something gets lost otherwise.