Anybody who’s a Neil Young fan, has to check out this live stream of the 22-year-old Neil’s finally-to-be-released Live from the Canterbury House, recorded in Ann Arbor in 1968, here. The show where the single “Sugar Mountain” was recorded. Damn, I loved that record when it came out...still do...seems like it was actually a B-side, can’t even remember the single. The full recording has been sitting somewhere since it was originally recorded, coming out first of December.
This is very early solo Neil, just after the breakup of Buffalo Springfield and before the release of his first solo record. Not the best ever, but great for the hippy 1968-style patter about guitar tuning, pills and minds being blown, and early versions of “Birds” and “Sugar Mountain” if nothing else. Sugar Mountain sounds so tossed-out, but so freakin’ perfect...simply one of the best songs ever recorded about the sadness of the loss of youth. He calls it an “oldie” in the show, must have written it when he was about 18. Not a lot of 18-year-old’s songs holdin’ up nearly 45 years later. “Old Laughing Lady” and “Broken Arrow” are also nice moments.
Thanks to Bob Boilen and his great All Songs Considered program on NPR, for this and so much more.