Sound — 10
This Neil Young Archives Performance Series release, Live at Massey Hall 1971 finds Neil Young, solo, singing some yet to be released songs that were soon to become timeless classics to his native Canadian audience playing acoustic guitar and sometimes the piano. His strong, clear and beautiful voice and distinctive acoustic guitar playing and the overall sound quality of this recording are most impressive.
Lyrics — 10
By 1970 Neil had become so prolific as a songwriter, the songs were flowing out at a hundred miles an hour giving him an abundance of material to perform live. His lyrics were honest and direct dealing with subjects of love and lonliness, longing and searching for that something, a maid, a heart of gold perhaps? In this intimate acoustic setting, Neil delivers these songs in their truest form. Neil's vocal style has had it's fair share of detractors over the years. His singing is an acquired taste but one that I really enjoy. If his vocals aren't your cup of tea, give this release a chance because his singing is beautiful and high, emotive and very strong despite his shyness as a performer at this early stage of his career.
Overall Impression — 10
Neil has release many fine recordings and as far as live acoustic fare goes, this one is very hard to top. Every song stands out. The Harvest tracks, performed before the release of the Harvest album are particularly stunning. Listen to Heart Of Gold, in it's infant stages - before being crafted into his only #1 single of his career - here, played on piano in the middle of A Man Needs A Maid. Some of his electric songs are given acoustic treatment such as Ohio, Down By The River and Cowgirl In The Sand. You can here these sung more emotively, without the Crazy Horse treatment, right here. Journey Through The Past and Bad Fog Of Lonliness are other notable performances here, I have never heard better takes on these songs. I treasure Live At Massey Hall in my Neil Young collection, it definately sits near the top of that and a joy to play and share with almost anyone who appreciates great songs sung beautifully.