Contact Us

Neil Young, ‘Live at the Cellar Door’ – Album Review

Reprise Records

Unlike Bob Dylan‘s similarly themed ‘Bootleg Series,’ the various volumes in Neil Young‘s ‘Archives’ haven’t stretched out much. Aside from 2009’s massive early-career box set and a couple of later concert documents, the albums in Young’s ongoing series mostly have been live shows from the first few years of his solo period.

The latest, ‘Live at the Cellar Door,’ collects 13 songs from Young’s six-show stand at the Washington, D.C., venue from late November and early December 1970. And like many other volumes in the ‘Archives Performance Series,’ this one chronicles solo acoustic cuts that strip some of Young’s earliest classics to their barest states.

That means the piano and acoustic-guitar performances of ‘Cinnamon Girl’ and ‘Down by the River’ are less epic than what you’re used to. But they’re way more intimate, capturing both Young’s breath between verses and the clinking of audience members’ drinks. The arrangements, less fussy than the studio versions that were released a year earlier, yield to Young’s folk roots.

The whole performance does, in fact. ‘Live at the Cellar Door’ unplugs and finds the comfort in just a voice and a couple of basic instruments. But so do several other ‘Archives’ volumes. And this one doesn’t seem as epic as the Massey Hall show that was released in 2007.

Still, fans will dig into the bounty of tracks from ‘After the Gold Rush,’ which was released just a few months before these shows, and the Buffalo Springfield songs in the sets. Plus, the rarity ‘Bad Fog of Loneliness’ and an early version of ‘Old Man’ (which wouldn’t appear on record for another two years) are welcome additions to Young’s canon. But how about something a little more electric next time? Or, better yet, another box picking up where the first one left off?

Next: Top 10 Neil Young Songs

Best of US 103.1

Recommended for You

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

*Please note that your prizes and activities will not be shared between programs within our VIP network.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Please solve this simple math problem to prove that you are a real person.

Sign up for US 103 Ultimate VIP Club quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!

Sign up to have exclusive US 103 Ultimate VIP Club contests, events, coupons, presales, and much more delivered to you for FREE.