Time And Words (no label)
Cobo Hall, Detroit, MI – January 9th, 1973
Disc 1, 50:42. On The Way Home, Tell Me Why, LA, Journey Through The Past, I Am A Child, Sugar Mountain, Borrowed Tune, Out on The Weekend, Band Introduction/Harvest, Old Man, Heart Of Gold
Disc 2, 56:39. Audience/Tune up, Come Along And Say You Will, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, Time Fades Away, New Mama, Alabama, Don’t Be Denied, Last Dance, Cinnamon Girl, Lookout Joe, Words (Between The Lines of Age)
Neil Youngs Time Fades Away tour with his made up band of the Stray Gators, featuring writer and Neil’s friend Jack Nitzsche, has been labeled as “legendary”. Well, Neil never looked at it that way. This was his turn to start becoming a disillusioned rock star, because he started feeling a distance from his audience. He had voice problems throughout this tour and worst of all, his band demanded more money per show than Neil was willing to pay to play. (Read Mansion The Hill. Neil is very much about the money.)
Neil Young did play Cobo Hall on January 8th. and 9th. of ’73, and this may be the first silver CD of that show. At the time, a majority of this concert makes up new material. Many of these songs would be played very sparingly over the decades, if at all. judging by the reaction of the crowd at times, it seems his fan base still had yet to get to know Neil, at the time because as we all know now, Neil loves to tour on unreleased material.
This is a very good audience recording capturing Neil Young in his southern rocker, middle of the road phase. It starts out with “On The Way Home” and while Neils acoustic guitar is clear, his vocals are weak, and a little distant, but the natural acoustics of the venue add some fine echo. As the acoustic set continues through to “Out On The Weekend” his voice and the guitar grow stronger.
The mic can be herd a little to strongly at times being moved, sounds like it was dropped, but I’ll give the tapper credit, the music is always up front and balanced. Neil talks to the audience after “tell Me Why”, but it’s not clearly audible, he does say something about not playing any Buffalo Springfield songs. A girl close to the taper can be heard shouting “Buffalo Springfield”.
While playing “Sugar Mountain” Neil tries to bring the audience in on the vocals. No one starts singing, Neil asks a couple time for them to sing along, and instead people start clapping. Neil stops singing, keeps playing his guitar, and says “I must have have plastic shield in front of me, because I’m just not feelin it”. Then someone right next to the taper yells, “I don’t know the lyrics”. So instead, the audience settles in for a long clap along to the song and Neil plays a pretty good version stretched out for about 10 minuets. Probably the longest version of Sugar Mountain available.
Harvest starts the Stray Gator part of the show and the audience reacts with a loud applause to the sight of the band coming on stage. The music is captured in a very full and balanced recording. Old Man receives a huge ovation with the opening chords, being recognized. There is no banjo playing, but Ben Keith does add his usual excellent steel guitar playing, as he does with Heart of Gold as well.
Disc 2 starts with a long pause by the band, and a lot of tuning and stage checks for the mic. The taper can also be heard moving the mic as well, very loudly at that. The band is very raw and tight. The natural acoustics of the venue captured on tape add to the overall thrill of this release. There is a cut between songs New Mama and Alabama, and again between Don’t Be Denied and Last Dance.
Cinnamon Girl is exceptionally raw and fast, with only having Neil on guitar. This is an overall excellent recording, given the year. Now having January 9th. added to the fold makes this a must have for any Neil Young fan. Also, whoever this “No Label” maker is, if it’s the same behind some of the other “No Label” releases, keep up the good work. They have released some very fine and rare recordings. Love your anonymity.