Neil Young
13 Days of Neil
RustWorks, Vol. 14
Looking Forward

I recently acquired Chris Davis’ fantastic Jerry Garcia compilation, “8 Days of Jerome” and thought that somebody should do the same for Neil Young. Well, taking my own advice I embarked on this little project in May 2011 and, hoping others will enjoy it, decided to share. The title, “13 Days of Neil” is an obvious rip-off from Chris and Neil (Lucky 13), but feel free to call it whatever you want. Neil’s birthday is on 11/12 and this set contains 14 volumes. Yeah, it makes no sense.

Vol. 14-Looking Forward

I can only believe that Neil has many more years of productive songwriting and performing left. To imagine a world in which Neil Young is no longer a part is too, too painful and sad to contemplate. We begin and end, of course, with RITFW; the 1989 Nagoya performance a stark contrast to the 2009 London rendition with its delightful false endings. The two Hitchhikers is another study in contrasts. The trilogy of Love and War, Peaceful Valley Boulevard, and You Never Call, is among the most powerful imagery and singing about loss and death I’ve ever heard from Neil. And unlike TTN, this imagery is fueled by cold stark reality, not tequila and dope. Neil’s reached an age where the finality of death is informing his work in ways it never has before. Indeed, though he’s been surrounded by death and loss his whole life, it is somehow different now. To watch and hear a man struggling to come to terms with his own life so eloquently is extraordinary. A privilege. Rounding out this final volume is Neil’s ode to his guitars, This Old Guitar, with the lovely Emmylou backing him up; Big Time, “I’m still living in dreamtime”; and a plaintive, bittersweet, gorgeous Distant Camera with one of my favorite Neil Young lyrics: “All I need is this song of love, to sing for you.”

Indeed. That’s all we need, too. Thank you, Neil

Rockin' in the Free World (Nagoya, 1989-05-05)
Looking Forward (Sacramento, 1999-03-17)
Old Man (Stray Gators, Toronto, 1973-01-15)
Hitchhiker (Berlin, 2003-04-30)
Hitchhiker (Baltimore, 2011-04-28)
Love and War (Chicago, 2011-05-07)
Peaceful Valley Boulevard (Chicago, 2011-05-07)
You Never Call (Chicago, 2011-05-07)
This Old Guitar (Prairie Wind Band, Tinley Park, 2005-09-18)
Distant Camera (Oakland, 1999-03-20)
Big Time (Crazy Horse, Live Oak, 1997-08-23)
Rockin' in the Free World (Electric Band, London, 2009-06-27)
Complete Day (Copenhagen, 2003-04-27)

The selection process for this compilation was quite simple. I attempted to pace the songs in a loose chronological order, creating counterpoint with slow and uptempo tunes, and above all include versions of songs that I can enjoy over and over. In that sense, this is more of a retrospective than a greatest hits or best of compilation. Basically, it’s just a bunch of songs that just seem to go well together. Of course, the fact that Neil is so prolific made this project fairly mind-boggling simply in terms of available material. Clearly, I avoided any officially released material, or any that was likely to be released in the foreseeable future.

This collection is also a showcase for the great people and bands with whom Neil has played over the years: Danny, Bert, Nicolette, all those Nashville players, Crazy Horse, the Stray Gators and Santa Monica Flyers, the Springfield, CSN, Pegi. Listen closely and you’ll hear all of them at one point or another. This goes out to Long Grain in particular. If not for Ben Keith, I fear there would be no Neil Young as we’ve come to know, and love, him.

A word about compilations: I compiled these performances for my personal listening pleasure, and share them for the same reason. There are many Neil Young compilations available out there: “Archives be Damned 2000” (and 2006), “Acoustic Masterpieces,” “A Perfect Echo.” Of course, the one must-have compilation is the officially released “Archives.” Nothing beats the original tracks themselves. This compilation is not meant to replace any of the aforementioned. It, simply, is what it is.

I urge you to seek out the original performances (they’re all available somewhere). Thank you so much to the original tapers and uploaders and all who share this great music (what we do here at DIME is a rare and precious thing). And, of course, thanks, Neil.

November 2011

Lineage: All recordings obtained from various torrent sites (DIME, Trader’s Den, HungerCity, TapeCity, Zomb): FLAC > WAV > CD-R > FLAC (8) > DIME
Notes on Sound Quality: All Audience Recordings except as noted, the SQ is Excellent to Excellent+ throughout except*
*SQ is Fair to good
Convert to lossy for personal use only
Please support this artist-purchase official recordings, attend live performances regularly, and visit the websites:

RustWorks, Vol. 1: Sugar Mountain
RustWorks, Vol. 2: Heart of Gold
RustWorks, Vol. 3: Tired Eyes
RustWorks, Vol. 4: On the Beach
RustWorks, Vol. 5: Interstate
RustWorks, Vol. 6: This Old Guitar
RustWorks, Vol. 7: Let it Shine
RustWorks, Vol. 8: Out of the Blue
RustWorks, Vol. 9: Into the Black
RustWorks, Vol. 10: Transformer Man
RustWorks, Vol. 11-Part I: Don’t Spook the Horse
RustWorks, Vol. 11-Part II: Don’t Spook the Horse
RustWorks, Vol. 12: Stringman
RustWorks, Vol. 13: Borrowed Tune
RustWorks, Vol. 14: Looking Forward