Neil Young: Live At the Cellar Door

neil young liveNeil Young
Live At the Cellar Door
(Silver Bow Productions)

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From the Neil Young archives comes another early live recording of this truly iconic Canadian musician. The 13-song Live At the Cellar Door was recorded at the infamous D.C. club in 1970.

Starting off with “Tell Me Why,” Neil’s high, odd vocal is as lilting and delicate as it has ever been, but it’s the second song, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” where his warble really works. “After The Gold Rush” features Neil switching to a simply played piano for a perfect read of his great classic title track.

“Old Man” is very quiet and “Birds” (again Neil is on piano) presents a cutting lyric of lost love over a slightly clumsy rhythm. “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” is big and expansive with Neil singing strong and high, putting the metal into his acoustic guitar strumming. The piano read on “Cinnamon Girl” is pretty interesting, lending the song less of a rock feel. Neil says it is the first time he’s done it on piano. We’re back on familiar ground with Neil on acoustic, singing clear as a bell on the countrified “I Am a Child” and of course the nasty cutting of “Down By the River” sees Neil’s voice slicing through.

Neil takes half of the last tune playing with the inside harp of the nine-foot Steinway, joking more about the piano then playing it. His laconic wit is on good full display in his patter and the song about pot smoking, “Flying On the Ground Is Wrong,” is a decent ender.

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