Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Neil Young -Tonight The Nights 1973-74 (Acetate)

Size: 90.7 MB
Bitrate: 320
Found in WWW
Artwork Included

Of all legendary released or unreleased Neil Young albums, none has received more accolades, criticism or prompted more discussion by fans &/or critics than "Tonight's The Night".

Although the released LP (issued June 20,1975) is supposidly closer to the original concept, it's those the alternate versions that Neil (or someone close to him) has mentioned in numerous interviews over the years that fuels interest in what might have been. Details were few, except that "most" of the released songs have always been part of the story, which songs were anybody's guess. Even the often-mention Elliott Roberts stage play version has never been detailed. Then, about 25 years ago, I came across a box of acetates at a record swap meet. 

Neil Young & Graham Nash
at The Roxy October 13, 1973
Some of them were labeled; some were not. A few of the labels bore the names of unknown artists in faded type. One Columbia Studios disc had "NEIL YOUNG" in type so faded that it was more embossed than legible; the "B" side label was blank. I bought it, carefully put it in my record carry-case, headed for the door and went home. I had no idea about what I'd found, but I knew that I'd found enough for one day.

What I found that day was one of the who-knows-how-many different "Tonight's The Night" acetates. Although seven of the twelve acetate cuts did end up on the 1975 Reprise LP, the song order was completely different (and included only one take of the title song). Three of the remaining five songs were eventually released, but the other two are still unreleased, nearly thirty years later. Expected but missing was the no-break-between-song chatter that had been one of the few recurring "original concept" rumors. 

There is a small amount of extra "musician noise" at the end of some cuts, but it is always followed by cold silence.

As it turned out, nothing unexpected (based on countless discussions and published articles) would appear sonically on the acetate. Invariably, accounts of the numerous unreleased versions of this album have always implied a cohesive "story" (i.e., starting and ending with the title song), this previously undocumented version seems unfocused as it rolls on like any other collection of songs drawn from various dates.

The album starts off just like the released LP, with "Tonight's The Night (Part One)", followed by "Mellow My Mind", "Roll Another Number", "Tired Eyes" and "Speakin' Out" -- out of sequence (all from the released LP). But that's where the similarities end and the interesting stuff begins. Two tracks from "On The Beach" (July 10, 1974) follow, with "Walk On" closing side one and "For The Turnstiles" opening side two. The still-unreleased "Bad Fog Of Loneliness" is next. 

Neil Young 1973 Photo
How this [alleged] Crazy Horse track ended up in this project has been debated for years, but the mood & performance fits seamlessly with the Santa Monica Flyers cuts. This slow, plodding recording is classic Crazy Horse, highlighted by the "dueling" lead guitars of Old Black (Neil) & the sweet pedal steel guitar (Ben Keith). "New Mama" (from the released album) follows, with "Winterlong" (from "Decade" October 28, 1977) and then "Borrowed Tune" (also from the Reprise LP). 

The acetate closes with the second unreleased song, a solo acoustic version of "Traces". A well-known leftover from the '74 CSNY tour, the song is most-likely an unused demo from the unfinished "Human Highway" project rather than a new recording cut specifically for this project. Even so, the song of hope for an unresolved relationship closes the set well in this symbolic summing up of the program's theme. After twenty-five years of listening to "Tonight's The Night" as Neil presented it to us, it's disorienting (although certainly interesting) to listen to this acetate. Nonetheless, of all the Neil Young tapes available from tape collectors/ traders, maybe ten of them are really worth seeking out; this one is ESSENTIAL.

Neil Young - Tonight's The Night Acetate (1973-74) 
The Original Recorded Version 

♦ Neil Young – vocal, piano, guitar, harmonica, vibes
♦ Ben Keith – pedal steel guitar, vocal, slide guitar
♦ Nils Lofgren – guitar, piano, vocal
♦ Danny Whitten – guitar, vocal
♦ Jack Nitzsche – electric piano, piano
♦ Billy Talbot – bass
♦ Tim Drummond – bass
♦ Ralph Molina – drums, vocal
♦ Kenny Buttrey – drums
♦ George Whitsell – vocal on New Mama

Band credits
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 9 credited to Neil Young and The Santa Monica Flyers
Track 6 and 7 are from On The Beach
Track 8 on side one credited to Neil Young and Crazy Horse
Track 10 is from Decade
Track 12 is a leftover from the '74 CSNY tour

01. Tonight's The Night
02. Melllow My Mind
03. Roll Another Number
04. Tired Eyes
05. Speakin' Out
06. Walk On
07. For The Turnstiles
08. Bad Fog Of Loneliness
09. New Mama
10. Winterlong
11. Borrowed Tune
12. Traces

1. Link
2. Link