Sugar Mountain, the third live release in anticipation of Neil Young’s forthcoming Blu-Ray/DVD archives project, finds the bard at the University of Michigan, aged 23, soon after Buffalo Springfield’s inevitable split. One of Young’s earliest known (recorded) solo performances, the set exemplifies the singer-songwriters preternatural talent both in the material and delivery.
While the acoustic performances (many of which appear on the self-titled solo debut) feel as effortless and professional as ever, it is the between song banter that, in retrospect, proves a fascinating look at the artist as a young man. At times goofy, at times nervous, Young cracks bad jokes and anecdotes — all endearing — easily winning the audience over. The banter, in stark contrast to the material, adds a sense of levity to the set long before he introduces “Winterlong” as his “happy” song. The disc is an excellent appetizer — now bring on those archives, Neil.
Related: Neil Young :: Archives Box Set, January 27, 2009
MP3: Neil Young :: On The Way Home (Live)
Amazon: Neil Young – Sugar Mountain-Live At Canterbury House 1968