Following a near death brain aneurysm in 2005, it almost appeared Neil Young’s long awaited archives project would never see the light of day. Coincidentally, perhaps those dire circumstances had Young jumping the gun on a few of his lingering projects, which included his vocal anti-war album, Living With War. However, back when Neil was better known as the “Young” in Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, Neil delivered his pre-grunge outfit, Crazy Horse in all their earnest glory at New York City’s Fillmore East on March 6 & 7, 1970. Released as Live at the Fillmore East, this marks first release of the Young archives series.
Featuring Crazy Horse’s drug addled guitarist Danny Whitten, who sermons his junkie anthem “Come on Baby Let’s Go Downtown,” this ’70 version of the Horse features Ralph Molina (drums), Billy Talbot (bass) and Jack Nitscke (piano). Although there are some short gems, “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere,” “Winterlong” and the rare rockabilly original – “Wonderin,” Fillmore ’70 is built around the epic jams of “Down by the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand.” Young’s fuzzy noodling, along with the steady support of Crazy Horse, provided the fuel for these jammy-escapes that captured the go-for it musical spirit of the early 70’s. However, one wishes that the release contained a bit more meat to mix, after all, the two nights must have produced more than just six songs. Although "too short" is an easy complaint, we’ll take what we can get, but the "Cowgirl" and "Down by the River" make Fillmore ’70 well worth the listen.