Neil Young is taking a page from the Bob Dylan playbook by creating his own version of the Bootleg Series. He has yet to roll out exact details, but the plan is to take famous concert bootlegs, track down the actual master recordings and release them himself via his website.
“We have ripped off all of the original art from the bootlegs,” he wrote on the Neil Young Archives. “No expense will be spared. The only difference will be the radically better sound from our masters.”
First up is a solo acoustic show taped February 1st, 1971 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles. The bootleg label Rubber Dubber, in flagrant violation of U.S. copyright law, released it on vinyl under the name I’m So Happy That Y’all Came Down back in the Seventies. Young plans on bootlegging the bootleggers by using artwork from the original release. Frank Zappa did something very similar with his Beat the Boots! series in the early Nineties.
“We are going full bore with our series right now, so write letters in to me with your favorite bootlegs and we will find them and use the best audio we can locate, either from the NYA vaults or somewhere else,” he wrote. “Watch for this coming soon. We are building it starting today.”
This is one of several archival releases Young is planning at the moment. His long-awaited LP Homegrown, which was recorded and shelved in 1975, is finally coming out June 19th. He’s also prepping a 1990 Crazy Horse club gig, a 2003 stop on the Greendale tour and a collection of late Eighties studio sessions he’s dubbing Road of Plenty.
In recent weeks, he’s shared five homemade Fireside Session acoustic gigs on the Neil Young Archives that are packed with rarities, such as “Through My Sails,” “On The Beach” and “New Mama.” Just don’t expect to see him play in person anytime soon. “May be a couple of years before I feel safe asking people to come and see/hear me,” he recently wrote on the NYA. “That’s just the way it is.”