The next chapter of Neil Young’s ongoing archival series will spotlight a concert he played with the Stray Gators at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on February 5th, 1973. Titled simply TUSCALOOSA, it will come out June 7th on a single CD and a three-sided vinyl album with etched artwork on side four.
“It’s from the period right around Harvest and Tonight’s the Night,” Young told Rolling Stone earlier this year. “For me, it’s edgy. It’s like those mellow songs with an edge. It’s really trippy to be down in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and singing those songs from Harvest and the songs that we were doing for Time Fades Away before it came out. I found this thing and it had such a great attitude to it. I just loved the whole night, so I put that together with [engineer] John Hanlon.”
This tour was previously documented on the live LP Times Fades Away, but that was recorded after original Stray Gators drummer Kenny Buttrey left the group and was replaced by Johnny Barbata. This show is from the Buttrey period. It is also incomplete since they played about 20 songs most nights and this set just features 11. According to Hanlon, the show tape didn’t capture the whole thing and “The Loner” was out of tune and “On The Way Home” was simply on too many other live albums.
In a letter to a fan on his Neil Young Archives website, Young defended his decision to release the show with songs missing. “We don’t like to release a lot of songs on many albums, so ‘On The Way Home’ went by the wayside,” he wrote. “‘The Loner’ was just not good enough. I still make those decisions because I am here on the planet. However, those two versions will be available in the archives for members to hear. I have no plans to release everything I have ever recorded. Some of it is just not good enough.”
Neil Young is currently in the studio with Crazy Horse recording their first LP since guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro retired and Nils Lofgren came back into the fold to replace him. It’s unclear when that album will be ready, but Young says that his unreleased 1975 LP Homegrown will be his next archival release after TUSCALOOSA.
TUSCALOOSA Track List
Here We Are In The Years (3:56)
After The Gold Rush (4:42)
Out On The Weekend (5:29)
Old Man (4:17)
Heart Of Gold (3:48)
Time Fades Away (6:10)
Lookout Joe (4:59)
New Mama (3:01)
Don’t Be Denied (8:09)