ROIO of the Week
[Recordings of Indeterminate Origin]




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Neil Young
Tonight's the Night Demos (Studio sessions at Rentals Rehearsal Studios, Aug-Sept 1973)

Neil Young's Tonight's the Night demos are one of the Holy Grails of rock. Most of us who first heard the album, Tonight's the Night (1975), were simply shattered. I remember lending it to a friend whose brother was a drug addict and he refused to return it for months. Finally when it came back, it was in tatters and scratched up beyond belief. It was just one of those albums that helped you make it through the night.

On this album, Young paid tribute to two of his fellow musicians, Danny Whitten (leader of Crazy Horse that often backed Young) and Young's roadie, Bruce Berry, both of whom overdosed on heroin. The pain Young felt in the passing of his friends was palpable and for many, it was frightening and eerie. Young said then that their spirits were present in the recording studio. That spirit came across more due to the organic recording nature of this album. The backing vocals were live, when Young sang further or nearer to the mike, you could tell, and on this demo, the echo is more pronounced.

But the beauty of the demos are that they confirm how fluid the performances were and how they could not be studio-fied. And that's why the raw quality is so spine tingling.

Tonight's the Night was recorded and mixed before On The Beach (1974) was even started. As Young explained: "Tonight's the Night didn't come right out after it was recorded because it wasn't finished. It just wasn't in the right space, it wasn't in the right order, the concept wasn't right. I had to get the colour right, so it was not so down that it would make people restless."

To this end, Young included Whitten's Let's Go Downtown which isn't on the demos. That track emphasised Whitten's presence. The other crucial track not on the demos is Albuquerque. Again, Young's intuition is spot on. Albuquerque was one of the most sadly beautiful tracks on the album.

And the choices were tough. These are what Young left off, Walk On (which matches the tempo of Downtown but without its roughness. This finally appeared on On The Beach), For The Turnstiles [On The Beach], Winterlong (which also found its way finally on Decade), the rare Bad Fog of Loneliness (which dates back to 1970, only found as a live version on Neil Young's Red Rocks Live DVD, 2000) and the lovely Believe Me [also known as Traces]. This last track belongs in every Young ballad collection.

And now, a final word from Young, which explains why Tonight's the Night is so important in his career and what drives him as a musician: "Everybody said that Harvest (1972) was a trip. To me, I'd happened to be in the right place at the right time to do a really mellow record that was really open, because that's where my life was at the time.

"But that was only for a couple of months. If I'd stayed there, I don't know where I'd be right now - if I'd stayed real mellow. I'm just not that way any more. I think Harvest was probably the finest record that I've made, but that's really a restricting adjective for me. It's really fine… but that's it." - Philip Cheah

Click on the two highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality, stereo MP3s - sample rate of 192 kibit/s). As far as we can ascertain, these two tracks have never been officially released.

These two tracks are no longer available for download. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you want to download these tracks at a later time.

 
Track 01 Tonight's The Night
Track 02 Mellow My Mind
Track 03 Roll Another Number
Track 04
Tired Eyes
Track 05 Speakin' Out
Track 06 Walk On
Track 07 For The Turnstiles
Track 08 Bad Fog Of Loneliness (3.1MB)
Track 09 New Mama
Track 10 Winterlong
Track 11 Borrowed Time
Track 12
Believe Me [aka Traces] (3.3MB)

All tracks were recorded at Studio Instrumental Rentals Rehearsal Studios, August - September 1973. Tracks 7, 8,10, 12 recorded at Broken Arrow Ranch February - March 1974. Track 11 is from the Time Fades Away period and Track 6 is either from 1973 or 1974.

Click here to visit AllofMP3.com to buy Neil Young's On The Beach and Tonight's The Night.





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