September 11, 2013 – 2:59 pm

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Santa Cruz 1977 Compilation [no label, 2CD]

Various venues? Santa Cruz, California; Summer 1977. Very good soundboard (previously uncirculated).

The Ducks were a short-lived band of Neil Young, Bob Mosley, Jeff Blackburn and Johnny C (Craviotto) in the ’70s.

This is what Pat Mead posted at

During the summer of 1977, Neil Young joined a local band in Santa Cruz, California and played with them in bars and clubs around Santa Cruz for several weeks. Jeff Blackburn, a San Francisco musician in the 1960s, first met Neil during Neil’s Buffalo Springfield days. The pair had renewed their friendship in the spring of 1977 when they jammed together at a birthday celebration for Jerry Miller (of Moby Grape fame). At the time, Blackburn’s group, The Jeff Blackburn Band, had been in need of a lead guitarist. Blackburn invited Neil to fill the spot and, wonder of wonders, Neil accepted! The band was renamed The Ducks, Neil rented a house overlooking the beach, and the adventure began.

In addition to Blackburn and Young, The Ducks featured Bob Mosley (an original member of Moby Grape) on bass, and Johnny Craviotta (aka “Johnny C”) on drums. (Johnny C’s pedigree is a little murky - someone recently posted that he was a veteran of Blue Cheer, but I find that hard to believe. I remember reading at the time that he had done some recording sessions with Arlo Guthrie and with Ry Cooder, and those associations better fit his musical personality.) Every Duck could sing and all except Johnny could write, so The Ducks’ setlists were very democratic. Each member took his turn on vocals in fairly strict order.

At some point during this period, Neil and Jeff Blackburn co-wrote My My, Hey Hey but that song was never performed by The Ducks. Neil’s contributions included compositions from the late ’70s like Homegrown, Long May You Run, and a handful of songs that later turned up in much softer arrangements on the Comes A Time album. Highlights included a scorching electric Mr Soul (Neil told the local entertainment rag, Good Times, that “these guys do the song better than the Buffalo Springfield did it”), as well as the unique instrumental guitar showcase Windward Passage. The group also did a fine version of Are You Ready For The Country?

Click here for more.

Thanks to grner1 for sharing the tracks at Dime; and to ethiessen1 for the artwork.

grner1 noted:

This just came my way from a friend who I recently met here in Santa Cruz. It came from outside of the “tape collecting world” from cassettes squirreled away many years ago and were just transferred to share for the first time. The other three members besides Neil Young were associated with Moby Grape and this band only did perhaps 20 shows or so at most, and all in the Santa Cruz area. No soundboard recordings of live shows have circulated till now and nothing has ever been released in any form by this band. I transferred two 90-minute compilations of live tracks that were not well labeled but they are from more than one night with the likely venues being The Catalyst and The Crossroads.

Probable lineage:
Multi-track masters > Dolby B encoded Maxell UDXLII cassette (unknown recording decks).
Transfer [2013-08-27]: Nakamichi Dragon (Dolby B decoded) > Macintosh with Digidesign Audiomedia III sound card > Pro Tools (minor “nip and tuck” edits, normalization & tracking - no EQ or additional noise reduction) > AIFF > xACT (Flac level 8 files with sector boundaries verified).

Compilation 2 is shared here.

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (224 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Please Do Not Hammer The Links. Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. The tracks should still be around. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Disc 1 (52:36)
Track 101. [cuts in] A Deeper Mystery (4.4MB)
Track 102. talk (1.7MB)
Track 103. Gypsy Wedding (4.5MB)
Track 104. talk (1.4MB)
Track 105. Bye Bye Johnny (5.4MB)
Track 106. talk (1.2MB)
Track 107. Long May You Run (7.0MB)
Track 108. talk (Neil broke a string) (2.4MB)
Track 109. Sailor Man (7.9MB)
Track 110. Younger Days (6.5MB)
Track 111. talk (2.4MB)
Track 112. Love You Forever (10.6MB)
Track 113. Gone Dead Train (6.2MB)
Track 114. [cuts in on first notes] Hold On Boys (8.0MB)
Track 115. Sail Away (9.0MB)
Track 116. talk before set break (704k)
Track 117. Silver Wings (9.1MB)

Disc 2 (35:26)
Track 201. [cuts in on first notes] Two Riders (8.9MB)
Track 202. Poor Man (6.8MB)
Track 203. Mr Soul (8.2MB)
Track 204. talk (984k)
Track 205. Tore Down (6.4MB)
Track 206. [cuts in on first notes] Wide Eyed And Willing (7.2MB)
Track 207. Truckin’ Man (5.4MB)
Track 208. Don’t Let Em Get To You (8.2MB)
Track 209. talk (1.3MB)
Track 210. [cuts in] Long May You Run [cut] (6.2MB)

Neil Young - guitar, harmonica, vocals
Bob Mosley - bass, vocals
Jeff Blackburn - guitar, vocals
Johnny C. (Craviotto) - drums, vocals

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  1. 10 Responses to “THE DUCKS (WITH NEIL YOUNG) - SANTA CRUZ 1977”

  2. Thanks, bigO!

    By NAMoosedog on Sep 11, 2013

  3. This is a stupendous wonderful discovery! Will there be the other 90 minute compilation mentioned to follow this? The sound is fantastic. If the first CD is indicative, these versions rock! Neil sounds revitalized here, but they are all great. Thanks to Neil and the Ducks, and to anyone involved in getting this recorded, tuned up, and made available to us. Good show!

    By 5yearsnojob on Sep 11, 2013

  4. Johnny Craviotto (Johnny C.) also played with Ry Cooder, Claudia Lennear, Buffy St. Marie, and a later version of Moby Grape. Johnny now runs the Craviotto Drum Company, manufacturing solid shell drums.

    Thanks bigO!

    By Dingus on Sep 11, 2013

  5. one curious bit of info here, when Neil was bouncing around Yorkville clubs in toronto there was a very popular pre punk band called the Ugly Ducklings [and more often referred to as just the Ducks] that he could not have avoided knowing about. They were huge in Ontario, Mick Jagger said they were his new favourite band, and even today original copies of their first album titled somewhere Outside demand ridiculously high prices on auction sites. I`m wondering if the version of the Ducks was named by Neil, and even moreso if it was a slight tip of the hat to a very strong rock and roll band from his Canuck background. Anyone know if Neil was responsible for naming this bunch ?

    By sluggo on Sep 11, 2013

  6. 5yearsonjob: There’s a second compilation on Dime.

    CD1 - 40:40
    101 [1:08] announcer intro, talk, tune ups and applause
    102 [3:43] Poor Man
    103 [3:51] Tore Down
    104 [4:47] Your Love
    105 [5:11] Two Riders
    106 [4:12] Gone Dead Train
    107 [0:15] Neil talk
    108 [4:36] Little Wing
    109 [3:37] Truckin’ Man
    110 [0:17] talk
    111 [2:31] Hey Now
    112 [0:21] talk before end of set
    113 [5:54] Silver Wings
    114 [0:17] thanks and applause at end of set

    CD2 - 53:02
    201 [4:27] Wild Eyed And Willing
    202 [4:25] Human Highway
    203 [2:52] Gypsy Wedding
    204 [3:42] Honky Tonk Man
    205 [4:44] Hold On Boys
    206 [4:05] I’m Ready
    207 [4:28] Windward Passage [cut]
    208 [5:19] Mr. Soul
    209 [3:02] Car Tune
    210 [0:32] talk
    211 [5:44] Leaving Us Now
    212 [6:06] Sail Away
    213 [0:24] talk before end of set
    214 [3:12] Do Me Right [cut on last notes]

    Neil Young - guitar, harmonica, vocals
    Bob Mosley - bass, vocals
    Jeff Blackburn - guitar, vocals
    Johnny C. (Craviotto) - drums, vocals

    By n.m.i. on Sep 11, 2013

  7. Is the the same show(s) that appeared a few years back or is this one new? I will have to check my phatbox to see if it matches up.

    By swapin" on Sep 11, 2013

  8. Both sets also on ‘THE CLOCK THAT WENT BACKWARDS’
    in MP3 format if’n you don’t like fat flac.

    By Gmal on Sep 11, 2013

  9. Trippy… Thanx!

    By Timmy on Sep 11, 2013

  10. What is this? A crazy horse deja vu? Long may you run is 1. run, a bit amateur? The more i listen, the more I hear the Neil Young which i like, which i miss somehow. Seems they had fun, these guys.
    Thank you !

    By Kint on Sep 12, 2013

  11. Thank you!

    By datdemdar on Sep 12, 2013

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