The double live LP (1970-71)

As we said before, between Crazy Horse’s Oh Lonesome Me and Neil Young’s After The Gold Rush, Neil thought of a double album with both live performances of old songs and new ones recorded in studio. The following draft for a possible tracklist dates back to March 1970, when Crazy Horse were playing at the Fillmore. Young notes that sides 1 & 2 are live, sides 3 & 4 are studio (source: Archives).

Cowgirl In The Sand
Old Laughing Lady
Clancy [Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing]
Broken Arrow
Dance Dance Dance
Downtown [Come On Baby Let's Go Downtown]
I Believe In You
Oh Lonesome Me
Long Walk Home
Southern Man
Don't Let It Bring You Down

Neil quickly left behind the idea and started doing Gold Rush, but a year later he was thinking again about it. In Archives there’s a newspaper article published in January 1971 when he was hospitalized, with a song list for a forthcoming double LP (asterisks refer to new compositions).

I Am A Child
Expecting To Fly
Flying On The Ground Is Wrong
Cowgirl In The Sand*
Old Man*
Dance, Dance, Dance*
See The Sky About To Rain*
The Needle And The Damage Done*
Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing
Sugar Mountain*
Bad Fog Of Loneliness*
Down By The River
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere

The story keeps on, when Neil later thought of release a live album from the 1971 acoustic tour. When finally the Massey Hall concert came out in 2007, Neil said: “This is the album that should have come out between After The Gold Rush and Harvest. David Briggs, my producer, was adamant that this should be the record, but I was very excited about the takes we got on Harvest, and wanted Harvest out. David disagreed. As I listen to this today, I can see why.”

Archives Vol.1 contains four live albums (Canterbury House, Riverboat, Fillmore East and Massey Hall) plus other scattered live tracks: this is enough to repair at the missing release of the double album, and give us a bigger view of Neil’s tours between 1968 and 1971.

Harvest (1972)

The legendary album Harvest, published in February 1972 and immediately Neil’s best-selling album, was born as a completely acoustic number. In that period, Neil had a surgery and decided to make a record remaining seated.
The first lists of possible songs for a new album dates back to February 1971, at the end of the acoustic tour that we can listen on Live at Massey Hall, and right before many new recording sessions (in Nashville, London, and finally in Neil's new ranch near San Francisco).

Heart Of Gold
Man Needs A Maid
Love Came Running [working title of The Bridge]
Dance Dance
Out On The Weekend
Old Man
Journey Thru The Past
Needle [And The Damage Done]
See The Sky About To Rain [deleted]
There's A World
Love In Mind
Heart Of Gold
Out On The Weekend
A Man Needs A Maid
Dance Dance Dance
Love Came Running
Old Man
Journey Thru The Past
There's A World
Love In Mind

“Harvest” doesn't appear because it wasn't written yet, as well as the electric songs are missing (“Alabama”, “Words”, “Are You Ready For The Country”) because they were composed and recorded in September. In that moment, the album tracklist was probably changed into the one we know (maybe after a couple of other attempts).
In the two tracklists there are three other songs from that era, “Love In Mind”, “The Bridge” (aka “Love Came Running”) and “Journey Thru The Past”, recorded by Neil in many venues but then left out (until Time Fades Away, 1973).
“The Needle And The Damage Done”, one of the most popular songs by Neil, would be included in the record as a live take. “Dance Dance Dance” was recorded in many venues but became an out-take. Also “See The Sky About To Rain” was a song of that period, but Neil deleted it from the first tracklist.
Harvest first drafts seem more obscure and a lot different from the album that we have. Neil did many different sessions with different arrangements: solo, with the Stray Gators in Nashville, with the London Symphony Orchestra, with the Stray Gators in his barn. Therefore, many different takes of the songs exist in the vaults, and the biggest part is still unreleased (unfortunately, in this case the Archives are just a taste).
Let's go through the recording sessions in order to understand the chronological evolution of Harvest. Asterisks refer to the take released on the original album.

January 19, 1971 – Thunder Sound, Toronto – Neil solo
Love In Mind
Journey Through The Past
See The Sky About To Rain
A Man Needs A Maid / Heart Of Gold (suite)

In this first session, completely unreleased, Neil did five songs of which just “Maid” and “Heart” (here tied up in a piano suite) were considered for the final record but in different, later versions.

February 6-8, 1971 – Quadraphonic, Nashville – with Stray Gators
Bad Fog Of Loneliness
Dance Dance Dance (I)
Old Man*
Dance Dance Dance (II)
Heart Of Gold*
February 11, 1971 – Ranch – Neil solo
Heart Of Gold

From the first Stray Gators session, “Old Man” and “Heart Of Gold” ended up on Harvest. The two “Dance” takes are unreleased, “Bad Fog” is available on Archives.
We also mentioned a solo take or a demo of “Heart of Gold”, probably never considered for the record.

February 25, 1971 – Island, Londra – Neil solo
Dance Dance Dance (with Graham Nash)
The Bridge
February 28 & March 1, 1971 – Barking Town Hall – with London Symphony OrchestraA Man Needs A Man (I)
There's A World (I)
A Man Needs A Man* (II)
There's A World* (II)

In London Neil recorded a couple of acoustic songs (“Bridge” is unreleased, “Dance” with Nash is available on Archives) and the two piano songs ended up on the record (however, the first take of both is unreleased).

April 1-4, 1971 – Quadraphonic, Nashville – with Stray Gators
Out On The Weekend*
Journey Through The Past

September 26-28, 1971 – Ranch – with Stray Gators
Are You Ready For The Country*
Words* (I)
Words (II)

Stray Gators did a second Nashville sessions, attempting “Alabama” (unreleased take) and playing a nice “Journey” that we can listen on Archives.
The last famous session was held in Neil's barn, turned into a recording studio. The second take of “Words” is included in Journey Through The Past Soundtrack (and also Archives); although Archives don't mention it, a third take of “Words” surely exists, even more slow and expanded (there's a video in which Neil is listening to it).
Harvest evolution was pretty linear and coherent, comparing with other records born in a totally unpredictable way. Despite that, many sessions were held, producing a lot of stuff, and in the end the record was the result of a collage. We can recreate a First Draft Edition of Harvest considering the first ideas for the tracklist and the final out-takes. The day the unreleased takes are officially released, we will have enough material to listen really an alternative version of Harvest.

1. Heart Of Gold / A Man Needs A Maid – take solo
2. The Bridge – take solo
3. Dance Dance Dance – take Stray Gators
4. Old Man
5. Journey Thru The Past – take Stray Gators
6. The Needle And The Damage Done
7. There's A World – take alternativo
8. Love In Mind – take solo
9. Bad Fog Of Loneliness – take Stray Gators
10. See The Sky About To Rain – take solo
Alabama – take inedito Stray Gators
12. Harvest

Part 1
Italian versions: