Uncle Neil’s at it again, issuing the seventh disc in his live Archives Performance Series. Once more he’s alone with his Martins and a piano (a “really outta sight” Steinway), this time post-Thanksgiving 1970 at the erstwhile D.C. club in the title.
For those keeping score, Cellar Door is Disc 2.5 in the series. Culled from a six show residency, the set leans heavily on the just-released After the Gold Rush. But fodder for fanatics includes a pre-Harvest “Old Man” and a piano-accompanied “Cinnamon Girl.” Somewhat of a bummer, Young includes “Bad Fog Of Loneliness” and “See The Sky About To Rain,” both featured on the previously released Disc 3 recorded just seven weeks later. And except for a bit of period-perfect laconic stoner charm before Buffalo Springﬁeld’s “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong,” there’s little between-song patter.
What makes Cellar Door well worth the price of admission, however, is its intimacy. Mufﬂed coughs, three-dimensional hammer-ons and pull-offs, time tapped out on a soundboard, even fret buzz – the audio is fantastic (despite what Young tells us about digital) and underscores the songs’ timelessness.
Young fans are fortunate Winnipeg’s ﬁnest had the foresight to be an obsessive archivist.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s March ’14 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.