Neil Young – Live At The Cellar Door

Just after his 25th birthday, Neil Young played six nights at the small, famed Washington DC club - same place, same year Miles Davis recorded The Cellar Door Sessions. Young's third album, After The Goldrush, was out and doing well, yet he sounds shyer and less relaxed at the outset than on the 1968 archive At Canterbury House. It starts with an aw-shucksy "Hi folks" and three of five Goldrush songs he'll perform, alternating between guitar and piano. There are also numbers destined for future releases (See The Sky About To Rain; Bad Fog Of Loneliness) and ones from the past, including this album's highlights: a gentle, weary Down By The River; a curious piano version of Cinnamon Girl (both from Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere) and, to close, a solo take on Buffalo Springfield’s Flying On The Ground Is Wrong, in which a stoned-sounding, now-chatty Neil riffs about Steinway pianos and girlfriends who "don't understand your life is crazy". Listen to the album here:

Neil Young: the anti-Rufus Wainwright of onstage banter / PHOTO: Henry Diltz