2020 Album Draft- Round 5 Pick 10- MSJADELI selects- Neil Young- Time Fades Away.

MSJADELI’s blog- Tao Talk can be found at – https://tao-talk.com/

I remember very well how this album came into my possession. From age 18-20 I lived in a little berg town that my mom, stepdad, and siblings moved to, but I was living with my boyfriend during those years. My boyfriend was an acoustic guitar player — who looked a lot like Neil Young, no joke! — and had many good albums, including this one. When he and I went our separate ways, the albums went with me. He’s lucky he left without broken bones after my uncle and brother got done with him!

Unfortunately I lost all albums by abandoning them willingly to my now-ex-husband twenty- five years or so ago. The albums are still packed away in some corner of his house, never listened to, but never to be relinquished to someone – like moi! – who would get a lot of enjoyment out of them.

Up until 2017 this album was not available in CD format as Neil did not like the album for various reasons. I got tired of waiting for it and was able to find an original album in mint condition out on the net. Audiophilia will have its way, as I know most/all of you can relate to.

Is this my favorite Papa Neil album? I’m not sure but that’s ok. Like the Chris Cornell selection, which album doesn’t matter as much as one of his is included in the draft. Is it the one I’ve listened to most? Probably.

Quote: It was recorded on my biggest tour ever, 65 shows in 90 days. Money hassles among everyone concerned ruined this tour and record for me but I released it anyway so you folks could see what could happen if you lose it for a while. I was becoming more interested in an audio verite approach than satisfying the public demands for a repetition of Harvest. –Neil Young

Wikipedia says: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Fades_Away

Time Fades Away is a 1973 live album by Canadian / American musician Neil Young . Consisting of previously unreleased material, it was recorded with The Stray Gators on the support tour following 1972’s highly successful Harvest. Time Fades Away received much critical praise and was widely pirated after lapsing out of print because of the ensuing demand from fans. It was initially reissued on vinyl only as part of the Official Release Series Discs 5-8 Vinyl Box Set for Record Store Day in 2014. The album finally saw an official CD release in August 2017 as part of the CD version of the boxset. Upon its release, Time Fades Away received positive reviews from Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and Robert Christgau of The Village Voice. In more recent years, it has been rated highly by AllMusic, sputnikmusic, and Blurt Online. R.E.M. has cited Time Fades Away as a source of inspiration for New Adventures in Hi-Fi.

When Neil said that he was tired of the “middle of the road” with Harvest and was headed “towards the ditch,” Time Fades Away, along with Tonight’s the Night and On The Beach are now known as “the ditch trilogy.” I haven’t heard Tonight’s the Night but used to own On the Beach and remember it fondly.

Looking up the playlist and being reminded that this album was recorded while they were on tour, please look at wikipedia to see where each song was recorded. Likewise, there is a mish-mash of musicians playing here and there on it, which I will include in the post not by song but by instrument.


Time Fades Away The ragtime piano playing a little off kilter sets the tone for dystopic view about to be laid out before the listener. How can you resist a song that starts out, “Fourteen junkies too weak to work”? Neil sings about his life in the streets of the big city in Canada. I just noticed in the lyrics that at the end the line changes to, “Thirteen junkies….” ************************************

Journey through the Past Neil starts out by saying, “The song of our home [Canada.]” Next is the piano which plays a hymn that also intentionally goes off-key from time to time. It’s a sweet little ditty. Favorite line, “I will stay with you if you stay with me said the fiddler to the drum, and we’ll keep good time on a journey through the past.” ************************************

Yonder Stands the Sinner Starts out with the statements “This will kind of experimental” “But it’ll be good.” which are thought to be David Crosby and Barbuta. There are some mighty fine guitar flourishes and accompanying piano, not to mention Neil gets a little screechy with his singing. I’m not sure what’s going on with this. Who is “the great pretender” that he went to see? Neil was feeling guilty? Persecuted? If anyone knows, please do tell.

************************************ L.A. I absolutely adore this dirty guitar/drum intro. This is a beautiful composition with the steel in there just right. Neil powers of description about Los Angeles are scathing yet poignant. **************************************

Love in Mind I like every cut on this album but my sentimental self loves this song best. It’s Neil on piano singing about love with such aching yearning. The bridge in it is AE (aural ecstasy.) ***************************************

Don’t Be Denied There’s a sing-song monotony to the music as Neil sings about how his daddy walked out on the family and so the family “drove out to Winnepeg”, he “checked into school… [and] the punches came fast and hard lying on my back in the schoolyard,” met up with other musicians and got to the big time when, “the businessmen crowded around, they came to hear the golden sound.

” *****************************************

The Bridge Neil pulls out the harmonica and plays piano for this intimate little love song. It puts the audience into a lull for, “Last Dance.” ********************************************

Last Dance “Wake up! it’s a Monday morning” sets the tone. For a creative sort to be shoved into a 9-5 job it’s torture! The song has some sweet guitar fluorishes and wordplay.

Personnel : Neil Young – vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica, bass David Crosby – guitar, vocals Graham Nash – guitar, vocals The Stray Gators Ben Keith – pedal steel, vocals, slide guitar Jack Nitzsche – piano, vocals Tim Drummond – bass Johnny Barbuta – drums

Worth a mention : Longtime collaborator and former Crazy Horse guitarist Danny Whitten had been set to join the Gators as a second guitarist before being sent home from rehearsals after it became evident that he was in no condition to embark on the rigorous tour. He succumbed to a fatal combination of Valium and alcohol on the night following his dismissal.


  1. Oh hell yeah! This one’s good and ditchy. I hadn’t even heard this before until about 12-13 years ago since it was out of print and I don’t have my turntable hooked up. I kept reading about how good yet dark it is, so I ended up burning it off youtube. Still waiting for it to be available as a stand alone CD, though I may just end up subscribing to his Archives since he keeps releasing great early previously unavailable stuff. Tuscaloosa is good, but it’s not the same.

  2. Loving your picks. I went back after ‘Rust’ and started to pick up all this stuff. Just listened to it now while having a little workout. I forgot how many times he mentioned his homeland in this one. It’s loose and I really do like the last cut. How many takes to you get with “when my uncle and brother got done with him”. That’s the best yet.

  3. Love to see Uncle Neil make an appearance. I’ve read that Neil gripes about this album…but I’ve liked what I heard. Plus…I love the album cover to this one. I love the concept of making a new album of unreleased material…that works for Neil really well. Love the review Lisa.

    • Thank you, Max. I think I read somewhere that the cover is designed to look like another famous album cover, maybe Woodstock? I like the concept also. PJ did one like that called Lost Dogs that is really really good.

  4. Though I’ve heard a lot of Neil’s music, and even own a bit of it, I was not familiar with this album. Your write-up made me give it a listen, and it’s wonderful. Looking over his discography on Spotify, I’m astounded by his prolific music output over the years. He’s released an album nearly every year since 1969, sometimes two in a single year!

  5. Nice! Another one for Canada, eh! Figured Neil was bound to come up soon but wouldn’ t have guessed this album…actually, not sure I’ve heard of it. But Neil’s always good in concert & early-70s were probably his prime so thanks for letting us all know of this one.

  6. There’s something very listenable about songs and albums made on the road. I wasn’t familiar with this album, but just finished listening to it, and very much enjoyed it. Sorry your personal copy of the album is er, out of reach. Sigh.

    • Glad you listened to it and enjoyed it, Diana. I bought another album off the internet so I have a copy again. It’s ironic the original one wasn’t mine, then I lost it (willingly) to someone who never listens to it.

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