Neil Young says “Time Fades Away”. Good thing vintage record shops haven’t…
You always remember your first.
This past week I made my first visit to one of the record shops on my London Record Shop Search Map. My wife and I were in Notting Hill to look for places to live. I planned ahead, knowing that Rough Trade Records had one of their outposts there, and brought along the gift certificates my good Aussie mate, Kip gave to me
We were on a tight schedule of appointments to see local flats. Knowing this, I had to be quick with my first look at what could be my new music buying/hang-out home away from Mojo Music in Sydney. When I check out a record shop with as much cred as Rough Trade, I want to be able to take my sweet-assed time and look through all the racks and other goodies strewn about. It may have been my first time, but I sure as hell know to do it right and make it last.
Alas, this visit would have to be a better-than-nothing quickie.
I got to the door of the shop and took a deep breath and thought of my buddies at Mojo. I had to make sure I brainwashed myself into forgetting about them and The Feel of that shop. Mojo is a rough diamond; an imperfect gem that you can’t put a value on. It wouldn’t be fair to grade Rough Trade by my Mojo standards.
That being said, it was no Mojo. What is it then? It is chock full of vintage vinyl. Downstairs is full all kinds of oldies and goodies. I bypassed sinking my teeth into the upstairs area with all of it’s CDs, eye candy and memorabilia. I had to act quick and I wanted vintage.
I started flipping through the bins and all of the sections: surf, blues, classic soul, Stax & Motown specific, US & UK versions of Stones albums, Dylan, Country and Good Ol’ Neil Young.
When in doubt, go to Neil.
And there it was…an album worthy of my first purchase in a London record shop: “Time Fades Away” by Good Ol’ Neil Young. This album was released in 1973…on vinyl…and has never been put out on CD or up for download by Neil. Neil fan(atics) have long hollered for its release. In fact, the supreme Neil site, Thrasher’s Wheat, has collected over 114,000 signatures in their online petition to have it released (yeah, I’ve signed on).
I picked up a copy for 25 quid. It is a UK pressing on Reprise. It is in mint condition, complete with inside poster/fold out of all lyrics and listings.
This album is soaked in mystique and lore. It is part of the “Ditch Trilogy“. Cameron Crowe replicated the album cover in a scene in his movie, “Almost Famous” (of which I am in awe of, jealous of and a huge fan of). In the flick, at the first Stillwater show, there is a rose lying on the stage and a man in front of the stage raising his arm, thus recreating the cover of Time Fades Away.
What Neil has said about it:
“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.”
What Rolling Stone wrote about it in it’s 1974 review:
If Young appears foolish and arrogant at various points on the album, he seems to be allowing us a glimpse of these flaws, rather than letting them slip through and spoil his big moments without his consent, as happened on Harvest. Time Fades Away is an idiosyncrasy from one of rock’s most idiosyncratic artists. If it isn’t a resounding success, the album is still a revealing self-portrait by an always fascinating man.
What allmusic has to say in their review:
Few rockers have been as willing as Young to lay themselves bare before their audience, and Time Fades Away ranks with the bravest and most painfully honest albums of his career — like the tequila Young was drinking on that tour, it isn’t for everyone, but you may be surprised by its powerful effects.
All in all, it was a satisfying visit to Rough Trade. I bought a fave, hard to find piece of vinyl. I used my good friend Kip’s gift certificates in a way that would make him proud (Kip is a music-aficionado-wizard with righteous taste). And, I found some good ‘uns to back and explore when I have ample time. A more in-depth report to follow.
On a side note. My wife has the Fear in her now. She knows the cat is very much out of the bag on this one…