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CD Review: Neil Young

Archives Vol. 1: 1963-1972 (Reprise)

Nearly two decades in the making, the first volume of Young's massive Archives series (this one clocking in at 10 discs!) finally sees the light of day. And it was definitely worth the wait. Compiling songs from Young's first 10 years, the box — which is available as bank-account-busting Blu-rays, wallet-lightening DVDs and plain ol' CDs — includes a mix of outtakes, demos, live cuts and plenty of songs you've heard before. Unlike Bob Dylan's similar Bootleg Series, Archives aims to tell Young's entire story, not just the leftover pieces. And it's a monumental task, stretching all the way back to Young's first band, the Squires, through Buffalo Springfield, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Crazy Horse and his solo recordings. It takes a while for things to get rolling — the first disc is filled with previously unreleased bar-band snoozers — but once it does, you're in for a time-sucking project unlike any you've ever experienced (you'll find everything from lyrics and old press clips to photos and hidden tracks buried on each disc). You'll also hear things like you've never heard them before, like "Down by the River"'s last blistering guitar solo, which begins as a bunch of twisted, sputtering notes before erupting into a full-on amp assault. These aural achievements are Archives' greatest moments and the reason we can't wait for the next volume. — Michael Gallucci

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