Neil Young – Harvest
Rock legend Neil Young has released a staggering number of albums. Less than a month ago, he dropped
his 42nd studio album, World Record. But among the dizzying amount of material, Harvest holds a
special place. It was one of the few moments when Young’s artistic vision lined up with popular taste,
resulting in a No. 1 hit in “Heart of Gold” and becoming Young’s best-selling album.
A new 50 th anniversary edition of Harvest not only features a remastered version of the beloved album,
but an intimate live recording of Young performing Harvest’s songs alone for the BBC, a 7-inch
containing three outtakes and a hardcover book featuring photos from the period and extensive liner
notes. Finally, the box set contains a DVD of the BBC sessions and a second DVD containing a new two-
hour documentary about the making of Harvest.
All these extras add up to an immersive experience, but are also a little less than they seem. All but one
of the songs on the BBC performance may also be found on the archival Royce Hall, 1971 LP Young
released earlier this year. Recorded just a few weeks before the BBC gig, the Royce Hall show also
featured Young in a solo, acoustic setting. Two of the three outtakes on the 7-inch platter are also
performed at Royce Hall.
Harvest combines the earthiness of The Band’s roots rock with musical accents from Nashville and a
weary worldview that makes Young, then 25, seem much older than he is. The album itself has earned
its classic status over the past half-century. Throwing down for the box set depends on how much one
values the Harvest Time documentary and hardcover book. If you already have Harvest and Royce Hall,
you can probably sit this one out. If Harvest isn’t yet part of your music library, this is the perfect
opportunity to add it.-Joel Francis