Posts Tagged ‘the Santa Monica Flyers’

Vinyl issue of a late 1973 recording from New York with the Santa Monica Flyers.

In the second half of 1973, Neil Young formed The Santa Monica Flyers, with Crazy Horse’s rhythm section augmented by Nils Lofgren on guitar and piano and Harvest/Time Fades Away veteran Ben Keith on pedal steel guitar. Deeply affected by the drug-induced deaths of Danny Whitten and roadie Bruce Berry, Young recorded an album specifically inspired by the incidents, “Tonight’s the Night”. The album’s dark tone and rawness led Reprise to delay its release and Young had to pressure them for two years before they would do so; it finally came out on in June 1975.

By late ’73, Young and The Flyers were touring and performing songs, as yet unreleased, later to be included on Tonight’s The Night. On November 15th the ensemble performed at Queen’s College in Flushing, New York, for a show which remains quite staggering and is featured on this CD in its entirety. Including six cuts from Tonight….., plus a smattering of numbers from previous records, this concert, released here for the first time, is unlike any other Neil Young ever played.

Neil Young has revealed the artwork and track listing for the previously announced archival album “Roxy – Tonight’s the Night Live”, which will be released in April.

The album includes live performances of most of the songs included on the classic album “Tonight’s the Night”, which was recorded in 1973 but not released until 1975. (“Borrowed Tune,” “Come on Baby Let’s Go Downtown” and “Lookout Joe,” which are on the 1975 LP, aren’t included on the upcoming album.) You can see the track listing below.

The live tracks were recorded on September. 20th-22nd, 1973, at the first-ever shows at the Roxy venue in West Hollywood, with a band Young named the Santa Monica Flyers — named after their habit of driving home after all-night recording sessions in his 1947 Buick Roadmaster, Black Queen, along Santa Monica Boulevard. The lineup included Nils Lofgren on piano, pedal steel player Ben Keith, Billy Talbot on bass and drummer Ralph Molina.

“We had very recently lost [Crazy Horse member] Danny Whitten and our roadie Bruce Berry to heroin overdoses, so we were missing them and feeling them in the music every night as we played,” Young writes in the liner notes. “Tonight’s the Night was sort of a wake. There was no overdubbing on those nine original songs. They were recorded live, with no clean up. For almost a month we recorded like that, starting around 11PM and playing into the early morning hours. Sometimes we had a small audience. Once Mel Brooks and a few friends came by.

“We drank a lot of tequila, and I wrote Tonight’s the Night’s songs somewhere around the beginning. We had nine songs and played them twice every night for a long time until we thought we had them. … We had finished recording and decided to celebrate with a gig at a new club opening on the Sunset Strip, the Roxy. We went there and recorded for a few nights, opening the Roxy. We really knew the Tonight’s the Night songs after playing them for a month, so we just played them again, the album, top to bottom, two sets a night for a few days. We had a great time.”

Neil Young, ‘Roxy – Tonight’s the Night Live’ Track Listing
“Tonight’s The Night”
“Mellow My Mind”
“World On A String”
“Speakin’ Out”
“Albuquerque”
“New Mama”
“Roll Another Number (For The Road)”
“Tired Eyes”
“Tonight’s The Night”
“Walk On”

A Record Store Day vinyl edition of the album includes two records plus an exclusive print of the band live onstage at the Roxy. That version comes out on April 21st;