Release Date: Nov 30, 2018
Record label: Reprise
Songs for Judy captures Neil Young at his mercurial peak, writing songs too fast to release and scrapping albums too fast to remember. In November 1976, on a tour backed by the reunited Crazy Horse, he opened with solo acoustic sets at his buzzed and intimate best. Sanctioned photographer and taper Joel Bernstein and teenage rock journalist Cameron Crowe sorted through recordings of that run, compiling a 20-plus-track mix that, when leaked and bootlegged, eventually came to be known as The Bernstein Tapes.
Neil Young had a turbulent 1976. Still digging himself out of the dark period that produced his "Ditch Trilogy" -- the weird, gnarled records he made when he decided to steer away from the middle of the road that was a possible tributary from the success of "Heart of Gold" -- Young began to see a new dawn on Zuma, a 1975 reunion with Crazy Horse. Not long after its release, Young reunited with his old Buffalo Springfield bandmate Stephen Stills to record Long May You Run, an album credited to the Stills-Young Band, but this union proved to be short-lived.
The Lowdown: Songs for Judy is a thoroughly delightful collection of live acoustic performances recorded during Neil Young's solo tour in November of 1976. The latest in Young’s archival series features a wide-ranging collection of 22 songs cherry-picked from several different cities across that tour. At this point in his career, Young had already released now-timeless albums like After the Gold Rush and Harvest.