Time Fades Away - 1973
One of the two Neil Young albums that to this day, remain unreleased on CD, Time Fades Away is the first entry in what is considered Young's "In the Ditch" trilogy. In the liner notes for his 3-LP compilation Decade, Young writes:
"'Heart of Gold' put me in the middle of the road. Traveling there soon became a bore so I headed for the ditch."
While rehearsing for a grueling 90 city tour in support of Harvest, Young's guitarist Danny Whitten was in the midst of trying to kick heroin. In no shape for the road, Whitten was fired from the band and given fifty dollars and a plane ticket home. The next day, Whitten was dead, having used his severance pay to buy the drugs that killed him. The Time Fades Away album is a live recording of the handful of new songs Young and his band played on the subsequent tour, and despite the addition of David Crosby and Graham Nash on several tracks, the mood is expectedly dire. Hands down the most emotionally charged and erratic album in Young's vast catalog, and essential listening for fans of the two released albums in the trilogy, Tonight's the Night and On the Beach. Thrasher's Wheat has a great site dedicated to the "ditch trilogy", including quotes, reviews, history and cover art.