Neil Young and the Ducks

Live at the Catalyst, August 22, 1977

By the latter half of the 70s, Neil Young had put his ditch days behind him, had Zuma'd up and down the California coast with Crazy Horse, and seemed pretty damn content with recording a string of laid back, though pretty inoffensive country rock LPs. Young's short run with The Ducks in the late summer of 1977 was all at once strange anomaly, a high water mark and a signpost marking a change of course. Comprised of Young, Moby Grape vocalist Bob Mosely, "Hey Hey, My My" co-author Jeff Blackburn and sometime session man Johnny Craviotto, The Ducks were quite possibly the most popular townie bar band of all time, as Young's contractual obligations with Crazy Horse specified he could only tour with them, forcing The Ducks to play all of their 22 gigs within the Santa Cruz city limits. Loaded with songwriters, the band's setlists were comprised of original material, a few tunes from each member's back catalog and a handful of covers. The shows were tight, Young seemed to enjoy his supporting role, and, in the beginning, the crowds were enthusiastic if a little awed at their strange fortune. After a few weeks the hordes of out of towners hoping to hear some classic Neil Young tunes grew exponentially, and with its secret out, Young left the group less than two months after its first gig. And though a mobile recording rig was often spotted outside the club for most of the shows, this unofficial, surprisingly clear fan recording is the only aural evidence in circulation.


Anonymous said...

Wow - dying to hear this but the upload link takes me to page that doesn't seem to have a link on it.
Can you repost the link?

Ever so hopeful!


JR Heat Warp said...

Give this one a shot, Canada, and enjoy the show:

Peter said...

Fantastic show. Tough, spirited rock 'n' roll. What would have been cooler: being in the loop about these shows or stumbling into a bar by chance and seeing this onslaught? Pub rock just isn't this good anymore.

Anonymous said...

Awesome awesome awesome!

thank you!


bd said...


Is there any chance of you re-posting?

I'm dying to hear this. I was lucky enough to have seen Neil and the Ducks three nights in the summer that year.

Hope you can re-post, I be checking back

Thank you, Burt.

JR Heat Warp said...

Hey bd,

I revised the post so that URLs now link to the active megaupload file.

I'm heartily impressed that you got the rare opportunity to see this band. Here's hoping it sounds as good as you remember.


Anonymous said...

Thanks JR! Oh, it sounds good. I'm gonna let my buddy who went with me to the shows know about this. He'll be blown away.

Those club shows were so good. They played three sets a night. starting about 8:30, and at start time, at least the first time we went, it was almost an empty venue. You could walk right up to the edge of the stage, have the sound blast you, and Neil and the Ducks rocked! 'Silver Wings' was a fantastic set-closer. Long live four-piece rock 'n roll.

By the way, if I may, the link to the Neil Rarities Vol. 1 1967-1974 in that post about it (which looks incredible, what a period) is dead. I've been searching around and not able to find that elsewhere. If you would be able to repost that, that would be super.

Also want to let you know from awhile ago I really liked your 'All Things Must Pass' collection. Glad to hear that music, and glad to have been around in the era when it was first coming out.

All the best,