Neil Young / After the Gold Rush

More Neil Young

More on After the Gold Rush


  • This KILLER original Reprise pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or very close to it from start to finish
  • This is the vinyl embodiment of the Classic Analog Rock sound we love – smooth, rich, full-bodied, warm, punchy, dynamic and clear
  • 5 stars in Allmusic, Top 100, and a Demo Disc that is guaranteed to knock your socks off
  • “It’s a magnificent, style-setting album which saw the Canadian’s elevation to rock hero. For those who like their emotion raw.”
  • If you’re a Neil Young fan, and who isn’t?, this classic from 1970 belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1970 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

Folks, a Hot Stamper collection of the Greatest Rock Records of All Time would not be complete without a knockout copy this album. That’s why it’s been a Better Records All-Time Top 100 Title right from the start.

This original Reprise pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn’t showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage all analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.

We built our reputation on finding Demo Disc Quality pressings like this. Who else can offer you a copy of After the Gold Rush that delivers this kind of Tubey Magical Analog sound?

What the Best Sides of After The Gold Rush Have to Offer is Not Hard to Hear

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1970
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

Tubey Magical Acoustic Guitar reproduction is superb on the better copies of this album. Simply phenomenal amounts of Tubey Magic can be heard on every strum, along with richness, body and harmonic coherency that have all but disappeared from modern recordings (and especially from modern remasterings).

The Survivors

The reason a record like this needs to sell for the kind of serious bread we charge is that there just aren’t that many clean copies that have survived; there aren’t that many copies with the right stampers; and there aren’t that many copies that were pressed just right, the way this one was.

I’ve been picking up originals of this record for 20 years. Nowadays we pick up every clean original copy that we see. People loved this album and played it to death. Who can blame them; it’s Young’s masterpiece. It’s actually a better album than Harvest, and Harvest is an awfully good album.

Most original copies of this album leave a lot to be desired. Some are clean but lack Tubey Magic and warmth. Others are thick, dull, and compressed sounding. And almost all of them are pressed on dubious vinyl or have been treated poorly.

Subtracting all the problematical copies, you’re left with only a handful of real contenders, copies that are good enough to go into a shootout with the potential to win it. If you would like to spend a couple of years finding, cleaning, and playing original pressings of After The Gold Rush, the chances are very good that you would eventually come across one like this.

Anyone can do it. But do you want to? Would you rather spend your free time searching for an amazing copy of Neil Young’s masterpiece or enjoying it?

What We’re Listening For on After the Gold Rush

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.

A Must Own Rock Record

This Demo Disc Quality recording should be part of any serious Rock Collection. Others that belong in that category can be found here.

Pitchfork Review

Everybody Knows was a sort of big bang for Young, a dense moment of creative explosion that saw possibilities expanding in every direction. So its follow-up was anything but a retread. With his newfound confidence, Young was poised to stretch, and After the Gold Rush sounds a bit like an overview of the Great American Songbook but with one guy writing almost all the songs.

Members of Crazy Horse appear in various combinations on a few of tracks, and songs like “Southern Man” and “When You Dance I Can Really Love” have the hypnotically stoned but sneakily intense groove of the previous record. But more precisely crafted songs like “Only Love Can Break Your Heart”, “Birds”, and especially the astonishing title track, which has become a rock standard, show Young’s gift as a writer of original melodies of extraordinary beauty in full flower.

It’s an aspect of Young’s work that can be overlooked: the guy can write a simple tune over a chord change that hollows you out completely. Sure, the record has a phrase or two that might sound a little dippy to those with an aversion to hippies (Young was one of those, though of a very individualistic sort), but After the Gold Rush is basically unassailable.

There’s a reason why it’s the favorite Neil Young album for so many.

Mark Richardson

Collins Gem Classic Albums

The sleeve is bleak: a solarized photograph of a rangy Neil Young passing an old woman in the street, but After The Goldrush was Young’s first truly great album.

The spellbinding title track mixes everything from social commentary to science fiction, yet somehow Young’s plaintive vocals tie it all together. The Canadian’s penchant for heartbreak is well served on the album. “Oh Lonesome Me,” a cover performed as a slow, sad waltz, features a wailing harmonica and an emotional vocal. Against a slow, swaying beat, “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” contrasts childhood happiness with the pain of adult love. “Birds,” with its dry-eyed lyrics and poignant vocal, is heart-wrenching, while “Don’t Let It Bring You Down” is dark and majestic, a stark vignette of a harsh world.

Those tracks showcase Neil Young the troubadour. With “Southern Man” we get Young the axe maniac, here is a real glimpse of the checked-shirt wearing, Crazy Horse-fronting Young of the future. The lyrics are a tirade against Southern racism. Young shrieks them out while his guitar solos are fractured, unpredictable snatches of fire. “When You Dance I Can Really Love” is a euphoric explosion of abrasive guitars, clattering drums and a pounding piano.

It’s a magnificent, style-setting album which saw the Canadian’s elevation to rock hero. For those who like their emotion raw.



Well Recorded Albums that Should Be More Popular with Audiophiles

Well Recorded Classical Albums – The Core Collection

Well Recorded Rock & Pop Albums – The Core Collection

Well Recorded Soul. RnB, Blues, Etc. Albums – The Core Collection

Our Current Rock & Pop Top 100 List

Leave a Reply