Neil Young’s archives are so deep even he doesn’t know what’s in them. In fact, he recently discovered a collection of 1987 demo recordings labeled Summer Songs, and despite not having any recollection of the sessions, he plans on releasing the album soon.
Writing on his official website, Young said, “We are not sure of the exact original dates of these recordings yet. They were all given the same date in the NYA Vault’s records, but they all have a very similar unique sound. To give you an idea of place and time, Farm Aid and the Bridge School concerts had just begun their long runs.”
(Farm Aid launched in 1985, and while the Bridge School benefits started in ’86, they actually skipped ’87 and ’88.)
The vagueness stretches beyond the dates, with Young saying his team believes the sessions took place at the Broken Arrow studio “as far as we can figure.” They also aren’t sure who engineered the recordings, as Young admits, “I don’t remember the sessions at all!”
These “sketches of arrangements we made to preserve the initial ideas” (as Young puts it) were recorded with just acoustic guitar or piano alongside “simple added embellishments.” The eight tracks — “The Last of His Kind,” “For the Love of Man,” “American Dream,” “Name of Love,” “Someday,” “One of These Days,” “Hangin’ on a Limb,” and “Wrecking Ball” — would later be fully realized on the albums Freedom, American Dream, Psychedelic Pill, and Harvest Moon. However, Young notes that “the words of these originals are significantly different from their subsequent master album releases in many cases. Several completely new and unheard verses are found in the songs of this collection.”