Saturday Deluxe / 14 November 2020

Neil Young backtracks on previous deluxe Archives II position

Things are quite confusing with Neil Young and his Archives II box set. As you may know, this 10CD deluxe set was announced as a 3,000 limited edition and sold out almost immediately. Neil Young and Reprise Records were surprised, but a few weeks ago the Canadian singer-songwriter said that “we don’t feel that offering more of a product sold as a limited edition is a good thing to do” and the plan was that a cheaper and less deluxe ‘retail’ version would be produced in a smaller box, with a smaller book and that would have to do.

The retail version is indeed happening, but so is a second run of the deluxe edition, totally contradicting that earlier statement. In a post yesterday on Neil’s site, he said that “a deluxe edition with subtle art differences” would be released and that “those who got the first limited one, will have a letter of authenticity sent to them”. Those art differences appear to include the ‘II’ in ‘Archives II” being in red and not black.

The new deluxe will be issued at the same time as the cheaper retail version, on 5 March 2021. The deluxe is exclusive to Neil Young’s Greedy Hand store, while the retail version will be available everywhere (although at the moment it’s only on Amazon in the USA). The deluxe version is $250, while the retail is $160.

Incidentally, in response to a reader on his ‘letters to the editor’ section of his website Neil acknowledges that “the price is too high” for the After The Goldrush vinyl box set, but then adds “there is a reason Reprise does that. There are in a business”.

Paul McCartney / Flaming Pie 5CD+2DVD deluxe edition / Archive Collection reissue

Deals galore

It has been a great week for deals, after a fairly quiet period of late. This week has seen Paul McCartney‘s deluxe of Flaming Pie dramatically reduced on Amazon in the US and incredibly, four days later, the price of $118 is still available!

Also his old band’s 1968 album, in super deluxe form, is still just €60 in France, which is about £55. That’s also an incredible price because The White Album super deluxe is the best Fab Four box set so far, featuring the new stereo remix, the brilliant ‘Esher Demos’ disc, THREE further CDs of sessions and the blu-ray with the 5.1 mix, the hi-res stereo mix and the original mono mix. And you get the amazing book.

Also, in America we’ve had the 3-for-2 deal, which, if you shop carefully, offers some great savings.

Costello: Lack of Armed Forces CD box ‘wasn’t my decision”

Elvis Costello was taking to Janice Long yesterday evening for a Rough Trade webinar-type event and while the main point of discussion was his new album, Hey Clockface, he did mention the Armed Forces vinyl box. Without any prompting, he mentioned that fact that some people weren’t happy that it was only available on vinyl and was generally a little bit defensive. For example, he did say that not putting it out on CD “wasn’t my decision” but in general, while not slagging off the format in quite the same way he had on the interview highlighted by SDE a few weeks back , his general vibe was the same. Incidentally, there will be an SDEtv unboxing video of The Complete Armed Forces box set at the beginning of next week, so stay tuned for that!

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Neil Young is now an American citizen.


Can you hear that? That’s the sound of Elvis Costello back-pedalling…

In Australia, there is a digital download FLAC (16-bit) of ‘Armed Forces’ on zdigital. $60


I’m relieved to see that zdigital is still going. Their home page has had the same ‘feature’ album for nearly TWO YEARS, lol. But their search engine is an absolute nightmare.

Can anyone recommend any Australian sites that offer LEGAL downloads in high-res? Or – to be more specific – not necessarily ‘Australian’ sites, just sites that Australians can access.

Paul E.

@gwynogue – I was all set to recommend 7Digital but discovered their Australian site is branded under “zdigital”. The US 7Digital site is also very outdated in what the main page advertises and has the same problematic search engine…kind of laughable. At least the downloads are available in FLAC for those digital only singles/remixes (I truly miss CD singles). Not sure if BandCamp will work but thought I’d mention them as well.


On a related matter, is there any updated news on whether Universal will do a re-press of the Richard and Linda Thompson box set – it sold out so quickly, that pre-orders in Australia were not supplied!

Arthur O'Brien

Why do people seem to expect record companies/artists to virtually give their music away? Too much whining (“whinging” for those in the UK) about cost on this site. Not just for this, but for almost every super deluxe edition offered for sale by anyone. And if the price is low because their are few “extras,” people complain about that! I’m a little annoyed that the “Archives Vol. II” set includes some stuff already released, that it’s not on Blu-ray like “Vol. I,” but I want it anyway, so I bought it.

As Neil Young said, Reprise is a business and basic economics states that if the price is too high, there will be little to no demand and they’ll need to lower the price. People are paying the price, so demand is there. Sorry if you can’t afford it. Sometimes I can’t, either. Remember “opportunity cost?” If you can’t afford it, you’ll use your money for your next-best choice. “You can’t always get what you want.”


Paul I’m very surprised you haven’t posted about the Bowie / Morrissey duet 7″ announced days ago and already sold out of townsend stores but still available on other sites.


Just took a listen. IMO their voices don’t mesh well at all. Was excited for a second. And why is Moz releasing this after speaking so ill of Bowie over the years? Strange.


Re: Neil Young – Never trust a hippie. Actually wouldn’t it be better if he just reprinted the original deluxe set as-is and sent a signed apology letter to the buyers of the original set. That would be a great compromise and would make even the most hardened fan chuckle. The guy can’t even play live right now, we should cut all of these guys a break, if they can find a way to make some money from old rope, more power to them. As far as the set goes, it would be great if NY printed a book for the first set as well. As much as I love these artists who make these sets, when you buy a set that is as big as a small appliance it is a bit, how do I put this, awkward…. those compact versions are really appealing. I would rather have a small set and a nice book than a big box.
Elvis Costello, the Armed forces thing is more of an art project than anything comprehensive. I think it should be accepted as that. It is not really about the music at all, Cd or not, The colored vinyl looks really cool, not unlike that Sabbath 10 year war set that also came out a few years ago and immediately went out of print. No one complained when Depeche Mode put out those vinyl 12″ sets the last few years… they just quietly sold out. They could have easily put out a colored vinyl set in ultra limited form and charged twice the cost. The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s put out a super deluxe set of Fever to Tell as a vinyl only thing a couple of years ago, that too was very costly and a Universal Music store exclusive. I think Universal like to do vinyl boxed sets because they can charge a lot more and still limit the circulation of the product as the material goes in the sweaty hands of hardcore fans. I do think, however that a digital download code of hi-res audio should be included for that Elvis set for fans that actually want to easily access the music and not just look at it. It is also extremely silly that the whole Hollywood High show was not represented in what should be a comprehensive vinyl extravaganza, but no matter what, in the end, it will 100% sell out and then sell for even more.

Alan B

Black Friday is coming up and there are special releases coming out. All the usual record stores with online sales facilities are making their stock available online from 6pm. This is the usual Big Brother practice of keeping record shops in line (like RSD). The reason given is to ensure buyers can get the releases first by going to the record shop in person – if you happen to live near one of course. Just one problem. They are all closed due to the current national lockdown but the powers that be behind this project are obviously still insisting on a 6pm online launch time. You couldn’t make it up.


Nothing worse than someone recanting a silly statement. That’s you Elvis Costello. You could have saved your face.

Ian Gair

I would purchase…..

Elvis Costello – Armed Forces reissue box set on compact disc.

Honourly mention also for Annie Lennox 10th Anniversary Edition of A Christmas Cornucopia, which has the extra track Didos Lament


Not convinced by the Christmas marketing tat that is available.


How was ‘Dido’s Lament’ almost forgotten?

It’s easily Annie’s greatest recording in 30 years.

Just sublime.

Seth Hollander

I think decisions about corporate music profitizing have rarely been solely controlled by the creators. And I think those of artistic temperment are often people prone to snap decisions coupled with stubborn comittment.
I bet statements like Neil’s and Costello’s are nothing new. Creators have been making proclamations since art began! And corporations have been over-riding them since we became “civilized”.
Along comes the internet and Twitter. Out goes the corporate barriers twixt creator and audience. Statements that corporate used to be able to keep internal, that used to be the starting point of behind-the-scenes negotiations, are now flying through the public realm without any PR Department gloss-and-spin.
Someone called this phenomenon “Modern-Day Presidential”, I think…

Despite my take on this all, Neil and Costello HAVE lost points with me. One day I think this modus operandi will be seen as normal, but I am a bit too old to not be bothered by it. Brave New World!

Steven Stock

Neil Young blames his record company for the extortionate pricing on his After the Gold Rush reissue. Elvis Costello says it was the record company that chose not to make his Armed Forces reissue available on compact disc.

Can we expect two more cover versions of “I’m Your Puppet” soon?


I’d love to see the end of all this “Limited Edition” nonsense. The music industry survived for decades without a need to severe limit things, I’m sure they could manage it again. I don’t see anything good in it for the consumer.

And Costello… man his new album is good, and he’s been great for decades. His comments are still ridiculous and ill-informed. What CD’s has he been listening to? He’s lost some good will from me, which is a shame. I mean, I only own four copies of Armed Forces, right from the original Vinyl – so what would I know? Still, if he and his label don’t want my money……


Rhino has had A-ha/Bridges Våkenatt as a preorder for some time now with both a CD and black vinyl option. It shows a release date of next Friday. I’m not very familiar with this part of the A-ha story. Is this something essential, worth exploring or for completists only?

Phil Morris

Great to see Old Youngey follow Steven Wilson’s “lead” in totally reneging on how limited a release will be. (And numerous other acts, come to that.)


Which Steve Wilson release are you talking about?

Phil Morris

The Eminent Sleaze CD single and recent Porcupine Tree acoustic session vinyl release in particular, Eddie.


Has there been any indication regarding a reissue of Archives 1 or the 70’s studio album boxes (5-8, 8.5-12)? They have been OOP (with the exception of Studio albums 1-4) for a long time.

Jack Kelleher

Neil’s cheaper version of Archives 2 is also available in the USA at http://www.bullmoose.com


Spot on Paul. It’s been a baffling few weeks for rusties. But fans of Neil have been having a vintage year as he continues to connect directly every week through Letters to the Editor, builds NYA, gives the fireside sessions and releases gems from the vault. Archives II, Rust Bucket, Young Shakespeare, the Bootleg Series, Eldorado Reissue all within the next few months…. or so Neil tells us. With that many releases of staggeringly good content (Danger Bird at the Catalyst…..), I can’t complain. Don’t let another day go by without the magic touch…


All artists of his era/age should be going through their archives and letting their fans hear unreleased material. They are not getting any younger and dying before they get to chance to hear them.

Andrew Mayo

Desperate for at least a full download of the Deluxe Armed Forces
So far we’ve offered scraps with 3 different versions of Green Shirt & a few more tracks .
CD Box Set please Elvis

Phil Dennison

You can buy a CD quality download of the whole set from Qobuz.

Phil Dennison

I should probably have clarified that it is the ‘Armed Forces’ set download at Qobuz.


On Amazon Music Unlimited and Google Play at least, “Busy Bodies (Alternate)” on the b-side of the “Accidents Will Happen” seven-inch is the demo version of “Big Boys” (as on the “Oliver’s Army” b-side). I’d be interested in finding out if this is the case all over – especially the vinyl.


There’s already the Neil Young box on eBay for silly money! Still unclear if the first version is out next week like originally planned


Hi Paul – the content you provide us on a daily basis makes your web site an invaluable resource for us like minded music heads.

You can’t be held accountable for inconsistent comms provided by artists/ record lables/ web sites etc.

The NY comms definitely suggested initially that the ltd edition had gone and there would be no more.

I only realised there was when I went on the site to order the ‘retail’ edition.

Please don’t take any grief or accept any accountability for this one – I love NY – always have – so much so I ALMOST bought the recent Greendale box set ( I’ve already got it three times so gave this one a miss!! :-)) but the comms on the Archives Vol.2 has been below par and you have done a fab job trying to unpick it for us.

Thanks for everything you do. What else would I spend my money on?? :-)

Don Cooper

‘After the Goldrush?’

Seemingly never a problem on that score for Mr Young…

Philip Wilson

This Abbey Road Box is 60 Euros in France also, it says 2CD version, but the pictures show the super deluxe, and the number of discs shows as 4, so looks like the super deluxe to me:



I don’t know why but I never got into Neil Young. Well not much of it anyway.

andrew r

So there really is no such thing as a limited edition
I love Neil but he really is the” hippy with a deadhead sticker on a cadillac”


Neil Young advised he would provide a new version of the big box almost straight away. It’s not confusing at all if you read what he’s communicating to his fans.


Changing his mind has been one consistent thing throughout Neil’s career.

Electric Sydney

And I’m beginning to become less tolerant of it.


Neil’s apparent change of mind has caused a logistical quandary (quite apart from loss of faith). Do I cancel my U.S. pre-ordered copy of Archives 2 and buy from the UK store which wasn’t open for a number of hours when the 3000 copies were being snapped up fast. That way I won’t incur the import duty which will push the price way above the UK store cost! Will I even be allowed to cancel my US order seeing as I’ve already downloaded the free digital single that comes with it! And I can’t buy from the UK till I know I can cancel from the US – by which time the UK will no doubt have sold out again anyway. The problems and expense these rock stars cause their fans when they give mixed messages!
On another topic for today, there is a 3 for 2 deal going on right now with Amazon.de which I stumbled across by chance when ordering the 2015 remaster of Bowie’s Man who sold the World on vinyl (I hate the new Metrobolist cover sorry). It’s quite small scale but I picked up ZZTop’s Eliminator (National Album day coloured vinyl edition) and Best of Rory Gallagher (double vinyl lp) as my other two. Amazon seem to make the items in their 3 for 2 deals hard to find, why don’t they put links to the list on prominent display (like you’ve done Paul).


You and I must have been reading different lines of communication. The messaging around this particular release has been and up and down like a whore’s knickers. In-out-shake-it-all-about says Shakey.

Dave H

Hi Paul,
Yes it did get a bit confusing yesterday reading the comments about Archives II and then going on the Greedy Hands website and seeing two versions of the set available. Glad you were able to clear everything up in the end.
The other thing to mention according to the website is that both versions include hi-res downloads.


“Neil Young’s Greedy Hand store” – it’s nice to see truth in advertising.


For me that is scam

Auntie Sabrina

Honourly mentions for Ms Kylie Minogue, Dame Shirley Bassey, and Little Mix for first week, consecutive hit album and download album sales. Let’s hear it for the girls!