SDEtv: Neil Young / Original Release Series box sets – unboxed!

SDE takes a look at the packaging for last week’s Neil Young Official Release Series box sets, via this SDEtv unboxing video.

The first box is the second in the series and contains ‘discs 5-8’ (Time Fades Away – which Warners keep calling Times Fades Away on the sticker! – On The Beach, Tonight’s The Night and Zuma) while box two is the third in the series, featuring ‘discs 8.5 – 12’ (Long My You Run, American Stars ‘n Bars, Comes A Time, Rust Never Sleeps and Live Rust). Both box sets are out now.


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It’s a shame about HDCD being abandoned as the earlier 1 to 4 in jewel cases sounded really good and they were a really good price too. These latest boxes are pretty expensive and I’d prefer to wait and spend the money on the more hi-res sound of, ahem, Archives 2.

A question more in hope than expectation: Any word on Archives 2? :) :)

Wayne Klein

I’m down for these but I do wish that Neil would include an extra disc with video or the albums available on a single lossless disc as well (like the individual releases for Yes and XTC). It’s a pity that I have some of these already and that they aren’t HDCD encoded as well as I guess I will once again crowd my shelf with some things I want (Time Fades Away, etc.) that haven’t been released before and those that have. I love Neil but the way he does things makes Paul McCartney’s latest release seem organized and thoughtful. Also, why not release these as limited edition SACDs? Yes, it’s a small crowd but it would be,like the first set with the gold discs and it would sell to those who are collectors, audiophiles, etc.


This was so useful, thanks a lot! Precisely the kind of post that makes me visit SDE regularly.


What are they thinking? Either go cheap and vanilla or put in some real effort and do a reissue campaign justice with some nicely designed packaging, notes, booklets, books, bonus tracks etc. It also does not match the first set either stylistically or price-wise. Shame, the music deserves better.


I too prefer the jewel cases to straight cardboard because I want packaging that protects the playing surface of each of the CD’s and doesn’t allow it to scratch/scuff like cardboard with no protective inner sleeves can and will do. I’d like for each of these albums to be available as individual releases as well. Thanks Paul, for an excellent video unboxing !

Ross Baker

Glad these are the larger, Japanese-style LP replicas. Quite often the UK ones do them at card sleeve size (I have an Odessey & Oracle like that, and the Souxsie & the Banshees bos sets) and they end up going missing on my shelves because the accidentally get shifted back so I can’t see the spine.

They look like nice sets, and I really do need to get into Neil Young properly. Hopefully the price will become more sensible over time…


Are these jewel case size or bigger?

And, any idea whether they will be released individually?


On the Hoffman thread there is reference to a press release yesterday by Warners on these. The interesting bit to me is that they are limited to 3000 (I am sure that means each box). According t0 discogs the 1-4 card sleeve box was limited to 2500.
Also @Laszlo, folks on the thread have confirmed they are not HDCD.

Laszlo Molnar

Hi Paul

Thank you for the review. Are these HDCD editions?

Ryan Anderson

Thank you, but I will wait until these are separately released so that I can have my CD housed, safely, in a plastic jewel case with a booklet that has font that I can actually read. I am not for CD’s that try to replicate an LP’s art work. 90% of what make an LP’s art work special is the size of the packaging. You can actually read everything!

Amy L

I hate the inconsistency of the releases. The first box is now only available in jewel boxes and its a smaller box. Now these new ones are bigger and vinyl replicas. I’d rather have all vinyl replicas or all jewel boxes.


American Stars and Bars should have had a big round hype sticker on the cover.


There’s an seven year gap between sets 1-4 and these two new ones. Does that mean we can expect the next set(s) around 2024?! Jeez, just bung the whole lot in a complete album box set a-la Dylan and stop all this mucking around. We will all be long dead by the time the entire catalogue is reissued.


I’m surprised he hasn’t released any high-res formats of these. Oh well one day


What a baffling release, in everything from design to pricing. Some of the titles get inner sleeves, some don’t..and for that price I’d expect more than oversize card wallets and the discs housed directly next to those paper lyric sheets. Compared to something like the Reprise set of Joni’s 1968-1979 albums, this is just a bizarre item. They’ve gone to great lengths for some things (a glossy effect here, a gatefold there) but no uniformity and those outer cases are poor for a premium price product aren’t they.

Excellent unboxing video as always Paul, and I’m glad I can see exactly what we would get for all that money. I will hold out for a major price-drop on both, or hope that one day NY gets a huge boxset like the Dylan one. Aside from he fairly big deal of Times Fades Away debuting on CD, there’s nothing here I don’t have in some form anyway.


These are just like the original vinyl artworks, (that’s why “Comes a time” is so….. simple, in terms of artwork), and that’s fine with me. I wouldn’t want them to be any different.
As for the “deluxe” version of Box 1-4 (with replica sleeves and gold cds), it was expensive in the beginning, but then some years after its release I managed to grab it on Amazon for the same price as the “regular” edition. I don’t recall it was a Market seller, I think it was from Amazon itself.

David Bruce

Is the price checker above broken? Showing sub-£40 prices on Amazon UK for me but when I click they’re still around £60.


Both from Amazon seller, Rarewaves, will cost, with postage, just under £80.00. Had originally planned to buy them together from Amazon.com, but now this price just beats that, given the import duty advance the latter ask for.
Can’t remember getting reamed with import charges when ordered from Rarewaves before. Certainly haven’t been by Moviemars, another Amazon UK seller, from whom I’ve ordered many times.
No telling on this occasion though I guess. Still £125.00 though if you order from amazon.co.uk itself, so if you intent on getting them, as I am, it will clearly still be a better deal regardless!

Sharpshooting Joe

I`m going for Amazon US, not risking Customs. I have bought lots of single CDs from CDJapan without any probs then I got done for an average of £12×3 times running by Mr Customs man and the PO. Then I just received my latest order from CDJ without issue.
I wouldn`t risk it with an order for £80 with customs & PO charges of around £25-£30 when I can order for another £7 with no worries.

James vandegrift

Having spent time with the box’s the sound is incredible. Having said that would have preferred jewel cases. Paper wears quickly. I still Put these in the win column. Side Note, Just Want To Thank Paul For A Wonderful Website I Visit Everyday. Tonight’s the Night is Incredible!


Not defending the UK price at all, but $40 US per box set is reasonable (especially for 8.5-12 with five discs). Hopefully the UK price will come down soon.

I’d still prefer to see the albums individually released – I only care to own one or two albums per box. Now we can resume debating if Archives Vol 2 will ever come out in CD/DVD/Blu-Ray formats. :-)

Sharpshooting Joe

All those cheap Amazon links are for Marketplace sellers in the USA or Canada.
You may be lucky and Customs will not bother with your package or you could be caught out and end up paying VAT and the Post Office charge of £8 for delivering something that already has postage paid. Or, you could order both from Amazon USA and pay import charges in advance, total cost – £87.60.

Paul E.

Does the VAT charge apply to Amazon Canada purchases shipping to the United States? I’m in the U.S. and wonder if my Canadian pre-order included the VAT calculations/costs upfront? Any insight is greatly appreciated. I’d be a bit annoyed if these costs were not factored by Amazon.ca

Daniel Wylie

Prices are much cheaper from Amazon Market sellers.

andrew r

They come from canada so you will inevitably be paying import tax

andrew r

Paul where did the european prices spring from ? i checked german and french amazon both
are over 70 euro?


I bought the two boxes in amazon UK. amazon.fr has not the original boxes in its database. 70 euros are imported boxes in marketplace stores.


Great unboxing as usual. Was keen to know what these looked like as mine have been squirrelled away by the missus for my birthday. Can’t believe there has been zero promotion for these, especially with TFA on CD for the first time.

Barrie Sillars

Quite nice sets, though the discs do rattle around. Why they couldn’t have put them in blank paper sleeves I don’t know. I put them in some myself.


Is Time Fades Away missing its inner sleeve? My vinyl copy has one with a live shot on one side and a photo of Neil playing a hello Flying V on the other.

Mic Smith

Yes sadly they seem to have over looked the inner sleeve on TFA.

Paul English

I bought the first box and the four CDs are in jewel cases inside an outer cardboard slipcase.
Were there vinyl replicas for the first box too?

Amy L

What does IIRC mean?

So the first set was issued in vinyl replicas but the CDs were gold?

Wow, I wonder where that set might be sold?

Amy L

Thanks for the reply. Really enjoy your site. Nice work


Hi, I bought the first box in the USA through NY webstore . the cds are gold and the packaging are vinyl replica as for those boxes. it was a limited edition series we couldn’t find in Europe

Amy L

Thanks for the info. I guess they’d be next to impossible to find these days.

I wish they’d re-issue the first box as vinyl replicas…they don’t have to be gold CDs but it would be nice to have all the sets look the same.


don’t remember how it costs but this first box set was very expansive for sure.



1. no inner sleeves 4 CDs? that’s common senses isn’t it?
2. prices are ridiculous
3. hey Paul, how about The Blanc tapes unboxing next? There’s many videos for Def Leppard, but none for Blancmange…


Am holding out for a Japanese mini LP series that will surely come in v near future. I see that Hitchhiker is getting an SHM-CD issue in Japan though not clear in its packaging yet


Paul, why is the 3rd box named 8.5 – 12 and not 9-13?


your take is right Paul

Tom M Hans

Erratic re-issue. I bought them both and like it. Love the feel of the vinyl replica. However, size is an issue. Still wondering about Vol. 1 through 4 and the lack of booklets which makes me keep the original discs.

CJ Feeney

I see they have replicated the Times Fades Away spelling error on the cover sticker that was on the vinyl set.

The vinty set of 5-8 was way overpriced and poor quality. This looks a lot better, and the price seems to be dropping like a stone

CJ Feeney

I see they have replicated the Times Fades Away spelling error on the cover sticker.


I’m a bit surprised that there hasn’t been more reaction to release of Time Fades Away on CD for the first time. Sure it’s a live album but it was the official followup to Harvest. It’s a good album. This is the best box of the seventies for me.


I’m kicking myself a little for buying the vinyl re-issue last year now the CD box is out, seeing the Marketplace seller prices.

Ben Williams

Definitely not worth the money as it is. Is there anyone that has gone straight out and bought this? What do you think of it if you did?

Seems very expensive for what you get in terms of packaging. The music is of course, incredible but considering you can get these individually in bog standard CD form pretty cheap, really seems too expensive! If these had been done like the Bee Gees 1974/1979 or that Faces album box Warner put out a couple of years ago, and charged about £25 for each box, it wouldn’t be too bad but asking for £50-£60 is crazy. I know these are remastered but still, would rather they just put out these CD’s out in budget form remastered like the last ones or at least just stick out each remastered album out individually.

Shame Neil Young (or his team) haven’t done a Dylan-style ‘complete’ box of his first lot of Reprise albums; everything from his first solo album all the way through to Reactor. And then pick up with This Notes For You up to Peace Trail – or go the whole hog and put everything in a box and make like a 60-disc Elvis style set and put all his original studio albums remastered in a nice box with a book. Then put all his other rare and unreleased recordings in another box. There’s definitely a fan base that want everything on disc all together!


Thanks Paul — always appreciate these unboxings. Nice to see they’ve paid attention to reproducing the originals, right down to the textures it seems, though it’s certainly not on a par with the Japanese Led Zep box. By the way, the “booklet” in Live Rust is merely the original two inner sleeves since it was a double LP. Shame it didn’t come as a two-disker with one disk in each end of the gatefold.

Richard den Besten

Paul, i remember the 1st box and later after the release the had the albums separately in jewel cases i do prefer those albums in jewel because paper artwork will grow old quickly ..

any news on jewel editions …