Rolling Stone - p.944 stars out of 5
-- "Young charges forward here, playing half of the imminent NEIL YOUNG in pristine, tremulous vocal form and reclaiming six of his Buffalo Springfield songs..."
Spin - p.943.5 stars out of 5
-- "His deceptively fragile vocal style and skewed lyrical genius were already evident at age 22 in these 13 acoustic songs recorded over two nights..."
Entertainment Weekly - p.70
"'The Loner,' the exquisite 'Birds,' and the bittersweet title song provide a live demo tape of his immediate future." -- Grade: B+
Billboard (p.41) - "It's an intimate performance....It's the kind of recording that makes you wish you were there -- but also makes you feel like you are."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1185 stars out of 5
-- "SUGAR MOUNTAIN is Neil Young, unadorned, from when he was a true receptor, a feeling arranger capturing America's secret heart: 40 years in, it still has the capacity to draw you in and stop time."
Clash (magazine) (p.109) - "The mood is relaxed as Young talks with the crowd between numbers, setting up songs or just sharing anecdotes. A unique window into the past of this legendary musician."
Record Collector (magazine) - pp.104-1054 stars out of 5
-- "Young -- gutsy as ever -- steps out with just his acoustic guitar, commanding the audience with a smattering of Springfield placations and a number of early solo cuts."
Personnel: Neil Young (vocals, guitar).
This third release in Neil Young's Archives Performance series presents the entire 1968 Ann Arbor show legendary among Young-o-philes for including the version of "Sugar Mountain" previously released on 1979's DECADE. The revelatory set captures the Canadian troubadour finding his footing as a solo artist after the break-up of Buffalo Springfield and on the eve of his debut. Petrified about not having enough material, Young had to be rallied from his hotel by the club's manager to perform in front of the unexpected capacity crowd.
His stage fright quickly gives way to a hilarious persona--sort of a stoner Buddy Hackett--who rambles about popping pills at his old bookstore job, out-of-tune Buffalo Springfield gigs, and his lack of "happy songs." These goofball but charming "raps" (six in total, each given their own track) counterbalance the hypnotically emotive performances they bookend. With just an acoustic guitar and his crystalline alto sharp as a lathe, the singer reinvents Buffalo Springfield deep cuts such as "Out of My Mind," "Nowadays Clancy Can't Even Sing," and "Expecting to Fly" and offers a glimpse of future releases like "The Loner" before they were buried in overdubs on NEIL YOUNG. An essential purchase for both fans and newcomers, SUGAR MOUNTAIN provides a deepened portrait of the songwriter as his mercurial but prodigious talent ripened.