Ex-Crazy Horse guitarist Poncho Sampedro discusses highlights of Neil Young’s ‘Archives Volume II’ box set

The “Retail Edition” of Neil Young‘s expansive Archives Volume II: 1972-1976 box set was released Friday, offering a less-pricey alternative to the “Deluxe Edition” that first was issued in November 2020.

As previously reported, Archives Volume II features 10 CDs with a total of 131 tracks, 12 of which never appeared on any previous Young release, plus 50 unheard versions of previously issued songs.

Frank “Poncho” Sampedro, who played with Young’s longtime backing band Crazy Horse from 1975 to 2014, contributed to over 20 tracks. He tells ABC Audio that among the highlights for him is an early version of Neil’s classic 1979 song “Powderfinger” that was recorded during sessions for 1975’s Zuma album.

“It’s when we first were learning the song,” Sampedro recalls. “Neil doesn’t even sing all the same words. He doesn’t play the [guitar line] all the time. And it’s moving really slow and groovy…It was almost a dirge, but I loved it…[I]f you want to hear the birth of a song, that’s it.”

Archives Volume II’s last disc includes performances from two March 1976 concerts that Young & Crazy Horse played at Tokyo’s famed Budokan venue.

Sampedro admits that the second show was memorable for him because he and bassist Billy Talbot were high on LSD.

Poncho tells ABC Audio that he kept his eyes closed for most of the concert, but one of the times he did open them, “I looked, and Billy and Neil were at the mics…singing, and giant mandalas were coming out of their heads…And it was so beautiful.”

Archives Volume II’s “Retail Edition” is available now at Young’s online store and retail outlets. In addition, a second run of the “Deluxe Edition” also was released Friday, and can be purchased exclusively at Neil’s store.

By Matt Friedlander
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