Live performances by Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, recorded at a student ministry on the University of Michigan campus in 1968, are among a series of professional-quality recordings unearthed by the Michigan History Project.
Seven-inch reel-to-reel audio tapes featuring concerts by David Ackles, Tim Buckley, Odetta and Dave Van Ronk were also among the recordings made at a venue called Canterbury House: an Ann Arbor, Michigan venue that regularly hosted counterculture events in the mid to late 1960s.
The Michigan History Project recently acquired the recordings, with the non-profit organization now seeking a record label interested in releasing the concerts.
“We learned of the existence of the tapes about six years ago,” Michigan History Project president Alan Glenn said in a statement. “They were in the possession of a private collector. Then they disappeared, and we were afraid they were gone for good. But a few weeks ago they resurfaced, much to our surprise and relief. Now our first priority will be to get them transferred to a digital format, then make sure that the original analogue tapes are safely archived.”
All of the recordings were made with the consent of the performing artist, the Michigan History Project added. Michigan-based mastering engineer Chris Goosman added of the recordings, “These from Canterbury House aren’t audience-recorded bootlegs but first-rate soundboard captures made on professional equipment. It’s an amazing collection with the rare combination of being well-recorded and also well-preserved, and that makes it even more historically significant.”
Young performed three concerts across 8 to 10 November 1968, at the Canterbury House, with the 9 and 10 November concerts featuring prominently on the archival release Sugar Mountain – Live at Canterbury House 1968. The 8 November concert remains unreleased. At the time of writing, it remains unclear which date(s) the Michigan History Project is in possession of.
Other influential artists such as Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, Buddy Guy, Sun Ra, Richie Havens and more also performed at the Canterbury House during the era, but recordings of their performances have not as yet come to light.
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