Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 16 out of 17
  2. Negative: 0 out of 17
  1. 100
    Sugar Mountain is a fascinating snapshot of Neil Young at a transitory moment in his long career, for which it also provides an indelible template.
  2. Live at Canterbury House, the latest in a series of live recordings from his archives, is pretty simple-left track is voice, right track acoustic guitar. Simplicity, as is evident here, serves him quite well.
  3. It's a marvelously intimate performance, unguarded and open-hearted, unique in its delicate touch: it's Neil Young before the myth crystallized, and listening to it anew, it's easy to fall in love with him all over again.
  4. By investing a now-classic catalog with immediacy, freshness and a delicate, humbling charm, Sugar Mountain not only stands as the best argument for the Archives series and illumination it could provide, but as a classic live record in its own right.
  5. The accompanying DVD offers only a higher fidelity version of the audio performance, but Sugar Mountain remains a magical and rare portrait of a budding genius.
  6. His meandering monologues contrast with the top-notch if uniformly pensive songs.
  7. As a portrait of this ageless artist as a truly young man, Sugar Mountain is an invaluable document--and a pretty compelling one, too.
  8. Young charges forward here, playing half of the imminent Neil Young in pristine, tremulous-vocal form and reclaiming six of his Buffalo Springfield songs.
  9. The tracklist ebbs and flows between tunes unknown to the audience, Buffalo Springfield material and songs from his teenage years (the tremulous lament for youth, Sugar Mountain), and strikes a consistently plaintive note. It's this banter with the audience, however, that leavens proceedings.
  10. The production on Sugar Mountain is not as polished as Live At Massey Hall, which was recorded three years later as Young's career trajectory was reaching superstar status. As a result the atmosphere is electrically intimate, making the listener feel like they are actually at the gig - the true marker of a great live album.
  11. The quality of the recording and performances makes for a brilliant soundtrack.
  12. It's the kind of recording that makes you wish you were there—but also makes you feel like you are.
  13. Much of the time, though, those "raps" meander--a good fifth of Sugar Mountain's 70-minute run time is devoted to them, and their replay value is limited. Which is too bad--the performances are excellent.
  14. 70
    His deceptively fragile vocal style and skewed lyrical genius were already evident at age 22 in these 13 acoustic songs recorded over two nights at a Michigan Episcopal church.
  15. Sugar Mountain is less impressive than Massey Hall but it offers more insight, catching Young at a peak of undiscovered exuberance, sharing loose stories between songs, strumming aimlessly and joking with the crowd.
  16. This uncertainty paired with brilliance is emblematic of the recording, this moment in his career. Sugar Mountain makes sense in conjunction with last year’s "Live at Massey Hall 1971" release. Or, more specifically, it’s a direct precursor to the singer/songwriter confidence he exuded three years later.
  17. However appealing Sugar Mountain may be to some, the storytelling alone will prove too much for others. [Jan 2009, p.127]
User Score
9.0

Universal acclaim- based on 5 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jan 2, 2012
    10
    This album gives you the feeling you're actually there and getting to know the performer like no other live album I've ever heard. Plus the music has got to be the most beautiful and honest of his or almost anyone else's career. Truly a young genius at the height of his early years! Full Review »