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Neil young a letter home

A Letter Home

Neil Young - 2014

It’s kind of hard to say anything bad about this album, even before you hear it. If you don’t know the premise of this recording yet, here it is… Apparently back in the 1940’s they used to have these booths that you could pay to go inside and record directly onto vinyl. It’s pretty insane. It’s not much bigger than a phone booth, so you can only really fit one person in there at a time for the most part. Of course Jack White knows about these things and got ahold of one of the only 3 or so that even exist anymore. He had it restored and if you visit Third Man Records you can pay to use it yourself. Neil Young was of course intrigued by this contraption, and Neil and Jack decided it would be cool to record a whole album in the booth. That of course means that the album would be just Neil and his guitar, (or a small keyboard), with no overdubs, and be of a lower quality than you expect from a 2014 album. If you’re a fan of Neil’s, then you know he thrives when he records intimate songs with sparse production. The result of this is really cool. Because the tracks sound like a time capsule of sorts, Young recorded a bunch of songs that he’s admired over the years by Dylan, Willie Nelson, Gordon Lightfoot, etc. He opens the album with a spoken track where he’s talking to his dead mother, presumably because the recordings are sort of a time machine back to the 40’s. This is kind of a weird album to review, because it’s a bit of a novelty. You already know the songs. You already know the artist. You realize that the recording won’t sound radio-quality, and that Neil will have to record them in one take and use the takes with any mistakes that come with that. (not to mention it’s not the most comfortable place to sing and play music) All that being said it’s a really cool premise and one of those recordings that you’ll be glad you have in your collection. There aren’t that many chances to hear such a raw sound in both performance and recording.

Posted by Tambe

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Posted: 08/07/2014

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Tambe