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A Letter Home [+digital booklet]
 
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A Letter Home [+digital booklet]

26 May 2014 | Format: MP3

£8.99 (VAT included if applicable)
Also available in CD Format
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Digital Booklet: A Letter Home
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 19 May 2014
  • Release Date: 19 May 2014
  • Label: Reprise
  • Copyright: 2014 Reprise Records
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 39:25
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B00JY37EVC
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,167 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Jun. 2014
Format: Audio CD
"A Letter Home' is essentially a curiosity of a record by Neil Young aimed at cocking a snook at a perennial hobby horse of his. He has consistently argued that the biggest problem with music today is sound quality not least the digital age of MP3's et al degrading our music. His long awaited high resolution Pono alternative may or may not be the answer, but why not in the meantime time strip it all back to mono and record on electro-mechanical technology. Ah, the good old days and with Neil at the helm what a prospect it could be? Indeed one of the top reviews here begins with the statement that "its Neil, so gotta be good, aye?

The answer is an emphatic negative as Neil Young like other great artists regularly releases product which can be sub standard and in this case frankly baffling. Many, including this reviewer, worship at the alter of old Shakey yet he has recorded some real stinkers in his time. Some of his 1980s output was horrific not least the pitiful "Landing on Water" and equally bad "Reactor". In more recent years "Are you passionate" would have better served the listening public by leaving it on the studio floor and sadly this also applies to "Letter Home". The recording quality process is a gimmick, the notes to "Ma" embarrassing and the covers are essentially a very conservative choice. It is difficult to recall a worse version of Dylan's "Girl From the north country" although its the Springsteen song "My Hometown" that suffers most. Granted the old Patsy Cline song "Crazy" does have some charm but that is probably because when we first heard it played the track sounded like this. The piano cover of Tim Hardin's classic "Reason to Believe" is workmanlike while his version of "Needle of Death" by Bert Jansch deserves better sound quality.
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Format: Audio CD
The comments already posted about this album are really helpful. There's such a contrast between the ones who loved it and the ones who hated it - and almost nobody in between. Clear enough. It's EITHER you love NY and you followed his artistic line for the last 50 years with great joy and you will like his latest album OR you won't. Neil Young is great at many things but certainly not at compromising. There is nothing here that will satisfy you if you are used to the over-done glamourous music that fills up radios these days. Nothing groovy that will make you boy-/girlfriend to be frantically dance with/for you. But if you won't to get the feel that your idol - or at least one of them - did a intimate home-made recording - "low-fi" would actually be overrating the sound - a recording just for you, if you want to feel every hint of emotion through the rough sounding result... then you will love it. Maybe even reach heaven.
Be warned.
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Format: Vinyl
Well the idea is as mad as a box of frogs. The sound quality is rubbish - although it sounds like it's coming across and old am radio station and this in itself gives it a nostalgic appeal. But bottom line is there are some very beautiful songs on here. Crucially it's a grower because the more you listen the more you move beyond the idea of the album (the perversity of which I admit appealed to me) to the music itself, which is as good as anything he has ever recorded.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Andy Sweeney TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 1 Jun. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was well aware what this album contained when I ordered it and the premise sounded fascinating. Neil Young sending sonic "letters home" which were recorded in an old 1947 "Voice-O-Graph" recording booth, including covers of songs, chat and a generally informal feeling. It had the feel of an intriguing, unique project. Unfortunately, even knowing all of that didn't prepare me for the sound quality on this album which is, frankly, appalling. Some people may be excited about the results of an artistic, strikingly different project like this, but I honestly found the scratchy, extreme low-fidelity sound difficult to live with. It's not something I can listen to through headphones, it has to be over the stereo system. Better results would have been garnered by using an eighties boom box with built-in microphone than on this album. It's a real shame, because Neil's choice of covers, including Patsy Cline's "Crazy", Dylan's "Girl From The North Country" and Gordon Lightfoot's "If You Could Read My Mind" could have been something truly worth hearing, if this album didn't sound like you were listening to it over an old football stadium PA system, which has had socks stuffed in the speakers to muffle the sound. OK, maybe that's an exaggeration, but only slightly.

This is a curio, a collector's item, something for completists only. Perhaps it wouldn't have seen a general release like this had it not been a Record Store Day item which was, in its original vinyl format, changing hands for what can only be described as silly money. For a fan, it's interesting to hear it once and then file it away with numerous other Neil Young albums that rarely see the light of day any more, so it's difficult not to be disappointed at a full album price.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Robert Pomeroy on 19 July 2014
Format: Vinyl
What is the point?, commercially released '78s from the 20's & 30's never sounded this bad. Even the budget depression era releases from the notoriously shoddy Paramount label didn't sound this bad hot off the press. When we hear a really bad transfer, of say an old Son House 78', it sounds awful because it's taken from the only known (and well used) copy. Jack White's Voice-o-Graph booth is nothing more than a fairground attraction and not indicative of professional recording standards at any point in the 20th century.

Clearly then, this is album not intended replicate the golden era sound of pre-war recordings (odd considering Jack White's interests and Neil's analogue evangelism) . So what are we left with? Neil decides it might be a nice idea to spend the afternoon knocking out a few acoustic covers and then uses some novelty technology to add spooky attenuation to the sound. He could equally have decided to record the album through a tin can walkie talkie and come up with similar results. I have to say that anyone who has shelled out the big bucks for the box set has been had.
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