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Letter Home [VINYL]
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Third Man Records unearths Neil Young's A Letter Home. ''An unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient electro mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever.'' - Homer Grosvenor Last July (2013), Neil Young traveled to Nashville, Tenn to record an album of covers at Jack White's Third Man Records on a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph vinyl recording booth. ''Neil Young just stopped by. He was driving his electric car, the LincVolt, he was driving around town and filming stuff, and he stopped by, checked it out, and me and him were talking about it. We had a curtain set up on the other side,'' said White. ''And some kid came into the recording booth and recorded a Neil Young song and when he opened the door, Neil Young just peaked his head out.'' ''It was a pretty beautiful moment. And I think that a few months later he called me and said, 'Hey man I want to come and record in that booth. Hey, maybe I'll do my whole next record there.' I'm like, 'I'm not going to stop you. Where do you want me to pick you up?''' 180-gram single LP, old-style, tip-on sleeves.
Top Customer Reviews
What's so annoying is that it's a good idea, and, as far as I can tell, I like Neil's performances of this mix of covers of very good songs. But...he's had a whim to record the whole lot in a refurbished 1947 Voice-o-Graph recording booth, which is effectively a poor quality microphone in a phone booth with extremely crude means of recording. The result sounds like a badly recorded 78, pressed off-centre and then used for generations of kids to eat their lunch off. It's awful. I can just about cope with the hiss, the scratches and the fades but the variable speed making the pitch wander is almost unbearably painful at times, as is the ear-piercing treble distortion on some of the harmonica.
I suppose after the brilliant Psychedelic Pill and the joy of hearing the great early performances on At The Cellar Door we were just about due for something pretty grim, and we've got it. The thing is, Neil himself won't give a hoot about what we all think of this. It's what he felt like doing so he did it. We can take it or leave it - it's behind him now and he's on to the next thing he feels like doing, whatever that is. I've got to admire him for it, even if I don't always like the results.
"I sing the song because I love the man, I know that some of you don't understand..." Well, I love the man, but this time I don't understand.Read more ›
A Letter Home is an album of cover versions recorded on a refurbished 1947 Voice -o-Graph recording booth which offered users a primitive form of recording personal messages or songs that people might use to send messages to their families. The album was rush released on April 19th (Record Store Day) but was not a typical RSD release as no participating shops were provided with copies to sell on the day. When news broke that the album was available through Third Man Records the initial pressing sold out in a day leading to at least one copy selling on eBay for over £100.
A few weeks later came news of a standard CD release and a vinyl boxed set – news that surely could have been shared earlier to avoid Young’s fans from panic buying that first “vinyl-only” release.
This review is of the vinyl box set, which is currently selling for a hefty £144 to UK buyers but was available (briefly) on Amazon for around £84 on pre-order. Fortunately, this reviewer paid the lower price.
The box set boasts 11 discs, a download code and a book that provides the purchaser with 6 copies of the largely the same material in various formats and in at least 2 grades of quality. I’ll come to the formats later while covering the music.
Neil Young’s musical roots lay in the folk music of North America and on A Letter Home he is effectively paying tribute to the song writers that provided him with those roots, including Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, Bert Jansch, Gordon Lightfoot, Willie Nelson, Don Everly and Ivory Joe Hunter, plus the modern day troubadour that is Bruce Springsteen.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Possibly the worst internal packaging ever, the discs inside were all over the place. Moreover, both LPs - which didn't shift during shipping like the mini-singles or CDs - had bad... Read morePublished 2 months ago by K-Square
So shocking beyond belief! This Album shouldn't of been... allowed to be released without pre warning of it!!Published 3 months ago by Mr. M. MacIntyre
I cannot begin to describe how terrible this album is the sound quality is the worse I have ever heard on an album How Neil Young can have released this album is totally beyond my... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Colin Heapy
I love the communication with his mother! Songs are strong but one and another is heavy nostalgish s***!Published 6 months ago by håkan hanneberg
Querky, awful quality but excellent. The talking bit has to be skipped after listening to it a few times.But it's Neil Young. SpendidPublished 14 months ago by M. Wainwright