#20- NEIL YOUNG: "A Letter Home"
As I mentioned in my preface to this year's countdown the other day (see two blog posts ago, if you don't know what I mean), I am going to make an earnest effort to give more love and consideration to 2015's album releases than I have done for 2014 and its predecessors.
This album is a classic example of that. While it is, admittedly, an album that requires the listener to be in a certain "mood", I haven't given it nearly the attention it deserves.
To sum up this inventive piece of work, it is a 40-minute trip down memory lane. Not only has Neil compiled a collection of 12 great covers, but he recorded them in a refurbished "Voice-o-Graph" from 1947, one that belongs to the man who is (single-handedly) trying to keep the early 20th Century alive... Mr. Jack White.
Let me further illustrate it, by using their own words. Firstly, Jack White said, "we were obfuscating beauty on purpose to get to a different place." The opening track is spoken dialogue from Neil Young to Edna "Rassy" Young, Neil's mother, who died in 1990. Neil also says of his selection of covers: it is..."an unheard collection of rediscovered songs from the past recorded on ancient elecro-mechanical technology captures and unleashes the essence of something that could have been gone forever." This booth... the Voice-o-Graph would allow the artist (or person) to go inside and record music, while simultaneously creating a vinyl record of the recording session. To me... the person that grew up in the late 20th century, it almost seems ironic... like the technology of 1947 was even more advanced than what we have nowadays. Obviously, I know that this isn't the case, but it is still mind blowing to know that this technology existed then...and makes me wonder why I can't cut my own vinyl...at least at an affordable price.
On the album, Young covers some of his peers... many of whom he has worked with in the past. Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Gordon Lightfoot are just a few of the stellar artists covered on this recording.
I'd tell you, the reader, to get busy listening to this album... but I think that I need to. It's time to start showing love to my older records before concerning myself with new records. In the meantime, why don't you enjoy these two videos that will better give you an idea of EXACTLY what this album is.
"Needle of Death"
"Girl From The North Country"
and, lastly, this snippet from Jimmy Fallon that describes the booth in which the album was recorded...