Saturday, April 26, 2014

Neil Young's A Letter Home

Less than a week after Third Man Records sold out Neil Young's new, ultra lo-fi album of covers, Reprise has announced it will re-release it again, so that the masses can get on it this time. Apart from the standard vinyl and CD editions, there will also be a limited edition box set, which will include:

  • Standard audio LP pressed on 180-gram black vinyl
  • Audiophile LP pressed on 180-gram black vinyl (direct feed from the booth)
  • Standard audio CD
  • DVD with footage from the recording
  • 12" x 12", 32-page full color booklet
  • Seven 6" vinyl discs pressed on clear vinyl. The 7th disc of this set features a version of Bob Dylan's Blowin' In The Wind backed with an alternate take/arrangement of Crazy 
  • Download card for the hi-res Audiophile version

An excerpt from the official press release:
Young recorded the collection of covers with (Jack) White on a refurbished 1947 Voice-O-Graph recording booth at Third Man's Nashville headquarters. Imagine a very simple recording studio not much larger than a phone booth and you'll get the idea. He describes the album as "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." Recorded live to track to one-track, mono, the album has an inherent warm, primitive feel of a vintage Folkways recording. This is a deeply personal and expressive listening experience which is as real and raw emotionally as it is sonically and yet light of touch in its form and flow.

1. A Letter Home Intro
2. Changes (Phil Ochs)
3. Girl From The North Country (Bob Dylan)
4. Needle Of Death (Bert Jansch)
5. Early Morning Rain (Gordon Lightfoot)
6. Crazy (Willie Nelson)
7. Reason To Believe (Tim Hardin)
8. On The Road Again (Willie Nelson)
9. If You Could Read My Mind (Gordon Lightfoot)
10. Since I Met You Baby (Ivory Joe Hunter)
11. My Hometown (Bruce Springsteen)
12. I Wonder If I Care As Much (Don Everly)

Here is a preview of what the songs will sound like:


Sunday, April 20, 2014

American Beauty

This year's Bruce Springsteen Record Store Day exclusive is an EP of four never-before-released tracks, outtakes from High Hopes.

1. American Beauty - This Spector-inspired production has a similar garage-sounding groove to Frankie Fell In Love and My Lucky Day, but slower. Bruce sings in a rather high register throughout. If you listen close enough, you can hear him rehashing a couple of familiar lyrical phrases from the past decade. Should sound great live, especially with such a cool outtro. 

2. Mary Mary - Average song at best, because it sounds too much like Leah (an excellent one by the way), with shades of We Take Care Of Our Own.

3. Hurry Up Sundown - Fantastic lively tune which brings to mind some of the upbeat ones from The River, and it would've fitted nicely on High Hopes. It contains some interesting chord progressions reminiscent of late '80s R.E.M., and just a little bit of Husker Du in there. The only thing I don't dig is Bruce's over-processed vocals.

4. Hey Blue Eyes - Politically charged lyrics that mixes the personal with the serious context of the time. Could've come out of the Devils & Dust era. The music grows on you. I think High Hopes would've been a better album had it been included.

Bruce and the band (with Tom Morello and sans Little Steven) are currently on a short North American tour which is due to end next month. But that doesn't mean there's nothing else planned for the rest of the year. This is just mere speculation and there are no rumors yet, but I'm sure at least one of the following things is bound to happen:

- Another North American tour later in the year, this time covering the major Springsteen markets

- A brand new album with brand new songs (with the E Street Band) released by Christmas or early next year, which will definitely lead to another tour of the States and of course, Europe next summer (I doubt they'll tour Australia for a third year in a row, but I'm hoping)

- Archival Release: The River boxset or Born In The USA boxset released just in time for the holiday season. Jon Landau also mentioned that previous shows would be part of the official bootleg program, and if that's so, the Wrecking Ball tour is the most likely choice to begin with

- Live Album/Concert Film: Only the Melbourne #2 bootleg has not been released yet, which could possibly mean it's being treated for a live release, and there are several good reasons why this could be....the Born To Run album was performed (huge selling point), it was a very long, not to mention unique show (3 hrs 50 mins), the setlist contained several Wrecking Ball songs (to perhaps make up for the fact that there has been no full Wrecking Ball show released on video yet, who knows?), it was a stadium show, and it's in Australia (another selling point)

- Bruce ditches the E Street Band, for a while, and does another Seeger Sessions project, and tours to support it

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sparks fly on E Street

A big congratulations to the hard-rocking, heart-stopping, pants-dropping, house-rocking, earth-quaking, booty-shaking, nerve-breaking, Viagra-taking, death-defying, history-making, legendary E STREET BAND for their long overdue induction into the Rock& Roll Hall Of Fame.

(C) Frank Stefanko, 1978

I told a story with the E Street Band that was and is bigger than anything I could have told on my own.
- Bruce Springsteen

(C) Danny Clinch, 2007