Young Love

by Roy Gregory | December 6, 2012

already wrote a review that discussed the astonishing value offered by some of the CD box sets on offer these days. Star contenders include the Decca and Mercury boxes, but for the non-classical listener here’s another equally enticing prospect: the first four discs, all contained in a single slip case, from the Neil Young Official Release Series. Most of you probably know that Young is serious about his sound. His latest album, Psychedelic Pill, was parallel recorded to analog and high-res digital, the reel stuff being 2” tape before mixdown to 1/2” two-track. The liner notes even list the decks used! I can’t wait to get the LP of this one.

But back to the subject at hand -- Young’s remastering of his early work. The first box in the series contains the albums Neil Young, Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere, After the Gold Rush and Harvest -- and that’s some classic music. The bad news is that the slip case they come in is pretty enough but a little flimsy, and the discs inside come with just a thin card insert in each jewel case, carrying just the cover art, rather than a full booklet like the original releases. But the good news is that the sound is killer. These HDCDs sound much better than my original CDs, with more space and much more natural tonality and expressive flow. Even better, they are available at the knock-down price of 10 the set from Amazon.co.uk, 8 if you are prepared to shop around. Pricing in America, where the set is an import, is higher, but it doesn’t take a lot of ingenuity to access it at the lower cost in Europe.

So, if it’s time that you or someone you know, what with Christmas coming, became reacquainted with these wonderful albums, what better way than this? Then, of course, there’s a whole generation out there that needs to hear not just great music, but great music off disc. Now, if you ever needed an excuse to buy physical media, this is it.

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