Close Up Vol. 4, Songs of Family [+digital booklet]

October 9, 2012 | Format: MP3

$9.99
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Digital Booklet: Close Up Vol. 4, Songs of Family
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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: October 9, 2012
  • Release Date: October 9, 2012
  • Label: Amanuensis Productions
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 47:35
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B009I5QQ06
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,584 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
5 star
85%
4 star
15%
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See all 13 customer reviews
It's a good variety and can be listened to multiple times.
Lester H. Nathan
I think they contain some of Suzanne Vega's best work, and I recommend all four volumes very warmly.
Sid Nuncius
A beautiful and sad story, sung with her unique style of lyricism.
E. May

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sid Nuncius TOP 100 REVIEWER on October 10, 2012
Format: Audio CD
All four of these Close Up albums are really excellent. For me these stripped-down re-workings of her songs shed a new light on many of them and in a lot of cases I prefer them to the originals.

That haunting voice is still wonderful - a little huskier and more breathy perhaps which only adds to the atmosphere of the recording. The principal instrument is her acoustic guitar, played beautifully and often solo but augmented by delicate additions of things like organ and electric lead where appropriate. It takes really good material to shine with such minimal production, and these complex, often quirky songs show what very fine music and lyrics Vega has produced. The whole thing sounds intimate and personal (as was the intention), made more so by being quite close-miked and beautifully recorded. The four volumes are simply excellent throughout with great hits sounding original and fresh, and less well-known songs making you wonder why they are less well-known.

You almost certainly know Suzanne Vega's work if you are considering this, and are perhaps wondering whether you need new versions of songs you already own and love. I wondered the same thing but took a chance on this series and I'm delighted I did. I was worried it might be like those outtakes and demo versions which get added as bonus tracks to CDs and often aren't very good. These albums are nothing like that at all - they are a joy. I think they contain some of Suzanne Vega's best work, and I recommend all four volumes very warmly.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel G. Lebryk TOP 50 REVIEWER on October 13, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Suzanne Vega's Close-Up series is a rerecording of a large portion of her huge catalog. This is a remarkable series; she has captured the essence of her beautiful and moving songs. She has stripped the studio production trying to be popular songs from every recording. These albums feel like she is standing in my living room with a small band playing just for me. They are some of the most intimate recordings around. Close-Up 4: Songs of Family is the most acoustic of the series.

I think this album is the best of the series. This recording puts her beautiful warm voice up front and center. Every word is clear and perfect. Suzanne Vega is a story teller, her lyrics are critical to feeling her songs, and the mix makes following those stories easy.

The album includes three songs that were not published previously. The beautiful liner notes explain that she wrote these songs as a teenager.

The songs on this album are deep tracks, songs that didn't see a lot of radio play and were originally recorded on later less popular albums. Because these songs are about family, including "uncles and ex-husbands," there is a lot of emotion and passion. By stripping away the band and multiple tracks to record, Suzanne Vega could get to what was important in the songs, her lyrics and feelings.

Tracks 1-7 are wonderful simple recordings. They are acoustic guitar and Suzanne Vega's voice with the occasional other instruments filling in the background. They are completely different from the original releases.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. May on October 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
As the last album in this four-part series, "Songs of Family" has some songs I expected and some real surprises, such as the two from her teenage years, "The Silver Lady" and "Brother Mine", the latter of which I had never heard. Suzanne has continued the theme of mostly acoustic and "striped-down" production notable in the previous three albums, which have all been uniformly excellent.

"The Silver Lady" I had first heard this lovely and affecting ballad on a recording from the early eighties, when Suzanne used to play it. A beautiful and sad story, sung with her unique style of lyricism. I'm pleased it is mostly solo guitar, as it adds to the poignancy of the tale. Suzanne and Ruby harmonize so perfectly together, on this and the other songs where she is singing back-up.

"Pilgrimage" is a favorite, and their voices blend perfectly to emphasize the effect of the journey, but without too much production. I've always loved the exotic imagery in this song, and the many permutations of the various journeys she describes.

"Widows Walk" has the suppressed anger and intense sense of loss that Suzanne displayed so effectively in live performances of this song, but seemed more muted in the original on Songs in Red and Gray. It remains a very powerful song, with the metaphors of the grounded and sinking ship describing her marriage, headed for the same fate. The appeal to Providence for guidance also dovetails with the sailor's faith in the Creator to help him find his way home, when lost at sea. Again, it benefits from the minimalist production.

"Brother Mine" almost sounds as if she were scolding her son, rather than her younger brother, with lyrics appropriate to the occasion, and a "boys will be boys" acceptance of it.
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