Iron and Wine – Home Recordings (2002)

Volume the second of recordings of just Sam Beam, his nice guitars, and his bedroom. This one is a little lot less essential, since, of the eleven songs here, nine are available in higher-fi versions on more widely available releases. On the plus side, that makes this a better piece of collected music, since the songs that went on to live elsewhere tend to be the ones that were more interesting in the first place.
If you’re big on just Sam and his gee-tar (or his SHE-tar if he considers it to be a female), then you’ll love the early versions of “A History Of Lovers” and “He Lays in the Reins,” although I prefer the later full-band arrangements on “In The Reins.” The latter, in particular, suffers from reallyslownotveryinterestingsongitis until it gets musical hooks. The former still has wonderfully cynical lyrics about love (“cuckold some men they’re remember bitterly / Fuck ’em they’ll come back for more”) and all that but still no propulsion.
And if you’re a fan of songs that have the good things, you’ll enjoy “Love and Some Verses,” “Teeth in the Grass,” and “Sunset and Soon Forgotten,” but they’re all slightly improved for the album “Our Endless Numbered Days.” Ditto for The Sea and the Rhythm’s “The Night Descending.” The pretty okay “Hickory” and the sentimentality-buttered “Swans and the Swimming” appear on OEND’s bonus CD, too. Though reflect for a second on the sadness of the line “Take me again / She said, thinking of him / To the pond with the swans the swimming.” Siiiiggghhh.
Lastly, everyone’s favourite Israelite queen whore thing shows up for “Jezebel,” here more stripped down than it’d be later on the “Woman King” EP. Unless you’re really good looking there’s no need to get all stripped down for this one.
That leaves just three tracks that you really need this lover for. They’re all predictably good, though! “Mothers of the Rodeo” has a nice choral feel and a nice little lilt, even if it’s not the best ever, “Wade Across the Water” is freakishly beautiful even if I have no idea what he’s singing about and it’s not catchy. It’s nice and brief too.
But that’s it! It’s hard to be too adoring of a bunch o’ songs that are mostly availsies elsewhere, but taken for what it is it’s a reliably very nice listen, and songs of these songs are, to be fair, hard to find. Oh, and Iron and Wine! So nostalgic! So headache-healing! So Home Recordings 2002licious!

7 /10

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