Tornado & Lock Down Produces Welch & Rawlings'  All The Good Times Are Past And Gone

First their Woodland Studio took a direct hit from the tornado that tore through Nashville March of 2020, and then came the Covid lock down.

Like the rest of us locked down at home but with more talent than most, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings decided to produce a home recording. The result is this all-analog gem released first in the fall of 2020 in a limited to 2,500 copies edition available only on the Acony Records Online Store and last year in a more standard jacketed edition.

Being analog devotees, you can be sure the recording was to tape and remained in the analog domain through lacquer cutting on the couple's restored lathe now located closer to home in Nashville.

The song selection is a combination of traditional laments along with some familiar covers of tunes by Bob Dylan ("Senõr" from Street Legal and "Abandoned Love" dropped from Desire in 1975 and finally released a decade later on the Biograph compilation), John Prine (“Hello In There”) and Norman Blake’s “Ginseng Sullivan” from his 1971 album Back Home In Sulphur Springs. The set begins with a cover of Elizabeth Cotten’s “Oh Babe In Ain’t No Lie”. “Freight Train”, Cotten’s oft-covered and best known song has been credited for helping to start the “skiffle” movement in the U.K. There’s also a cover of the oft-covered “Jackson”, a Jerry Leiber song written not with Mike Stoller but with Billy Edd Wheeler, first heard on The Kingston Trio’s 1963 Sunny Side album. “Jackson” begins after Dylan’s “Abandoned Love” abruptly breaks down. The song is positively celebratory following nine appropriately downcast lock down tunes. The couple go out on an optimistic note with a cover of Arlie Duff’s “You All Come” written in 1953 sometimes covered as here, as “Y’all Come” (“come see us when you can”), which perhaps looks forward to live touring .

The production doesn’t attempt to produce a studio recording at home. Rather it’s a living room recording done right—or whatever room in the Welch/Rawlings house was used. A Telefunken SM2c condenser stereo microphone vividly and accurately captures the three-dimensional space and the duo in it. Rawlings used an Otari ¼” in 2 track deck recording at 15 IPS. Playback was via a Studer A820 with the signal cut directly to lacquer on a Neumann VMS80 lathe fitted with an Ortofon DSS 731 cutterhead. Also utilized: a Fairchild 670 limiter, Barry Wolifson’s (Sterling Sound’s lathe tech) M/S decoder and a P&G 1500 Series Stereo Fader. Can it get more purist?

You are sure to enjoy both the music making and the sound throughout. I have to single out, though, the cover of John Prine’s “Hello in There”. If the lockdown didn’t occasionally drive you to tears, this “Hello in There” just might be the ticket. An album of pure music making not to be missed. It won a 2021 Grammy for Best Folk Album.

Music Direct Buy It Now

ltusler's picture

Thanks for the review, I am a huge fan of these two. All of their music is in regular rotation both digital and analog at my place. There is also a couple of titles under The David Rawlings Machine that are nice as well.

mraudioguru's picture

...from their webstore when it first came out back in 2020. EXCELLENT LP!!! Highly recommended.

Jack Gilvey's picture

ever since discovering them via this site. Took delivery of this one in December and it's truly great on all counts. There's a wonderful John/Paul synergy to their voices.

ltusler's picture
Trane's picture

Frankly, the Boots No. 2: The Lost Songs (Vol. 1 | 2 | 3) box set is even better.

Grx8's picture

Got it couple of months ago, what a record! Señor has always been one of my fav Dylan’s.

Mezzanine5's picture

Rawling's vocals on Senor are not his best work and it's not quite as good as the other stuff. These two are beloved in my world and I'd buy a collection of death metal nursery rhymes from them, but make a start with the other records if you're a GW and DR newbie.

my new username's picture

I don't suppose I'd normally do this here, but Bandcamp has the LP in stock (unlike Music Direct.) Same price, AND being Bandcamp, you also get a lossless download for free.

I got no affiliation with Bandcamp; that's just their business model. Fun anecdote: One of the other Bandcamp users commented about the "defect" at the end of one song, "Abandoned Love are scrambled???" << that's a quote

Yes dear, it's a "sound effect" they kept in because it's analog tape. Kids today!

Now listening to ltusler's concert link. That's really great also.

audiotom's picture


Love their recordings - Gillian’s and Dave’s

If they would only re-release Time The Reveator

pessoist's picture

from Heidelberg Germany to Tulsa Mississipppippipi to listen to that. ;-)
surely not my thing. :-)

ltusler's picture

is interested.
The Harrow & The Harvest
Vinyl LPs are back in stock!
After being out of stock for almost a year, Gillian Welch's The Harrow & The Harvest on vinyl is now available!