It makes perfect sense. One doesn’t believe in the benefits of technology, the other seems to hail from a time where the height of tech was a hand-cranked mangle. Finally, Laura Marling’s sessions from Jack White’s studio surface, and they’re as guilelessly natural – just Laura, a guitar and background clatter – as the product of a 25-minute recording session should be.
Jack’s Third Man Records is the Sun Records of its day: a place where the immediate sonic snapshot of the artist tells its own story, even though both songs here are covers – the a-side ‘Blues Run The Game’ originally by troubled singer Jackson C Frank, backed with Neil Young’s ‘The Needle And The Damage Done’, about his friends’ freefall into heroin addiction in the ’70s.
Laura Marling, ‘Blues Run The Game’:
As far as we know, the new folk scene isn’t full of raving skagheads just yet, but the poignancy here lies elsewhere; although they were both rock songs on release, they’ve since been absorbed into a wider folk lexicon – just as Marling’s elegantly modern Brit-folk deserves to be.
Laura Marling, ‘The Needle And The Damage Done’:
And even though she’s deep in the heart of Nashville here, it almost goes without saying that she makes both utterly her own, her sagacious voice warm and fluttery, occasionally cracking like the wood fire that Jack probably uses to power his studio. Breathtaking.
Copy taken from On Repeat in the new issue of NME, on sale Wednesday November 10