But again, I think it has a lot to do with that endless confusion between the pleasing artifacts inherent in analogue playback systems and the original capture/processing. I described it here
Neil Young, I suspect, is hankering after a sound that is not provided by (actually avoided in) digital playback systems. In other words, Neil Young would probably like the MP3s if the original wavs were first taken off vinyl discs!
I used to have a copy of John Martyn's "One World" on cassette and also the CD release - the cassette sounded rubbish in a lot of ways, but the snare drum on "Dancing" was AMAZING on the cassette - something in there was just really rounding it out, and on the CD release was just a bit of a naff weak snare sound. I very much considered recording the tape onto a blank CD for that song... I also tracked a snare drum track onto a cassette before re-importing into Pro Tools once and it had a lot of the results I was after.
But that's kind of the point - I still reimported it into Pro Tools, and I didn't lose the distortions I was after.
Anto mo Ninja, Watashi mo Ninja