Daily Archives: February 7, 2010

267. Steve Earle – “Early Tracks”

The music industry can be a harsh work environment.  Steve Earle spent more than a decade trying to get his talent recognised and his recording works released.

This CD is a compilation of a few of these ignored, belated and unloved efforts. It is more of a curiosity than anything else.

It is the record of a performer and songwriter trying to find a voice.  Earle wrote a few country hits for mainstream artists, and you can hear the more generic approach he was taking here.

The songs are a mix of rockabilly and MOR country.  There is little angst, little passion.  It is country-by-numbers.

The only rough diamond in the mix is an early recording of a song he would polish up in to a real gem later in his career – Devil’s Right Hand. I love the later version.  This early incarnation is merely a demo in comparison.

Perhaps the music honchos were correct back in the late 70s and early 80s in questioning Earle’s acumen.  And the heartbreak and grudge would drive his later brilliance.

None of that motivates owning this. Seek out other works.

File under: A glimpse into the dull life of the A&R job