This is an excellent introduction to the music of Steve Earle. Steve Earle is an amazing musician who almost defies classification – he has his roots in country music but his work shows strong rock influences, particularly influenced by the blue collar rock of Bruce Springsteen (in fact this album includes a couple of Springsteen covers). The album takes tracks from Earle’s first four albums (Guitar Town, Exit 0, Copperhead Road & The Hard Way) together with five live tracks from his live album Shut up and die like an Aviator. Personally I prefer later Earle (Jerusalem and El Corazon are probably my two favourite albums) but this is fantastic introduction to early Steve Earle. In some ways it is more country than some of his later work (although it is before his experiments with bluegrass) but it already shows strong rock influences and showcases his talent for storytelling though song. If you are interested in finding out more about Steve Earle then I recommend his biography Hardcore Troubadour written by Lauren St John. Note that Earle has led a turbulent life and his life story is often tragic – it is an interesting book but it is not always an easy read.
This is a selection of steves more country-esque songs. Most are a good listen and there are some real classics there like copperhead road or johny come lately. If you don't know steve earle then buy it now, if you know him already it will be a nice adition to your collection.
Anybody seeking an introduction to Steve Earle's work could do a lot worse than to give this CD a try. The contents are taken from Steve's first four studio and one live albums, recorded during his time with MCA Records from 1986 to 1991. The CD kicks off with four tracks from Steve's debut, "Guitar Town", setting the blueprint for that which follows - part rock, part country, taking the best elements of both and welding them together in a unique way. The next four tracks are taken from "Exit 0", another fine album, with "Sweet Little 66" displaying Steve's Springsteen influence and "The Rain Came Down" showcasing his story-telling abilities superbly. The title track of Steve's third album, "Copperhead Road", is still probably his best known song, but also included here from the album is "Johnny Come Lately" - a collaboration with The Pogues, which works a lot better than you might think! "The Hard Way" was an altogether darker affair and the tracks from it here ("Justice In Ontario" and the outstanding "The Other Kind") are no exception. Personally this is one of my favourite Steve Earle albums. The collection finishes with a mixture of live tracks, some taken from the live album "Shut Up And Die Like An Aviator" and some being otherwise unavailable B sides, including covers of Bruce Springsteen's "Nebraska" and "State Trooper". Almost worth buying for these alone! All in all, this CD is definitely a cut above the standard record company cash in on the back catalogue kind of affair. It is, obviously, limited to the first part of Steve's career which means you miss out on the wealth of excellent material he has recorded in more recent years, but I am sure that once you have listened to this CD you'll be wanting to check that out for yourself...
The Collection is an excellent album of Steve Earle's music and there isn't a bad or skippable track on it.
My all-time favourite Steve Earle song is included in the collection, The Rain Came Down, which never fails to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Personally I think this song just shines and his voice is at its absolute best on it. Other great songs of his that I love are on the album, such as Fearless Heart, San Antonio Girl, The Other Kind and I Aint Ever Satisfied (the latter two being live versions on here).
A more comprehensive double CD covering this peiod of Steve's career is now available. It contains most but not all of the tracks here, plus a lot that isn't here. Oersonally, I think his debut album Guitar Town is the strongest album from this period of Steve's career, if not from his entire career. Anybody wishing to explore his career in depth should start with that album, which is represented by the first four tracks here. Four tracks from Exit O, three from Copperhead road and two from The hard way, together with six live tracks, complete the album.
Steve's music is a great blend of country and rock music, but in an age where so many American radio stations want to classify music narrowly, his music doesn't fit in easily. He is too country for rock radio and too rock for country radio.
Fortunately, discerning fans find his music anyway. This collection offers a nice sample of his early music.
Great compilation and I would have clicked on it today at that superb price,but for one thing,where,oh where is my favourite track,the wonderful HILLBILLY HIGHWAY? Surely i'm not the only one who would put every cut on this album ahead of HIGHWAY?