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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
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Frank Turner is one of those artists where you can buy any their albums, and can be sure that you are going to get quality, even when it's a collection of lesser-known material. His first compilation of rarities was released in 2008 to celebrate 'The First Three Years', and it contains some real gems. The booklet has the information about where each of these 23 tracks were recorded, all of them between October 2005 and September 2008. None of the songs appeared on Frank's studio albums, but a handful were previously available on EPs, and tracks 20-22 were previously unreleased.

Frank's lyrics contain so much truth and honesty, and you can hear the sincerity in his easily identifiable voice. I particularly love the opening demo 'The Real Damage', with it's sad, but relatable realisation that you aren't getting younger, a song that I can really relate to is 'This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the One of Me', about a bored man who needs to leave his routes and spread his wings, and the sing-along, left-wing political 'Thatcher F***ed the Kids' had me agreeing on it's every word.

There are several interesting covers also to be heard, and perhaps the most unexpected is his almost hilarious acknowledgement to Abba with 'Dancing Queen'. Also here are 'You Are My Sunshine' by Jimmie Davis, and 'The Outdoor Type', which is my one of my favourites by The Lemonheads, and Frank does it well.

In my opinion, this man is one of the best singer, songwriter and musicians out there, and his music, a delicious mixture of rock, folk and punk, never disappoints me, he has the great ability to pen a tune that can stay in my head for hours, and that's only after the first few listens. I could basically listen to his voice all day if I'm honest. If you already own a Frank Turner album, I unreservedly recommend that you buy 'The First Three Years'. If you haven't heard much of his work, then this will provide a great introduction, and will probably make you want to look at buying the rest of his solid back catalogue of work.
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VINE VOICEon 18 January 2009
The First Three Years contains a variety of things that will mean different things to you depending on how much you know about Frank: all the tracks from the two early EPs, Campfire Punkrock and The Real Damage; songs from a split Frank did with Jonah Matranga, and a collection of demos, alternative versions and covers. Depending on where you're coming from for this CD, you'll want to hear different things.

If you've never heard of Frank before, then this is a great place to start. On The First Three Years are plenty of songs to set the scene of Frank - particularly the statement of intent that is Nashville Tennessee, and This Town Ain't Big Enough for the One of Me - a hilarious and frightfully accurate account of growing up in a small town. But then that is the joy of Frank - the ability to say things that at once seem utterly honest and unique to him, and yet at the same time which sum up all the things you've felt in a way far more articulate and poetic than you will ever manage. (Or at least that's what the joy of Frank is for me.)

If you've got Frank's solo albums, but only come to it recently, then you may not have had a chance to get the two EPs, and the songs from them are worth buying this for alone. The songs from them are of as high a quality as those on the albums, and the EPs don't seem to be available on CD any more.

As someone who quickly gobbles up everything that comes from Turner, I had most of these songs already from one location or another, but The First Three Years was still worth getting. Of the non EP songs, the Truck Session version of Imperfect Tense (available from Frank's web site if you bought Long Live The Queen) is probably my favourite: the rocky album track recast here heart-rending here. Other than that, and the rock version of Jet Lag - which works really well too - the covers (including The Postal Service and Black Flag) are all interesting and the beauty of them is that Frank means them. And that includes the closer, Dancing Queen, which is awesome. The demos are interesting for Frank aficionados, and if you haven't got Sleep Is for the Week, then you also get versions of two of its best tracks - The Real Damage and Worse Things Happen At Sea.

The First Three years may be a little bit of a stop-gap with everyone waiting for the next album, but there is some good stuff on here, and it's not just a collection of rarities. As an album it works well, and will stay in your stereo...
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on 19 February 2010
I've only recently discovered Frank Turner, based on a friend's recommendation. Rest assured that this album is as good as the other reviewers say. In fact it's probably better. Stop reading this and buy it - you won't regret it.
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on 9 May 2011
I can't add to, or agree more with what's already been said in these revues. This album is not only a great introduction to Frank Turner's music, it opens a door into a whole new world of so called 'punk-folk'. Through following Frank I've been introduced to Chuck Ragan, Tommy Gabel, Dave Hause, Ship Fools . . . it goes on. Check these guys out if you haven't already, you won't be disappointed. If, like me, you fall head over heels in love with this sound, The Revival Tour hits the UK in September. See you there!
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on 12 February 2015
When Frank Turner left Million Dead, he expressed a desire to keep playing songs and to keep touring, but didn’t want to be part of a band any longer. Three years later – hence the title – after a couple of EPs and a couple of studio albums, we have this collection. “The First Three Years” contains the tracks from both the EPs as well as collecting together material he recorded with other artists early in his solo career and a few other random tracks.

If you like your music slightly folky with a bit of a rock influence here and there, Frank Turner is someone worth looking out for. He combines the folk sound of Mundy or The Frames with some of the punk attitude of his former band and some of the humour of John Otway and the emotion of Jeff Buckley on some songs. The combination makes for a wonderful listening experience and if you like any of the bands mentioned above, you’ll find a lot to like in Frank Turner’s music generally and in “The First Three Years” in particular.

This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
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on 17 April 2011
Well I ordered the cd and it turned up on time. Not sure what else to say apart from Frank Turner is some kind of legend...
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on 15 April 2011
I'm a relatively new Frank fan, having heard 'I still believe' on Kerrang radio just before Christmas 2010 and loved it! So I decided to check out his earlier stuff and I am now a confirmed fan.
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on 30 September 2014
I bought this album expecting to hear the rough early work (plus a few covers) of one of my favourite singer/song-writers. Instead I was shocked how accomplished the whole things sounds, from the powerful lyrics to the intensely emotive singing, underscored by some really evocative riffs on the acoustic guitar. Even the covers are unfailingly inspired interpretations and work brilliantly. If you're a fan of Frank Turner this album is a must have. This is, I think, a work of an unusual rawness and intensity. As an added bonus you get a shedload of songs for your money.

I'm waiting for Amazon to deliver the Second Three Years now.
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on 17 December 2008
There's not much you can say about Frank Turner's music that hasn't already been said. Fantastic story lyrics, strong tunes, superb singing. This man deserves to be big and the quicker he steps out of the shadow of Million Dead and get promoted on his own immense tallent the better. The best live act i have seen this year, even better than Rage Against The Machine at T in the park, and that was spectacular. Looking forward to a new CD sooner rather than later.
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on 2 January 2017
I was recommended Frank turner by someone because I liked coldplay. He's got so much energy but you can relate to almost any song he's written, defo worth a listen even if you've not heard of the guy! This is one of his earlier albums a mix of what he's done in the first 3 years.
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