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The Early Years

The Early Years by John Mellencamp
Released: Nov 2012
Label: TuneCore
Comprising all 10 songs from 1977's rarely heard The Kid Inside and all six originals from 1976's equally obscure, half-covers Chestnut Street Incident, this is a surprising document of Mellencamp's lost, pre-stardom, glam-puppet "Johnny Cougar" era. Its rockers ("Cheap Shot," "R. Gang," "American Dream") are pure mid-'70s Midwestern garage punk, informed by the Stones and Dolls; the less overblown ballads like "Young Genocides" suggest Lou Reed or early Springsteen. Overall, though, the Coug's bratty sound and personality are already unmistakable, years before "Jack & Diane."
CHUCK EDDY