Nashville legend's formative years unearthed

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Steve Earle – Early Tracks

After ditching young Earle from their roster in the mid-’80s, Epic subsequently rush-released this in 1987, in the wake of MCA breakthrough Guitar Town. Rounding up four-track debut EP Pink And Black (’82) alongside a clutch of 45s with the proto-Dukes, it’s little more than straightahead roots rockabilly, albeit with a spunky twang. The 1984 B-side “Devil’s Right Hand” (later revived for Copperhead Road) is pick of the bunch, but the Nashville gloss on “The Crush” and “A Little Bit In Love” will have you groping for the sick bag. The only way was up.