Album: Various Artists, You Heard Them Here First (Ace)

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The Independent Culture

This compilation features the early, often largely unheard, efforts of performers who later became stars.

Some of the tracks pick themselves: Bowie as Davie Jones on the raw-boned R&B of "Liza Jane", similar tyro efforts from Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart, and relatively well-known warm-ups by the Band (as Levon & the Hawks), the Byrds (as the Beefeaters), and Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder's Rising Sons, for instance. But it's the more obscure unearthings that furnish the real fascination here: Lewis (later Lou) Reed as a greasy Freddy Cannon soundalike on "Your Love"; Love's Arthur Lee cranking out an organ instrumental in Booker T style, only with Sandy Nelson-esque drums; Warren Zevon's youthful folk-rock duo Lyme & Cybelle advising us to "Follow Me"; and sundry juvenilia from Mike Nesmith, Nilsson, Cher, J J Cale, Jefferson Airplane's Marty Balin and soul auteur Dan Penn. Most impressive is "Hole in My Pocket", a great Cajun fiddle-inflected slice of R&B rock from the Rockets, already exhibiting the ramshackle power they would wield as Crazy Horse. Neil Young, meanwhile, forges an improbable alliance with Rick James on the Mynah Birds' muscular pop-rock outing "It's My Time".

Download this: 'Hole in My Pocket', 'The Stones I Throw', 'It's My Time', 'Follow Me', 'Stop Calling Me Baby'