I've only got a handful of his recordings Long Journey Hi Fi Snock Uptown Snockgrass Wolfways Ancestral Swamp Ida Con Snock
these covering a period from the early 70's to the current century -- and listened side by side, there's no discerning which was recorded when - or written when and they're honestly, all equally great in a quiet, understated but thoroughly authoritative way. If only you could say that about the Ramones' output -- leaving out the quiet and understated shiz.
And I take additional pride in Hurley being the product of Bucks County PA where I've resided for the past few decades - and in fact am friends with a niece of his, Ella. Moreover, a few years ago I had the honor of doing publicity for him and having some ongoing dealings with him, finding him to be as singular, strong-willed AND charming as I'd hoped. In his emails he addressed me as "Howland" after the Owl in the "Pogo" comic strip.
After much prevarication I finally popped for a copy of "First Songs" - his first recordings made over 4 decades ago -- and expect to find it as delightful as the rest.
PS I received this a couple weeks ago and it was -- an "interesting" surprise. On one hand, Hurley's songwriting is pretty much fully formed and in fact the album ends with "The Werewolf Song" - one of his most enduring, beloved and puissant compositions; his singing is fairly indistinguishable from what you'll hear on work recorded in the past few years. BUT, his guitar playing is relatively rudimentary. He's mainly strumming to buoy his vocal melody. Only a few years later when he recorded his first proper studio album for the Youngblood's Banana Records label he'd blossomed as a guitarist as well, developing a nimble yet relaxed style of picking and strumming that's served him nicely ever since. I will note that the mix here is kinda unbalanced - vocals are WAY out front. I assume that's coz this was done with one mic that was positioned near his cake hole rather than on the guitar per se. But that's a minor quibble. One thing that did tickle me was hearing the original version of "Blue Mountain" which I'd previously only known from Espers luscious version on the "Weed Tree" EP.