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Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2008

Howie Epstein

Early Tracks Vol. I

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  Before his death in 2003, Howie Epstein played in bands with John Hiatt and Tom Petty and on recordings by Bob Dylan, John Prine and many others. He has a pre-history few people remember. Before leaving Milwaukee in the mid-'70s, Epstein sharpened his skills with local groups such as The Craze and Forearm Smash. He aspired to be a songwriter.

  Early Tracks sounds pretty good for a bedroom session back in the years when digital recording was science fiction. With their echoes of The Raspberries, Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry, these melodic demos show Epstein working in the style that would soon be dubbed "power pop" and be deeply indebted to the classic verities of the most tuneful rock 'n' roll of previous decades.