Review: Daniel Johnston

Daniel Johnston
“The Early Recordings of Daniel Johnston, Vol. 1”
(Dualtone Records)

This two-CD set is the material of Johnston’s first two records Songs of Pain and More Songs of Pain. These were originally cassette releases and are here making their CD debut. Johnston festooned the new packaging with his original artwork. Dating back to the early ’80s, this album is a wonder of low-fi home piano recordings with marvelously insightful and poetic lyrics delivered in a pristine, childish imagery. Songs like “Joy Without Pleasure” and “Never Relaxed” will stay with the listener for the honest portrayals and rugged construction of memorable choruses and witty verses.