Jack D. Bohl | Portland, OR USA | 09/26/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"John Hiatt was already an accomplished song writer on this, his first recording. His sharp wit and irony are apparent on the title track, and his keen melodic sense permeates the songs. The clever photo collage on the cover caught my attention in a record store back in 1974, and it's still one of my favorite album covers. But what pushed me to buying the album was seeing Milwaukee's virtuoso guitarist Doug Yankus listed as a member of the Hot Babies Band, which provides stellar backup throughout. I was raised in Milwaukee and was a big fan of Soup, the popular local power trio Doug fronted. Doug also appears on Hiatt's "Slug Line" album, and his brilliant contributions on these two Hiatt albums cement Doug Yankus' legacy as one of the great unsung 60's guitarists. I'm glad I took a chance on this album by someone I'd never heard of- I've been a Jon Hiatt fan ever since. This is one of my co-favorite Haitt albums, along with "Slow Turning" and "Bring the Family". Alas, "Hangin' Around the Observatory" has been out of print for years, and my patience wore out awaiting a reissue- so I got a mint used copy from Reggie's. Hopefully someday we'll have a remastered version, ideally with some previously unheard Doug Yankus performances."
Jerry Jazzman | 01/05/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This earliest of Hiatt's album shows the different aspects of his talent that makes him a such a great unique singer-songwriter.This is a roots rock record with acoustic and electric guitar, organ,piano,etc.Many aspects of Hiatt's songwriting are covered- all out rockers like Full Moon, love ballad like Little Blue Song For You, jaunty-life lesson song Sure As I'm Sittin' Here, country song Whistle In My Ears .This is clearly Hiatt showing at a young age how far his talent reached. His singing on this album shows how his soulful voice was always there--if anything his singing has got clearer through the years and range better.However, at such a young age no singer comes to mind that was ever as soulful as this guy.You believe his stories!"
Intriguing first album
Jerry Jazzman | 06/16/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Fans of Hiatt's later work may find this one a bit of an oddity. There's a curious mixture of folk, rock and country here, not very well produced, that doesn't quite gel. The title track is probably the best - suitably weird lyrics and music, and John sounds so young! So, it's a weird album from a young guy. Worst thing about it is the dull sound quality."