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Hangin' Around the Observatory

Posted on

Hangin' Around the Observatory

Current Status:
In Season
John Hiatt

We gave it a B-

Now that singer-songwriter John Hiatt’s career is on a productively solid footing at last, the reissue of his 1974 debut album provides an appealing bookend to the turbulent years in between. Hangin’ Around the Observatory reveals an innocent 21-year-old whose enduring musical interests — country, gospel, soul, Cajun, Bob Dylan — were already deeply ingrained. Time and events have turned Hiatt from a nice guy to an angry rebel to a philosophical family man, but their impact on the basic tools of his trade is remarkably slight. Alternately sentimental and rollicking, the arrangements sound a bit dated. But Hiatt’s distinctive gruff voice and extraordinary songwriting make this a fine album that fans of his current work should have no trouble appreciating. B-