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Ain't Living Long Like This/But What Will the Neighbors Think/Rodney Crowell
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  • BGO's 2015 three-fer combines Rodney Crowell's first three albums, all recorded for Warner: 1977's Ain't Living Long Like This, 1980's But What Will the Neighbors Think, and 1981's Rodney Crowell. Although he'd go on to albums that were either greater -- or, at the very least, equally as good -- all three of these albums are excellent. Ain't Living Long Like This is as perfect a statement of purpose as it gets, demonstrating his skills as a song stylist as surely as it does his original tunes. But What Will the Neighbors Think finds him threading in hints of countrified new wave -- it feels like a Nashville response to Rockpile, even containing a version of "Queen of Hearts," which Dave Edmunds cut the year before -- and the eponymous 1981 LP keeps that aesthetic but sounds tighter and leaner. All three records stand as among the great country albums of their time, and they're even more attractive as this affordable double-disc set. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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