Chris LeDoux didn't start having hit singles until the early '90s, 20 years after he began his recording career. Capitol's 2004 compilation 20 Originals: The Early Years is the best retrospective yet of those pre-hit years, collecting a variety of highlights cut between 1973 and 1986. While LeDoux's aesthetic never changed over the years -- he was always devoted to being a modern-day cowboy, loving to celebrate rodeos -- the sound of his music changed over the years, melding to the production styles of the time. That's why these recordings, largely taken from the outlaw '70s where fuzz guitars battled with twangy Telecasters, are so much fun -- they're raw and rowdy, arguably the music that best sums up his attitude. So, while you won't find hits on 20 Originals, you will find some of LeDoux's best music on a collection that is likely the best overview of his formative years yet assembled.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine