Young and Innocent Days was recorded in a professional studio in Louisville, KY, in April 1999. Eugene Chadbourne was supported by a session band comprising regular sidemen Joee Conroy and Greg Acker, plus Andy Rademaker, Todd Hildreth, and Gary Pahler. This is a nostalgia project, 12 tracks of '60s covers ranging from folk to country, jazz, and rock. The Doctor sings generally in the right key and sounds heartfelt in the slower numbers, like Gram Parsons' "Hickory Wind" -- of course his voice is still a matter of love-it-or-loath-it. One doesn't listen to Chadbourne playing other people's songs and expect faithful renditions -- respectful, yes, but also Chadbournified. Well, some are surprisingly straight, like the aforementioned piece or the title track. The treats are found in the unusual repertoire: Donovan's "Epistle to Dippy" (replete with sitar), a wicked "Martha" lifted from Jefferson Airplane's songbook, and Jethro Tull's "Teacher." Also worth mentioning are the Rolling Stones' "Get off My Cloud," Phil Ochs' "Rehearsals for Retirement," and Zappa's "Mom and Dad," the latter taken from the set list of Chadbourne's duet with Jimmy Carl Black. Good production, varied selections, and surprising performance, all wrapped in an accessible standard song format -- as far as the Doctor is concerned, Young and Innocent Days is easy listening. This trip down memory lane comes strongly recommended.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture