There was a time long ago, in a galaxy far far away, when/where you could purchase an artist's latest record, love it so, and then do some backlog buying and be similarly satisfied by said artist's previous work, if unbeknownst to you til then.
I mean, everyone's gotta have room to improve, right? And it's better than the reverse situation, with, say, the likes of Beck.
Take Richard Hawley, Longpigs/Pulp affiliated guitarist. Cole's Corner is all I need, since he's finally trashed his wrongway Nick Drake pretensions and folkie leanings for the weird, almost David Lynch-ish territory he treads here. And I don't mean Chris Isaak/Julee Cruise stuff; never cared for either anyway, although Isaak's first two records are 65% well-crafted and entertaining. Hawley's reaching back beyond Orbison and into Jody Reynolds and Gene Vincent, crafting those kinds of darkly wonderous pop hits where some well-coiffed, thirtyish crooner hits the set of a live tv variety show and gives kneeling baby boomers a note-perfect rendition of a tune which, by some fluke luck this universe often skips, is penned by a true but distrubed genius, like Lee Hazelwood, under the pseudonym Ricky Kelley or Steven Rivers. "Born Under a Bad Sign" and "The Ocean" can play my speakers all night.