You won't hear these tracks at any Mellencamp concerts, and for the most part, there's good reason for him to shun his early work. Mellencamp fell prey to a sleazy manager who wanted to craft a slick pop star image for the naive singer. The result is an awkward and, in some places, downright bad display songwriting, vocals and instrumentation. But Chestnut Street Incident must be understood in its context (it is, after all, 1976 and Mellencamp's first stab at making an album). The raw honesty about real life that would later make Mellencamp famous is evident here, particularly in "Dream Killing Town" and "American Dream," and -- if you can stand the slightly maudlin lyrics -- "Incident on Chestnut Street" and "Revisited." I wouldn't recommend this CD to someone who isn't passionate about Mellencamp or eager to explore all the phases of his career. But I rate "Dream Killing Town" up there with his best songs, and, as always, Mellencamp is no slouch when it comes to covers. He does a great version of the Lovin' Spoonful's "Do You Believe in Magic?" On a personal level, this album holds particular sentiment for me. I got it when I was at the height of my Mellencamp adoration. I wore out the vinyl playing it over and over on my father's record player. And somehow, even as a kid, I identified with the yearning and sense of desperation Mellencamp felt growing up in a stifling small town. But later the album was stored away,and without a turntable of my own, I didn't listen to Chestnut Street Incident for years. Then, recently, while browsing through a record store, I discovered it on CD. And I can say the best, most heartfelt writing on Mellencamp's debut has the same impact 16 years later as it did when I first spun it on my dad's phonograph.