Like a previous reviewer, I don't understand why this would be rated even a 10th of a star less than any of his later releases. The recording is not as "slick" as any his later albums, but as is his way, Elliott turns the 4 track to his advantage, though he said it was a "complete mistake" that it ended up sounding this good.
Some of these songs were written when he was still a teenager, a testament to his natural talent. I would not consider the straight-forward lyrical lines to be any less poetic than his later writing. He sets down some themes on this record wich he revisits again and again on later albums from different angles.
Everything about this album is unique.
The guitar work is beautiful, and distinct, the sounds, while limited by the four-track, resemble (after a manner) his later big-studio releases. Anyone who says this sounds like Simon and Garfunkel or Nick Drake is grasping at straws, because so little music of this nature finds the light of day. Elliott eschews typical folk sounds and chords, preferring (for lack of a better metaphor) to make chairs that stand on three legs, instead of four.
This album is not garnish to his other releases, it is key.