To the surprise of nearly everyone who had followed his career,
Daniel Johnston was signed to Atlantic Records, which released FUN in
1994. Produced by Paul Leary of the Butthole Surfers, the album is a
perfect presentation of Johnston's music. He evolved from primitive
self-recording, to working in a true recording studio, to finally
finding a sympathetic and appropriate producer in Leary.
The first three songs alone show the wonderful range of this collection.
"Love Wheel" is propelled by an incessantly rocking combo, "Life in
Vain" is gorgeously embellished with a rich string trio, and "Crazy
Love" finds Johnston alone at a Fender Rhodes piano, singing about one
of his favorite subjects. Leary had the good sense to recognize the core
strengths of Johnston's powerful songwriting and he let nothing get in
the way. FUN is both well-produced and directly honest. This is the
Daniel Johnston album to start with.