'Early Recordings' is a collection of songs by David Roback and Kendra Smith that date from 1983-1987; they were released under both the Opal and Clay Allison band monikers. Offering a more subdued, pastoral approach than 'Happy Nightmare Baby,' the dreamlike, often wistful nature of this compilation is just another example of the incredible talents of its two principles. - Ariel
While Opal's Happy Nightmare Baby is more representative of the group's richly textured brand of neo-psychedelia, the stripped-down Early Recordings compilation is an even better example of David Roback and Kendra Smith's remarkable songcraft. Released in the wake of the group's breakup, the album collects the majority of tracks from the Fell From the Sun and Northern Line EPs, along with a handful of outtakes and unreleased cuts, all spotlighting Opal's more subdued, acoustic-folk side. Peeling away the mystical haze which enshrouded Happy Nightmare Baby, the songs are plaintive and stark, exposing the emotional complexity at the band's core — the wistful "Empty Box Blues" and the haunting "Harriet Brown," both previously unissued, are unmatched in their beauty and grace.
[Jason Ankeny, allmusic.com]