Unreliable playback of files

I am a new user running Audacity 2.4.2 on Ubuntu 20.04 on an I7 laptop. When I import a file add simply do a playback (Green Arrow on transport Menu) the cursor moves across the track in a few seconds (the file is about a minute of content) and all I hear is static. If I repeat this a few times it will sometimes begin to play back the audio at some random point in the track at the correct speed and sounding proper. I have tried this with several test files downloaded from the net (wav & mp3) with the same results. What am I doing wrong?

If you are logged into a Wayland session, log out and log back into an xorg session.