Posts Tagged ‘Jackson Browne’

Warren Zevon was a very clever songwriter. He went were other songwriters don’t often go. This song was off his critically acclaimed album “Excitable Boy” released in 1978.

Zevon wrote this with guitarist Robert “Waddy” Wachtel. When Zevon was working with The Everly Brothers, he hired Wachtel to play in their backing band. At one point, Phil Everly asked them to write a dance song for the Everly Brothers called “Werewolves Of London.” Wachtel and Zevon were good friends and were strumming guitars together when someone asked what they were playing. Zevon replied, “Werewolves Of London,” and Wachtel started howling. Zevon came up with the line “I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand,” and they traded lyrics back and forth until they had their song.

In 2000, a fight broke out while Zevon was performing this at the Bowery Ballroom in New York. Zevon stopped, waited for the fight to end, said “I bet this never happens at Sting concerts,” and continued the song.

This track was produced by Jackson Browne. The songwriters were LeRoy Marinell, Waddy Wachtel, and Warren Zevon. John McVie and Mick Fleetwood played on this song.

On this day in September of 2003 we lost one of the great singer songwriters, after a year long battle with Lung Cancer Warren Zevon passed away leaving a legacy of some amazing songs, including one of his most well known “Werewolves of London” with bouts of depression, drugs and alcohol dependecy, fame and wealth and financial strife Zevon experienced everything throughout his nearly 40 years career with a dark and somewhat outlandish sense of humour in his songs, he was praised by many other musicians he was also keyboard player and orchestrater for the Everly Brothers he roomed with Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham

His songs include“Johnny Strikes Up The Band”, “Excitable Boy”.”Roland the Thompson Headless Gunner” and “Accidently Like A Martyr and “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”

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For Everyman

Released 45 years ago this month, Jackson Browne’s second album, “For Everyman”, was proof that his remarkable debut was no fluke. As on that earlier work, the lyrics offer sharp observations on both personal and social concerns, and Jackson sings them with even greater confidence – among the standouts from his songbook are single “Redneck Friend,” “These Days” (a song he’d given to Nico years earlier) and “Take It Easy,” which he’d co-written with Glenn Frey. Frey appears here in support, along with fellow Eagle Don Henley and a host of L.A. rock greats including David Crosby, Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt; additionally, multi-instrumentalist David Lindley begins his long collaboration with Browne on the 1973 Asylum Records set. Today we’ll give the platinum-certified “For Everyman” another spin and to wish Jackson Browne a happy birthday.

The title track was written by Browne in response to the apocalyptic “Wooden Ships”, a song written by Crosby, Stephen Stills and Paul Kantner. His own version of “These Days” appears here after having been previously recorded by Nico, Tom Rush, who also covered “Colors of the Sun”, and Gregg Allman. Nico was the first to record the song in 1967. Browne later commented “When [Allman] did [These Days] I thought that he really unlocked a power in that song that I sort of then emulated in my version. I started playing the piano. I wasn’t trying to sing it like Gregg; I couldn’t possibly. I took the cue, playin’ this slow walk. But it was written very sort of, kind of a little more flatpicking.” “Take It Easy” was written by Browne and Frey and became the Eagles‘ first single,

The Eagles arouse more mixed feelings in me than any other band I can think of. Emerging in the early 1970s, initially as Linda Ronstadt’s backing band for her album “Silk Purse”, the Californian-based band were massively successfully, with a string of chart topping singles and albums; in particular their first Greatest Hits record is one of the biggest selling albums of all time.

The band’s early sound was a watered-down, commercialised take on the sound of country-rock pioneers like Gram Parsons. – the band’s two leaders both had significant weaknesses. Don Henley was an excellent vocalist, with his distinctive vocal sound, and a thoughtful lyricist, but a boring drummer. Glenn Frey was a good tune-smith and utility musician, but his vacuous Californian persona is in the forefront on irritating tracks like ‘Chug All Night’ and ‘Heartache Tonight’. The band had excellent supporting parts – Don Felder and Joe Walsh are excellent guitarists, and Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmitt strong bassists and vocalists. Early member Bernie Leadon could play country licks on anything with strings. They had excellent harmonies – Henley and Frey sang together beautifully.

With some of their singles which hold up very well – in particular ‘One of These Nights’, ‘New Kid in Town’, ‘Desperado’, or Felder and Walsh’s guitar duel at the conclusion of ‘Hotel California’.

So lets have a look at the Eagles six studio albums from the 1970s Albums Ranked From Worst To Best

Both of the band’s live albums, 1980’s Eagles Live and 1994’s Hell Freezes Over, and they’re both fun for fans, but not particularly essential.

The Long Run

eagles-the-long-run1979
The Eagles had run out of steam by their last 1970s album, and The Long Run has filler like ‘The Disco Strangler’ and ‘The Greeks Don’t Want No Freaks’. It also sounds bland, with the last vestiges of their country sound gone. The Long Run does contain one of the band’s very best songs though new bassist Timothy B. Schmitt sweetly croons his way through the R&B flavoured ‘I Can’t Tell You Why’, Bassist and singer Schmit didn’t hesitate to make his presence known on his very first Eagles album. Replacing Randy Meisner, the musician brought in this lush ballad ‘I Can’t Tell You Why,’ which he finished with Frey and Henley. Schmit sang the track in a beautiful falsetto that added a new dimension to the group, topped off with yet another perfectly melodic guitar solo from Felder.

In many ways,’The Sad Cafe’ sets a template for Don Henley’s subsequent solo career, as he offers a darkly ruminative examination of love lost. But it wouldn’t be such a fitting finale, on what for some 14 years looked to be the Eagles‘ last studio recording, without Felder’s understated, elegiac, utterly virtuosic turn on guitar.

While the Eagles’ last studio effort of the ‘70’s didn’t attain the blockbuster status that ‘Hotel California’ did, the record still had its bright spots including the record’s title track. Eagle Don Henley takes lead vocals on the song “The Long Run’. He had been one of the group’s most reliable songwriters when it came to some of their biggest hits and snagged nine co-writing credits on this record in total.

When you hear the opening line of “Somebody’s gonna hurt someone before the night is through/Somebody’s gonna come undone there’s nothin’ we can do” to this 1979 Eagles hit, one has to wonder whether the Eagles sensed the end was nigh. Given the multi-plantinum group’s acrimonious split just a few years later, there is a very good possibility that this Glenn Frey-sung track was foreshadowing things to come.

Schmit  had been in Poco in 1969, replacing Meisner for the first of two times, but that critically acclaimed band remained largely ignored. Schmit then took over for Meisner in the Eagles seven years later, just as the band was coming off a tour in support of the career-making Hotel Californiaalbum. It took a year and half for the Eagles to complete The Long Run, then they promptly broke up.


Eagles

eagles-eagles1972
The band’s debut album effectively melds the soft-rock and country-rock trends of the early 1970s, spawning the mellow hits ‘Take It Easy’ and ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’. The former song was the Eagles’ debut single and what a debut it was. Written by Jackson Browne and with some help from Eagles member Glenn Frey, the song was an immediate hit and a hint of things to come from a group whose 1976 hits retrospective has sold an astonishing 29 million copies in the U.S. alone.

At their core, the Eagles were undeniably a country rock band early on, and ‘Most of Us Are Sad’ is a lost classic that brought together all of the elements that made that period special. Written by Glenn Frey and sung by bassist Randy Meisner, the song is a hardcore country lament, but produced in the trademark Eagles style featuring crystalline vocal harmonies and clean instrumentation. The lyric reads like prose poetry: Most of us are sad / No one lets it show / I’ve been shadows of myself / How was I to know?”.

The band’s at their most democratic here, as the dominant axis of Don Henley and Glenn Frey wasn’t yet established, and all four members share equal billing. It’s their least coherent album – the Bernie Leadon and Don Henley composition ‘Witchy Woman’ is spooky and excellent, but Frey’s ‘Chug All Night’ is perhaps the most horrendous song the band ever released.


Desperado

eagles-desperado1973
The band’s sophomore effort was a concept album, equating the Eagles with wild west outlaws. Henley stated later that “the metaphor was probably a little bullshit. We were in L.A. staying up all night, smoking dope, living the California life, and I suppose we thought it was as radical as cowboys in the old West.” . The centrepiece to the Eagles‘ 1973 record of the same name Desperado, it is interesting to note that this sweeping ballad was never formally released as a single. But given the song’s majestic strings and a truly superb vocal performance by Don Henley, there’s no doubt that it remains a favorite of Eagles fans to this day.

It failed to meet the moderate success of its predecessor, although Henley and Frey’s first compositions, ‘Tequila Sunrise’ and the title track, are among the band’s best loved tracks. Another early country hit from the pens of Frey and Henley, ‘Tequila Sunrise’ started because of the drink that was popular at the time. Glenn Frey was hesitant about the song, feeling that reference might limit it to a specific time and place, until Henley argued that the lyric was really about waking up the morning after drinking tequila all night. Bernie Leadon’s guitar work and mandolin contributions to the track provide a perfect bed for Frey’s deceptively easy vocal delivery.

It’s still inconsistent, but Leadon’s mournful ‘Bitter Creek’ is one of the band’s best deep cuts.

‘Doolin-Dalton’ Written by Frey and Henley, with a little help from their friends in this case Jackson Browne and J.D. Souther — this song told the story of outlaw Bill Doolin and the Dalton Gang. It kicked off the cycle of songs that became ‘Desperado,’ a concept album steeped in Western mythology. The track is typically precise, with an evocative lyric: “Well the towns led across the dusty plains / Like graveyard filled with tombstones waiting for the names .”.


One Of These Nights

eagles-one-of-these-nights1975
The Eagles were mega-stars by 1975, and some of Henley’s lyrics were beginning to wrestle with questions of fame. The band take on disco on the excellent title track, while Leadon’s instrumental ‘Journey of the Sorcerer’ was later used as the theme music for The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. Title track “One Of These Nights” Felder arranged the unforgettable bass and guitar signature for this chart-topping smash composed by Henley and Frey. Then Felder launches into a searing solo – one that perfectly underscores the song’s bitter sense of missed opportunities. The Eagles took a turn in a different direction with ‘One of These Nights,’ fusing elements of disco and hard rock to create something that had little to do with most of the group’s recorded output. The funky track exploited the more soulful side of Don Henley’s voice. “It is a breakthrough song,” Glenn Frey stated in the liner notes to ‘The Very Best of the Eagles.’ “It is my favorite Eagles record.” Don Felder contributed a blazing electric solo that’s a perfect example of his trademark blend of tone, phrasing and melody.

But while most of the individual songs are strong, the album gets bogged down in slow tempos and long running times after the first couple of tracks – the singles ‘Lyin’ Eyes’ and Meisner’s showpiece ‘Take It To The Limit” It could be argued that their vocal harmonies were always a central piece to the success of the Eagles. And though other Eagles songs may have proved to be more popular on the charts, this track is one of the group’s strongest showcases of their remarkable ability to blend their voices together in an arguably unparalleled way.

The Eagles returned to their country rock roots with ‘After the Thrill Is Gone’ this plaintive ballad from Frey and Henley, which they not only wrote together, they also alternated lead vocals. The lyric perfectly captures both the fading thrill of the ’70s club scene, and the malaise that had begun to creep into the band: “Same dancers in the same old shoes / Some habits that you just can’t lose / There’s no telling what a man might use / After the thrill is gone.” The track also captures some of Henley and Frey’s best close harmony singing.

Randy Meisner’s ageless waltz made all kinds of band history, becoming the first single to feature someone other than Henley or Frey on lead vocals – and the last to include founder Bernie Leadon. Buried somewhere in all of that are a few tasty little asides from Don Felder. Especially “Visions” Written by the guitarist with an assist from Henley, this riffy, Southern rock-informed rocker is the only Eagles song to feature Don Felder on lead vocals. He’ll never be confused with the group’s better-known singers, but Felder’s scorching runs on his main instrument provide plenty of gritty distractions.


Hotel California

eagles-hotel-california1976
The Eagles
best known album is similar in shape to One Of These Nights, with long-winded songs wrestling with questions of fame and debauchery. Bernie Leadon had now left the band, and was replaced by James Gang guitarist Joe Walsh, who supplied the muscular guitar riff for ‘Life In The Fast Lane’ and moved the band further away from their country roots.

Written by the dominant songwriting duo of Frey and Don Henley, ‘Wasted Time’ is a superb showcase for the grittier, soulful side of Henley’s voice. Constructed with simple, intersecting piano chords, string lines and a trademark clean, straightforward melody, the track demonstrates that sometimes the magic of the Eagles wasn’t in what they played; it was in the taste and restraint they showed in not overplaying, letting the chords, melody and vocal deliver the true intent of a song.

The three big hits are all at the start, and the rest of the album is more mellow – even the rocker ‘Victim Of Love’ is slow, Featuring an intro from Felder that stutters and snarls, “Victim of Love” paints a dim portrait of a desperate search for late-night companionship – propelled by a series of nasty retorts courtesy of Felder. The guitarist also co-wrote this track, . Speaking of ‘Victim Of Love’, there’s a charming story where the song’s main writer, Don Felder, was scheduled to sing lead vocals, but was taken out to lunch by the group’s manager, while Henley completed the lead vocal behind his back.

The Eagles closed out their most classic album with ‘The Last Resort,’ an epic track that presented the entire world as a resort being destroyed by the greedy, self-serving and short-sighted machinations of the human race. A classic Henley rant, the song was a true ballad with no chorus, centered around a solo Henley vocal. Any track that manages to combine Henley’s extreme misanthropy with such an alluring pop arrangement amply deserves to close out


On The Border

eagles-on-the-border1974
On The Border
 is my favourite Eagles record because it captures the band in a state of flux between their early country sound and the more mainstream rock of their later work. It’s their most energetic work, and if there are throwaways like the Jackson Browne written ‘James Dean’, there are charming album cuts like the almost power-pop of Meisner’s ‘Is It True?’, Leadon’s Gram Parson’s tribute ‘My Man’, and the country/rock hybrid ‘Midnight Flyer’. New guitarist Don Felder adds punch to ‘Already Gone’ No other moment on this album arguably captures guitarist Don Felder’s debut as an Eagle so powerfully . ‘Good Day In Hell’, A key moment in Eagles history arrives, as Felder is asked to join in as a sessions guest on slide guitar for a Glenn Frey-sung album cut. After this sizzling, Allman Brothers-inspired performance in fact, the very next day Felder was asked to join the Eagles. while the Henley sung ‘The Best Of My Love’ took the group to mega-stardom.

The energetic, “James Dean” a guitar-driven rock track follows along the same lines as more prominent hits like ‘Already Gone,’ with its shuffle pattern rhythms and trade off lead guitars. Written by Frey, Henley, Jackson Browneand J.D. Souther — whose contributions to the Eagles were so large that he should be credited as an additional member — the song pays tribute to the movie icon, describing him as “Too fast to live, too young to die.”

‘Best of My Love’ A song that serves as a reflection upon what should have been, the track and namely its vocalist Don Henley also shares an optimistic view of what could be in the future if the parties involved are willing to put in the time. This contrite ballad would give the Eagles their first No. 1 single.

The track ‘Ol’ 55′ is one dramatic example of the Eagles taking the work of another writer and delivering it in its highest form. Written by Tom Waits, ‘Ol’ 55′ was a fan favorite, but the Eagles’ recording surpassed his version vocally and instrumentally, using simple piano chords, pedal steel, alternating Frey and Henley lead vocals, and trademark big harmony stacks that make the song into an instant Eagles classic .

The Line Up changes

Late in Glenn Frey’s life, the Eagles revolved around the axis of his partnership with Don Henley. This complete guide to Eagles lineup changes makes clear, however, that the band didn’t start that way – and it won’t end that way either.

Their self-titled, 10-song debut featured eight songs that were written or co-written by others. In fact, Frey and Henley didn’t collaborate on an Eagles song until 1973’s Desperado LP. Fast forward more than four decades, and the Eagles could be found continuing after Frey’s sudden passing, with his son Deacon taking over alongside stalwart members Henley, Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmit.

In between, Bernie Leadon and Don Felder made important contributions. For the country rock-leaning Leadon, that meant playing a key role in their earliest albums, where he co-wrote songs like “Witchy Woman,” “Saturday Night” and the title track from 1974’s On the Border. Felder’s arrival helped the Eagles transition from those rootsy sounds toward the more rock-oriented era with Walsh and Randy Meisner, and then Schmit added a touch of soaring romanticism: Meisner was the voice behind “Take It to the Limit” and “Try and Love Again,” while Schmit voiced “I Can’t Tell You Why” and “Love Will Keep Us Alive.”

When Felder was fired in 2001, only two members of the EaglesFrey and Henley – had enjoyed longer tenures in the band, and they dominated the next era. Long Road Out of Eden arrived six years later as the Eagles‘ first LP of all-new material since 1979, and the duo wrote or co-wrote 14 of its 19 tracks. That made it all the more surprising when the Eagles decided to go on following Frey’s death in 2016.

1971-74: Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner

The Eagles found early fame as the epitome of California’s new country-rock movement. Ironically enough, they were nothing of the sort. Frey and Henley were transplants from Michigan and Texas, respectively. Meisner and Leadon were from Minnesota and Nebraska. (Only Timothy B. Schmit, who arrived later, grew up in California. He’s an Oakland native.)

1974-75: Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner

Felder was introduced as a full-fledged member on 1975’s ‘One of These Nights,’ but his Eagles debut actually came a year earlier, on “Good Day in Hell” from 1974’s ‘On the Border.’ Felder also took over for his lone vocal (on the song “Visions”) during this period, as the Eagles moved determinedly away from their countrified early style.

1975-77: Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh

Joe Walsh was the Eagles’ rock-chart rocket fuel. He completed the band’s musical restructuring, bringing a gritty rock edge to a group best known for peaceful, easy music. Something clicked. His first album with the Eagles, 1976’s ‘Hotel California,’ became one of the best-selling in history.

1978-80: Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh Asylum

The Eagles not only spent three years but also a then-amazing $800,000 trying to complete a follow up to ‘Hotel California,’ often finding that sessions for the album that would become ‘The Long Run’ would break down over a single word. By the time it was over, the Eagles were headed for a long break.

1994–2001: Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh

After almost 15 years apart, the Eagles reunited for the appropriately titled ‘Hell Freezes Over.’ This celebrated homecoming was actually sparked by a gutsy request from country star Travis Tritt, who asked the original Eagles to portray his backing band in a video for his early ’90s remake of ‘Take It Easy.’ Trouble, unfortunately, was brewing once more.

2001-12: Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh

They’d previously divided all band revenue equally, but the Eagles reunion reportedly saw Frey and Henley demanding a new structure favoring their chart-proven partnership. Don Felder initially signed off, but in the ensuing years, arguments over money only worsened. His dismissal pared the Eagles down to a foursome.

2013-16: Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh

Early member Bernie Leadon returned for a series of well-received tours in celebration of ‘The History of the Eagles’ documentary. (Leadon’s feature moment was “Train Leaves Here This Morning,” which he co-wrote with Gene Clark of the Byrds.) Those shows lasted until the death of Glenn Frey, who’d suffered for years with serious stomach issues. His death appeared to mark the end of the journey for the Eagles, but then something surprising happened.

2016: Jackson Browne, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh

The Eagles and Jackson Browne remembered their late former songwriting partner Glenn Frey at the 2016 Grammys, performing a reverent take on “Take It Easy.” Browne and Frey composed the song, which later became the opening track for the Eagles’ 1972 self-titled debut – and the band’s first hit single. Henley said at the time that this would be the Eagles’ last-ever performance.

2017: Deacon Frey, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh

After some initial waffling, the Eagles finally confirmed in early 2017 that Glenn Frey’s son would replace his late father when they take the stage for a pair of summer festival dates. Deacon Frey was set to make his Eagles debut at the Classic East and Classic West music festivals that July. The remaining Eagles earlier sang “Peaceful Easy Feeling” with him at a private memorial service for Glenn Frey in February 2016.

2017-Present: Deacon Frey, Vince Gill, Don Henley, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh

Veteran country artist Vince Gill joined the Eagles in June 2017. He was set to split vocal duties with the younger Frey on the late Glenn Frey’s songs. Eagles co-founder Don Henley hinted that this version of the Eagles could continue past their appearances at the Classic East and Classic West festivals in the summer of 2017.

‘History of the Eagles’ DVD

The three-hour ‘History of the Eagles’ documentary is an entertaining if slightly sanitized trip through the career of one of rock’s most popular groups.

The first two hours, is a focus on the group’s formation, rise to super-stardom and dramatic breakup, while the following one-hour episode picks the story up with the band’s 1994 reunion and continues to the present day.

We see how a surprising range of stars — Kenny Rogers, Bob Seger, Linda Ronstadt — helped the group during their early years, and how Glenn Frey learned to write songs partially by hearing Jackson Browne toil endlessly on songs like ‘Doctor My Eyes’ day after day in the apartment above his own.

It isn’t long till the Eagles have conquered the world, and we’re off into the “third encore” rock and roll excess portion of the tale. It’s also here that the first sign of inner-band conflict turns up, as Joe Walsh is brought in to replace original guitarist Bernie Leadon as Frey and Don Henley seek to add more of a rock edge to the band’s sound.

The eventual departures of bassist Randy Meisner and guitarist Don Felder are addressed in much harsher terms, with the former essentially dismissed as a crybaby and the latter icily referred to as “Mr. Felder” by Henley. We learn about the fight over who should sing ‘Victim of Love,’ and even get to hear actual on-stage audio recordings of the threats between Felder and Frey from the famous 1980 Long Beach concert that essentially ended the group.

It’s obviously a current lineup-sanctioned documentary, but Leadon and Felder (who gets touchingly emotional) are allowed to state their side of the story in present-day interviews, and Henley and Frey are pretty open about their desire to control the band and the effect that had on the relationships with their departed band mates.

There are entertaining backstage and studio video clips from throughout the band’s history and a smattering of vintage live footage. If this collection ever makes it to the home video market it would be nice to see more songs played live in full, especially from the old shows. But in general ‘History of the Eagles’ accomplishes its modest goals in a completely satisfactory manner.

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, playing a musical instrument and guitar

Jackson Browne is perhaps the quintessential 1970s singer-songwriter, a sensitive individual who analysed his difficult relationships into songs. On September 14th Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. will introduce Jackson Browne as he receives the Gandhi Peace Award from Promoting Enduring Peace,

He was extremely well connected into the 1970s Laurel Canyon Californian scene – he dated Laura Nyro and Joni Mitchell, wrote the Eagles’ first hit single, and produced Warren Zevon’s breakthrough album. Browne has written and recorded songs such as “These Days”, “The Pretender”, “Running on Empty”, “Lawyers in Love”, “Doctor My Eyes”, “Take It Easy”, “For a Rocker”, and “Somebody’s Baby”.

Primarily, Browne’s a lyricist, and certainly one of the best text writers in pop music, After a period in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Browne left and after a few months and moved to Greenwich Village, New York, where he became a staff writer for Elektra Records‘ publishing company, Nina Music before his eighteenth birthday. He spent the remainder of 1967 and 1968 in Greenwich Village, where he backed Tim Buckley and singer Nico of the Velvet Underground. In 1967, Browne and Nico became romantically linked and he became a significant contributor to her debut album, Chelsea Girl, writing and playing guitar on several of the songs (including “These Days”). In 1968, following his breakup with Nico, Browne returned to Los Angeles, where he formed a folk band with Ned Doheny and Jack Wilce, and first met Glenn Frey.

Jackson Browne’s most artistically successful decade was the 1970s, during which he made five studio important studio albums. Browne’s right hand man in the 1970s was multi instrumentalist a guitarist, fiddler, and falsetto vocalist David Lindley, who enlivened Browne’s albums with his instrumental work. Browne’s voice is boyish, and not always engaging, and Lindley helped to make his records more accessible.

Jackson Browne  – Saturate Before Using (1972)

In 1971, Browne signed with his manager David Geffen’s Asylum Records and released his debut Jackson Browne (subtitled Saturate Before Using) produced and engineered by Richard Orshoff, which included the piano-driven “Doctor My Eyes” was the surprise hit, which entered the Top Ten in the US singles chart. “Rock Me on the Water”, from the same album, also gained considerable radio airplay, while “Song for Adam” (written about his friend Adam Saylor’s death) helped establish Browne’s reputation. Touring to promote the album, he shared the bill with Linda Ronstadt and Joni Mitchell.

Doctor My Eyes was Browne’s first single, and one of only two Top 10 hits he’s had, is one of the most musically upbeat songs he’s recorded, despite the bummer subject material. It’s basically a precursor to the searching, longing and disenchanted character who showed up in so many of Browne’s songs in the ’70s. It’s a little heavy-handed, as far as the sentiment goes — “Tell me what is wrong,” he sings. “Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?” — but it sets the template for almost every Top 10 Jackson Browne song.

Jackson Browne’s debut release didn’t emerge for six years after he had wrote ‘These Days’ for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. His first record, was for David Geffen’s Asylum label .The album, is his most minimal, and outside the singles, his material is simply presented – it’s the only 1970s album that guitarist David Lindley doesn’t appear on. It’s the singles that shine  was the surprise hit, but I prefer the gospel-tinged ‘Rock Me On The Water’ and the plaintive ‘Jamaica Say You Will’. 

The daughter of a captain on the rolling seas
She would stare across the water from the trees

For Everyman (1973)

Browne raided his back catalogue for his second album, featuring his well known songs like ‘These Days’ and ‘Take It Easy’ cowritten with Eagles’ Glenn Frey, had already been a major success for that group, while his own recording of “These Days” reflected a sound representing Browne’s angst. Gregg Allmanreleased a version on his 1973 albumLaid Back.But it’s Browne’s sad, plaintive take of the song — which he wrote while still a teen growing up in the mid ’60s — that nails the melancholic tone of the lyrics.

The arrangements are fuller, and David Lindley’s guitar and fiddle parts are prominent, joining The Section musicians Russ Kunkel, Craig Doerge, and Leland Sklar. Elton John plays piano on the rollicking ‘Redneck Friend’, but my favourite track here is ‘For Everyman’, a post apocalyptic vision of sailing to a new society, featuring David Crosby on backing vocals.

Everybody’s just waiting to hear from the one
Who can give them the answers
And lead them back to that place
In the warmth of the sun
Where sweet childhood still dances

Running on Empty  (1977)

Jackson Browne’s best known work is a live album of all new songs, themed around the seedy side of a musician’s life on the road. Browne was a big enough star by 1977 to take The Section and David Lindley on tour as his backing band, and the album was recorded live on stage, as well as in hotel rooms and backstage. Running on Empty was recorded entirely on tour, It became his biggest commercial success. Breaking the usual conventions for a live album, Running on Empty contains some of his most popular songs, such as the title track, “Rosie”, and “The Load-Out/Stay” (Browne’s send-off to his concert audiences and roadies). “The Load-Out” runs down the daily monotony of tour life (“We’ve got truckers on the CB/We’ve got Richard Pryor on the video/We got time to think of the ones we love, while the miles roll away”) before giving way to an exuberant cover of Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs’ 1960 No. 1 doo-wop hit featuring vocals by members of Browne’s band. Criminally, the songs were split when “Stay” was released as a single in 1978, with “The Load-Out” shoved to the flip side on later pressings.

Unusually, Browne includes covers, like a charming version of ‘Stay’ spotlighting Lindley’s falsetto vocals, and co-writers on most tracks. But the title track, one of only two Browne solo compositions, is the standout track, a sweeping, Springsteen like tale of nostalgia and determination.

Running on Empty is one of the most revolutionary live albums ever made. Instead of going through their usual set of hits and favorites, Browne and his band recorded new songs onstage, backstage, at soundchecks and wherever else inspiration might have hit them. Fittingly, most of the songs are about touring; the album doubles as a concept album about being on the road. This one, which was released as a single, sympathizes with the wives, girlfriends and groupies who are along for the ride. It’s one of his most autobiographical songs — check out the years and ages he runs through in the song and a sign of things to come. “I don’t know where I’m running now, I’m just running on”turned out to hold some truth: After three classic albums in a row, Browne turned to mostly political subjects in the ’80s with a string of mediocre records.

Look around for the friends that I used to turn to to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too

The Pretender  (1976)

Browne’s life was hit by personal tragedy during the recording of The Pretender – his wife Phyllis Major committed suicide, leaving Browne as a young solo father. These events are covered in the brief, wrenching ‘Sleep’s Dark and Silent Gate’. Production duties on Browne’s fourth album are handled by Jon Landau, who gives Browne’s music more detail than usual. ‘The Fuse’ is one of my favourite Jackson Browne deep cuts, and the title track is a fascinating look forward to 1980s yuppies. The closing track of Browne’s fourth album is also a summation of sorts of the previous seven songs, a nearly six-minute breakdown of one man’s occasionally harsh, and almost always dishonest, survival instincts. He lies, he cheats, he screws, and tomorrow he’ll do the same damn thing, even if he knows there’s something morally wrong at the core of it all. All that ’60s idealism had finally given way to mid-’70s cynicism, worn down by war, Watergate and crushing dreams.

At times, Browne’s fourth album plays like a eulogy for his wife, who killed herself in early 1976; at other times, it plays like a eulogy for his growing disillusionment with the leftover and broken promises from the idealistic ’60s. This song — one of the best Jackson Browne songs, a Top 25 single co-written by his late wife’s mother — falls into the former category, as Browne futilely tries to hide the scars of his broken heart. He’s bitter, angry and not ready to forgive. But most of all he’s at his most revealing here.

But my favourite track is ‘Your Bright Baby Blues’, with its warm arrangements and amazing backing band; Little Feat’s Lowell George is prominent on slide guitar and backing vocals, Bill Payne on organ, E-Street Band’s Roy Bittan on piano, Chuck Rainey on bass, and Jim Gordon on drums.

No matter how fast I run
I can never seem
To get away from me

Late For The Sky (1974)

Jackson Browne attained maximum Jackson Browne-ness with his third album, featuring gorgeous meditations on death and the apocalypse, accompanied by David Lindley’s guitar and fiddle. To save his label money after the expensive For Everyman, Browne used his live band, and they sound great.  Browne’s work began to demonstrate a reputation for memorable melody, insightful, often very personal lyrics, and a talent for his arrangements in composition. Apart from the mundane rocker ‘Walking Slow’, every track is strong, and mournful expositions like ‘For A Dancer’ and ‘Fountain of Sorrow’ are prime Browne. Highlights included the title song, the elegiac “For a Dancer”, and “Before the Deluge”, . The arrangements featured the violin and guitar of David Lindley, Jai Winding’s piano, and the harmonies of Doug Haywood. The title track was also featured in Martin Scorsese’s film Taxi Driver. During this period, Browne began his fractious but lifelong professional relationship with singer-songwriter Warren Zevon, mentoring Zevon’s first two Asylum albums through the studio as a producer (working closely with Waddy Wachtel and Jorge Calderón).

Much of Jackson Browne’s songs on his terrific third album play like a deep, despairing farewell to an old love. This song — one of the album’s many centerpieces — piles on the apocalyptic dread. It could be heralding the end of a relationship … or maybe something much, much bigger. In a way, it foreshadows themes of growing up and out of youthful idealism found on The Pretender, and Running on Empty, but with more widespread and cataclysmic results.

But my favourite song is the title track, especially the moment when Browne’s voice cracks on the final note.

How long have I been sleeping?

Browne’s epic opener to his third album sets the tone for a record that plays like one long breakup montage. This is a key track in the story — the moment where that tiny glimmer of hope is wiped out by cold, hard reality. The song also plays a pivotal part in the movie Taxi Driver,underscoring a scene in which Robert De Niro’s brooding sociopath loses what’s left of his loose grip on reality. Not sure if this is what Browne had in mind for the song, but it serves a similar purpose.

warren zevon album

Though only a modest commercial success, the Jackson Browne-produced Warren Zevon album(1976) would later be termed a masterpiece in the first edition of the Rolling Stone Record Guide and is cited in the book’s most recently revised edition as Zevon’s most realized work. Representative tracks include the junkie’s lament “Carmelita”; the Copland-esque outlaw ballad “Frank and Jesse James”; “The French Inhaler”, a scathing insider’s look at life and lust in the L.A. music business (which was, in fact, about his long-time girlfriend and mother to his son Jordan); and “Desperados Under the Eaves”, a chronicle of Zevon’s increasing alcoholism.

Warren Zevon was an industry veteran by the time he made his major label debut in 1976. He had toured with the Everly Brothers as their band leader, and was rooming with Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in 1975. Jackson Browne had championed Zevon, and produced his first major solo album (his 1969 debut was unsuccessful).

And ‘The French Inhaler’ is an extraordinary song for an artist launching their career. It’s not ambitious stylistically, following the same laid back west coast template as Browne and the Eagles. But it’s a complex song, dispensing with verse/chorus structures and winding its way through a series of jabs at his ex-girlfriend Tule Livingston. Jordan Zevon, Zevon and Livingston’s son, recalled “despite the subject matter, my mom would play that song to me after a couple of glasses of wine and laugh and say: ‘Isn’t that brilliant?’ She knew he was a genius”.

Musically, it’s centred on Zevon’s proficient piano playing, but the magic comes from the backing vocals from Eagles Don Henley and Glenn Frey. They appear halfway through the word “night” about a minute into the song, and come and go throughout. As much as I’m sometimes ambivalent about their band’s work, the two head Eagles are magnificent here.

Zevon’s music was full of blood, bile, and mean-spirited irony, and the glossy surfaces of Jackson Browne’s production failed to disguise the bitter heart of the songs on Warren Zevon. The album opened with a jaunty celebration of a pair of Old West thieves and gunfighters (“Frank and Jesse James”), and went on to tell remarkable, slightly unnerving tales of ambitious pimps (“The French Inhaler”), lonesome junkies (“Carmelita”), wired, hard-living lunatics (“I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead”), and truly dastardly womanizers (“Poor Poor Pitiful Me”), and even Zevon’s celebrations of life in Los Angeles, long a staple of the soft rock genre, had both a menace and an epic sweep his contemporaries could never match (“Join Me in L.A.” and “Desperados Under the Eaves”). But for all their darkness, Zevon’s songs also possessed a steely intelligence, a winning wit, and an unusually sophisticated melodic sense, and he certainly made the most of the high-priced help who backed him on the album.”

 

Warren Zevon’s self-titled 1976 album announced he was one of the most striking talents to emerge from the Los Angeles soft rock singer/songwriter community, and Linda Ronstadt (a shrewd judge of talent if a sometimes questionable interpreter) recorded three of its songs on two of her biggest-selling albums, which doubtlessly earned Zevon bigger royalty checks than the album itself ever did.

His own breakthrough album from the songwriter’s songwriter from LA. Warren Zevon had been knocking around since the late ‘60s, but with the championing of Jackson Browne, the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt (who recorded a bunch of his tunes) and subsequently the patronage of David Geffen at Asylum Records, he finally connected in a big way. The fact that it was with “Werewolves of London”, the most throwaway song he’d recorded for the label at that point didn’t matter; it was still a great song, and a great entre to Zevon’s weird and violent world. The title track, “Lawyers, Guns & Money”, “Accidentally Like a Martyr” and the seriously wacko “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” are the stuff of genius. Oh, and did you know “Werewolves…” (which peaked at #11 in Australia and was Zevon’s only charting single) features the rhythm section of John McVie and Mick Fleetwood?.

The tracks “Excitable Boy” and “Werewolves of London” were considered macabrely humorous by critics. The historical “Veracruz” dramatizes the United States occupation of Veracruz, and likewise “Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner” is a fictionalization of a mercenary in Africa. “Lawyers, Guns and Money” is a tongue-in-cheek tale of a young American man’s adventures in Cold War era Latin America. In addition, there are two ballads about life and relationships (“Accidentally Like a Martyr” and “Tenderness on the Block”), as well as a dance tune (“Nighttime in the Switching Yard”).

Clearwater, FL
First Concert after Glenn Frey’s Death

Jackson Browne honored the late Glenn Frey with an intimate acoustic performance of the Eagles’ 1972 folk-rock anthem “Take It Easy.” Browne performed the track, which he co-wrote with Frey, during a January 19th concert in Clearwater, Florida – one day after Glen Frey’s death at the age 67,

“Here’s a song that I’ve been singing every night for a while,” Browne told the audience in the above fan-shot video. “I didn’t always sing it because it was such a famous song, I figured, you know, if people heard me sing it they’d come away thinking, ‘nah, and then he sang an Eagles cover.'”

“I wrote this song with Glenn Frey,” the singer-songwriter continued. “It’s a song that I started, but I didn’t finish it. Even if I had finished it by myself, it wouldn’t be the song that it is and it wouldn’t be the song that we all love.” Browne strummed along, leading a massive sing-along that culminates with the audience handling all the vocals (harmonies and all) on the wordless bridge.

Browne wrote the bulk of “Take It Easy” in 1971, with plans to include it on his first LP. After Frey, his friend and then-neighbor, shared his enthusiasm for the track, the Eagles guitarist finished off the lyrics and included the breezy track on his band’s self-titled 1972 debut. Browne then recorded a version for his second album, 1973’s For Everyman. 

The Cosmopolitan Quartet Session presents this week the incredibly talented Jack Savoretti. Jack absolutely blew us away with his rendition of this Bob Dylan song, ‘Nobody Cept’ You’. Jack is currently on tour in the UK and features the song solo on acoustic guitar, with a brief story about his recording at Jackson Browne’s studio in laurel Canyon, seeing a box of tapes with the name Bob he was intrigued he asked the engineer. they featured this song.

jacksonbrowne1

There have been several versions of this concert released as bootlegs.
Whilst I have not received a copy of the CD yet to confirm the concert is accepted as ‘essential for the Jackson Browne fan.The concert was recorded at The Main Point, Brym Mawr, PA on the 7th September 1975.
The show was broadcast on station WMMR-FM and of course many people taped it! Hence the plethora of bootleg CDs released.

The show was for a series of benefits and therefore was advert free!
Because of the long length the ‘taper’ had to turn the tape over or switch and there was a slight delay between “Son For Adam” and “Cocaine” but of course different sources may have resolved this.

jacksonbrowneback

From my research when Runaway was finished the poor DJ on WMMR-FM thought the concert was over and started his closing the show spiel.But then there was an encore!.Other bootlegs spliced alternative sources for the final track.

Back in September, Jackson Browne captured the spirit of Americana — both literally and figuratively. During the awards ceremony at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Browne was bestowed with the Association’s Spirit of America Award and took the stage for a delicate version of “The Long Way Around,”

From his 14th studio album, Standing in the Breach, “The Long Way Around” is a smooth, contemplative shuffle about the ills of the modern world: gun violence, inequality and tragedy after tragedy, each forgotten the moment another news story rolls around. Browne’s always had an adept hand at tackling politics with poetry, and his lyrics here are soft and direct. “It’s never been that hard to buy a gun/Now they’ll sell a Glock 19 to just about anyone,” he sings. “The seeds of tragedy are there/and what we feel we have the right to bear.”
At the awards, Browne spoke upon accepting his honor about the craft of songwriting and awaking the ability to see your work from an almost out-of-body place. “Writing a song is a little bit like trying to say some things into the space in front of you and see if it sounds right,” he said at the podium.

Browne is currently on a world tour through 2015, supporting his new release, and has continued to speak out politically as well as through song. “The biggest enemy of human rights is business,” he recently told The Nation. “It’s corruption and people treating other people as if they’re expendable. And the word that gets thrown around all the time in our — ‘American interests.’ You can say anything as long as I’m ‘defending American interests.’ What the hell are they? What the hell are our interests if not to have a safe environment and prosperity for everybody? And that’s why I get specific in some of these songs.”