Posts Tagged ‘The Pretender’

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Yesterday, I explored the Archive – no, not our attic, but an ephemera store in Lansdale, Pa. I was there once before, found its contents fascinating, and with time to kill yesterday spent a good three hours combing through second- and third-hand books, magazines and other things, including 45s, LPs, sheet music, maps, autographed pictures and…did I mention magazines? You name it, chances are they have a copy – though not the “Women in Revolt” issue of Newsweek, sad to say. The treasures I came home with were relatively modest: two issues of Rolling Stone, one Creem from ’81 and two Newsweeks (one from 1966, the other from ’69).

fullsizeoutput_1112This Rolling Stone is dated December 2, 1976; I covered much of the year here, so won’t repeat myself. But in addition to marking America’s bicentennial, the Flyers crushing the Soviets and a presidential election, the year is notable for a few personal reasons: I finished elementary school in the spring, turned 11 in the summer, and entered Loller Middle School, the first of two middle schools in the combined Hatboro-Horsham school district, in the fall. (Hatboro-Horsham had one middle school for 6th and 7th grades and another for 8th and 9th grades.) Oh, and that summer my family moved from a rented townhouse on the edge of Hatboro to a home in its heart, which meant instead of taking the bus, I walked to the school. The trek was about half a mile, and took me past Burdick’s, a newsstand-soda shop that also sold reams of candy.

Oh, and at Loller? Unlike every other school in the district, jeans were banned. (I’m sure that added clothing expense went over well with parents.)

With that said, here’s today’s Top 5: December 2, 1976.

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1) Linda Ronstadt – “Tracks of My Tears.” Linda, whose first Greatest Hits album had just been released, graces the cover. The Cameron Crowe-penned article delves into how her life had changed since the release of her breakthrough album, Heart Like a Wheel, two years earlier. (The entire article is available online.) The set collects her hits from 1967 (“Different Drum” with the Stone Poneys) through 1975’s Prisoner in Disguise, which is where this rendition of the classic Smokey Robinson & the Miracles hit comes from.

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2) Jackson Browne – “Here Comes Those Tears Again.” A simple ad hawks Browne’s fourth album, The Pretender, which was his first release following the March 1976 suicide of his first wife, Phyllis. This song was co-written with Phyllis’ mother, Nancy Farnsworth, but predates Phyllis’ death by a year or so.

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3) Heart – “Dreamboat Annie.” As I explained back in October, the Dreamboat Annie LP took some time to sail up the charts.

 

fullsizeoutput_111b4) Bob Dylan – “Lay, Lady, Lay.” In the lead review, Kit Rachlis calls the Hard Rain album an “enigma,” “atrociously recorded,” “problematic,” “a psychodrama of the most solipsistic sort” and a “revisionist critique of [Dylan’s] of his own past. He is not so much reinterpreting his work as blowing it apart.” That is to say, “Mostly his voice pushes the songs past recognition, beyond interpretation.” Of the performance of this classic song, he observes that it’s “no longer a request, but a demand.” And if, after all that, you’re still not sure what he thinks of Hard Rain, he concludes with: “Like a true primitive, Dylan’s work functions as a direct megaphone to himself. The result has been some of the most brilliant art that popular culture in this country has ever produced. But it also means that Dylan is at once his own best and worst critic. Hard Rain is the product of the latter.”

Unfortunately, I can’t find any tracks from the live album on YouTube. So, instead, here’s a 45 for “Lay, Lady, Lay” from 1969 –

5) Lou Reed – “You Wear It So Well.” Lou’s Rock and Roll Heart album did not win over reviewer Frank Rose, who says that it’s “less a collection of rock & roll songs than a series of meditations” and, after giving Lou his due for the continued influence of the Velvet Underground, observes that “[t]he key phrases [on the album] are all refrains: ‘I’m banging on my drum’; ‘You wear it so well’; ‘You’re caught in a vicious circle’; ‘It’s just a temporary thing.’ Reed chants them like mantras, until they’re almost stripped of meaning. He has scooped out their depth and given us nothing but surface.” Ouch!

And that’s that. Kinda. Here, in descending order, are the concluding sections of the Linda, Heart and Dylan pieces.

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IMG_1200I visited the Archive Books and Paper in Montgomeryville, Pa., a few weeks back. It’s a giant warehouse overflowing with old books, magazines, maps, LPs and…I’d say “junk,” and I guess I just did, but it houses something of interest to almost everyone. It certainly does for me, at any rate. Years ago, prior to our old apartment becoming stuffed from our packrat ways, I would have walked out with dozens upon dozens of magazines and books. This day, however, though we’re now in a house with much more room, I left with just two magazines: Circus, dated January 31st, 1977, which I used for the last Top 5, and this Creem, which is dated February 1977.

Circus, of course, billed itself as “the leading rock & roll biweekly.” Cream obviously disagreed with that claim, though, as it calls itself “America’s only rock ’n’ roll magazine.”

Kinda funny.

IMG_1202Anyway, I didn’t realize the closeness in dates between the two issues until after I arrived home. I found them buried beneath an assortment of teen-oriented magazines in the music section, and purchased them because they’re from the ‘70s. Even if I had noticed, though, I would’ve bought them. It’s interesting to see the overlap (and lack thereof) between the two, which likely would’ve shared newsstand space for a few weeks given that magazines are generally dated ahead. As a result, today’s Top 5 will feature a few of the same artists (though not the same songs).

In the history books, this month is memorable for a few reasons: Radio Shack committed to production of the TRS-80 computer on the 2nd (it would hit the stores in August); Fleetwood Mac released Rumours on the 4th; and President Jimmy Carter announced on the 24th that the U.S. would begin taking human rights into consideration when doling out foreign aid. Oh, and at a mere 11 years and seven months, I received my detective badge (from the Johnson Smith catalog) at month’s start. But unlike the Hardy Boys or Nancy Drew, who were new to Sunday nights, I never stumbled onto any mysteries. That was, suffice it to say, a disappointment.

Weather-wise, the cold from the previous months let up and, by month’s end, the Philadelphia region experienced a string of days in the 50s and 60s. In sports, the Philadelphia Flyers were on a roll: 9-3 for the month. I’d yet to take much of an interest in them, however.

IMG_1204The first thing that grabbed my eye in this Creem: a letter in the Mail section from one Pete Townshend of Twickenham, England, who’s fed up with Creem readers haranguing him about when the Who’s 10-LP set based on the Bible will be released. (A previous issue had included a parody of Pete’s penchant for rock operas.) It’s an echo of the mythical Masked Marauders, of course, and goes to show that, no matter the era, some folks want to be fooled.

This issue’s cover story, as seen above, is on journeyman Peter Frampton, whose domination of the record charts in 1976 (and transformation from rocker into a teen idol) would be equaled within a few years by his descent into near-anonymity. There are also articles, as the Contents page shows, on Eric Clapton, Nils Lofgren, Kiki Dee, Lou Reed and the Runaways, among others.

And, with that, here’s today’s Top 5: February 1977 (via Creem)…

IMG_12061) Linda Ronstadt – “Lose Again.” Robert Christgau tackles Linda’s seventh solo album, Hasten Down the Wind, which was released in August of the preceding year: “Linda’s always wanted to be a Real Country Singer, but RCS put out two or three LPs like this every year. You know—find some good tunes, round up the gang, and apply formula. Like the great RCS she can be, she comes up with some inspired interpretations; the flair of ‘That’ll Be the Day’ and ‘Crazy’ do justice to the originals, and her version of the title song alIMG_1207most makes you forget its unfortunate title. But you cover Tracy Nelson’s ‘Down So Low’ at your own peril even if you believe not one in 10 of your fans remembers it, and the two Karla Bonoff lyrics make her (I mean Karla, but Linda too) sound like such a born loser that I never want to hear anyone sing them again.” He graded it a B-.

That’s a rather mean-spirited take on Karla’s contributions (of which there are three, not two). We saw her in concert a few years back and she was beyond good – a magical set. She talked about the first time she heard Linda cover one of her songs, “Lose Again” (which opens Hasten), at a 1976 concert in L.A. and knowing her life had just changed.

IMG_12102) The Runaways – “Born to Be Bad.” Patrick Goldstein provides a warts-and-all slant on the Runaways, detailing a bit of dissension within the ranks due to sleaze-ball manager Kim Fowley: “How’s the record going? Terrible, [Joan Jett] mutters. Apparently, the Runaways’ marriage with Fowley has followed the contours of the archetypical Liz and Dick affair. Young Mr. F may have discovered the girls (in a Denny’s parking lot or at Rodney Bingenheimer’s or a Ronald Reagan fundraiser—I hear a different story every time I ask, so I don’t vouch for their veracity) but their fondness for the mad studio scientist varies at every mood.” And no wonder. “What AM radio wants is garbage,” Fowley says, “and the Runaways are gonna give them garbage. They heard the applause and got the encores and thought they didn’t need em anymore. Now that it’s time for a make or break record, they’re back in my arms again. The girls know what’s good for them. They sold 70,000 records this time around. If Queens of Noise doesn’t double that figure, Mercury will drop them like that! I wonder how they’ll like working as waitresses on the Strip.”

IMG_1211Later, Goldstein goes deep into Fowley’s effort to cast the band as rock ’n’ roll Lolitas, and quotes Cherie Curie as saying, ’This isn’t a tits-and-ass show. When you’re 16, you can’t stand up there and be a sex object. It’s just not part of being 16. I’m not old enough to play Brigitte Bardot or Raquel Welch. Hell, I’m 16.”

That said, they also have some issues with…Patti Smith, whom they met but didn’t like. “She’s such a snob,” says Curie. And Joan Jett observes that, “I was wearing a leather jacket and she still didn’t talk to me.”

“Born to Be Bad” hails from Queens of Noise. It’s atmospheric, melodramatic and a tad (okay, a lot) silly… and, yet, I love it.

IMG_12123) Nils Logfren – “Happy.” The Runaways aren’t the only ones who had issues with Patti. Nils Lofgren, in a piece promoting his new LP, I Came to Dance, says: “Patti Smith? I thought she was a great entertainer. But when I played with her, her sound people totally screwed me around. Their sound man went out and got drunk and came back before my set and fucked up everything. My monitors were fucked all night. Then she took a sound check and took so long to get it together with her sound people that I didn’t get a sound check at all. I didn’t care—we went out and played fine and the kids really got off, but she’s totally unprofessional—she’s professional as an entertainer, but on a strictly musician level, she’s unprofessional. It’s partly the people around her, but you have to be responsible for that.”

IMG_12134) Jackson Browne – “Daddy’s Tune.” Joe Goldberg reviews The Pretender and, like Kit Rachlis in Circus, likes it: “Most of the songs sound like each other, and like songs on Browne’s previous three albums. Somehow, that doesn’t bother me. A lot of very serious people only have one song to sing, one thing to say. Most of us don’t even have that, which is why we depend on Jackson Browne to do it for us. Jackson Browne’s song is mystical and apocalyptic, about the deluge, lost love, changing personalities, friends becoming strangers, the self becomes a stranger, and the healing powers of Mother Water. He has next to nothing to do with Good Time California; he has everything to do with the rootless terror and hopes of redemption that the endless summer sun shines down on. A hundred years ago, he would have made a fine hellfire-and-damnation preacher.”

Of this song, Goldberg writes: “There are any number of memorable lines. I especially like one in ‘Daddy’s Tune,’ about the singer’s attempt to reconcile his difference with his father: ‘Make room for my forty-fives/Along beside your seventy-eights.’ Several places in the record, Browne has the happy facility of being completely specific and totally universal at the same time.”

IMG_12155) Elton John – “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word.” Richard Riegel reviews Elton John’s Blue Moves, a double-LP set released in October 1976, calling it Elton’s “White Album, similarly color-coded and four-sided, not to mention just as anticlimactic.” He points out that there’s filler, including “Cage the Songbird” and “One Horse Town,” and offers up this snarky observation: “[T]hat atmospheric instrumental, ‘Out of the Blue,’ is not jazz, but it’s not bad, as Mr. Haggard once almost said. This song just may exemplify the ‘blue moves’ of the title, and if Elton continues this trend, soon he can take the late Vince Guaraldi’s place as the chief scorer of those Peanuts TV specials. (Bernie’s already completed a thorough self-analysis through his rigorous study of the complete works of Charles M. Schulz, so he’s all set.)”

… and one bonus:

IMG_12166) Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – “Night Moves.” Robert Christgau grades Night Moves an A- in his roundup, calling it a “journeyman’s apotheosis. The riffs that identify each of these nine songs comprises a working lexicon of the Berry-Stones tradition, and you’ve heard them many times before; in fact, that may be the point, because Seger and his musicians reanimate every one by their persistence and conviction. Both virtues also come across in lyrics as hard-hitting as the melodies, every one of which asserts the continuing functionality of rock ‘n’ roll for ‘sweet sixteens turned thirty-one.”

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IMG_1159In the Philadelphia region, like elsewhere in the northeastern U.S., the winter of 1976-77 was cold. How cold? According to Jon Nese and Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz, from December 1976 through February 1977, we experienced 54 days when temperatures dipped beneath 20 degrees; and, on 35 of them, temperatures never inched above the freezing mark. In fact, that January was the coldest month, ever, for the Delaware Valley.

For a kid a mere two years removed from a hot desert climate, it felt like a frigid hell. About the only saving grace: the lack of snow. We narrowly escaped the Blizzard of ’77, which slammed New England and, for the winter as a whole, amassed less than eight inches.

There were less pluses when it came to the economy. It wasn’t as awful as, say, 1974, but it wasn’t good. Unemployment was 7.8 percent and inflation was 5.2 percent. Yet, despite those stats and weather, optimism lingered in the air for a variety of reasons, including one of the greatest feel-good movies of all time, Rocky, which was released the month before; and Jimmy Carter, who was sworn into office as America’s 39th president on January 20th. It was a new day—and, ever so briefly, a new politics: at the start of his inaugural address, Carter thanked Gerald Ford, his predecessor, for all he had done to heal a land torn asunder by Watergate. The two shook hands.

Not that the speech lent itself to greatness; if anything, its prosaic language foreshadowed what would become a prosaic presidency.

IMG_1160In any event: Circus. It’s not a music magazine I read with regularity and, at this stage of my life, I wasn’t reading any, period. I was 11 /12, attending a public middle school (6th & 7th grades; there was a second middle school for 8th & 9th) that banned denim jeans, and was gung-ho for pro ‘rassling. On TV, in addition to the WWWF on weekends and Sunday football, I watched The Six Million Dollar Man, The Captain & Tennille, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, The Bionic Woman, Welcome Back, Kotter and Donny & Marie. I watched tons of reruns, too, including The Brady Bunch, The Monkees and The Partridge Family. (The addition of the second addiction/obsession, i.e. music, came later that year.)

Anyway, my main memory of Circus, which is from a few years later, is that it was (basically) a heavy-metal monthly, minus the cool art and stories that accented the real Heavy Metal magazine. So I was taken aback, last weekend, to discover this issue, dated January 31st, in a rather cool ephemera store about a 30-minute ride away from my home.

IMG_1161The tag beneath the title, as seen in the first picture, calls it “the leading rock & roll biweekly.” According to Wikipedia, “[i]n the late 1970s, the magazine started focusing on pop culture as a weekly in the vein of People Magazine, which caused a drop in sales.” This issue doesn’t read like People to me, but it does have several non-music articles – one on Raid to Entebbe, an NBC-TV movie starring Charles Bronson; another on Roots; and a profile of actress-writer Mary Kay Place, who was hot thanks to Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and her first (and only) album. There’s also a quick-hit section called Front Pages that features reports on David Soul, 40-band CB radio, NASA and TV odds-and-ends; and the quick-hit Back Pages, which focuses on music. This issue, that means mentions of Paul McCartney & Wings, Queen, Boston, the Runaways, Alice Cooper and Bob Seger.

Here’s today’s Top 5: January 31st, 1977 (via Circus):

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1) Jackson Browne – “The Pretender.” Kit Rachlis reviews begins the review of Jackson’s fourth album with an excellent paragraph: “Three people haunt almost every word and note of Jackson Browne’s The Pretender: his wife, Phyllis, who committed suicide last spring; his three-year-old son, Ethan; and his father Clyde, who left his family when Browne was a child. In one sense, The Pretender can be seen as Browne’s attempt to come to terms with his own family—a family shattered by death and separation, renewed by the birth of his son. ‘Daddy’s Tune’ and ‘The Only Child’ are for his father and son. ‘Here Comes Those Tears Again,’ written with his mother-in-law, and ‘Linda Paloma’ are clearly intended for Phyllis. But it would be a mistake to view the album as functioning solely as autobiography. That assumption can only lead to the worst kind of psychological speculation. (Is ‘Your Bright Baby Blues,’ most of which was written five years ago, about Phyllis?) Moreover, such perspective limits the album’s scope and undercuts its accomplishment. Instead of being about Phyllis and Ethan, The Pretender is about death and birth, about understanding the past and claiming the future—mostly, it’s about redefining romanticism in the face of disillusionment and tragedy.”

As a whole, the review is a thoughtful rave that calls The Pretender “Browne’s best album.” (He’s wrong there, of course; that honor goes to Late for the Sky.) Rachlis also says that it’s “not the culmination, but an extension of Browne’s previous work. Almost every song has a counterpart in the earlier albums. The title cut, the most important and ambitious song on the LP, belongs in the line of ‘Rock Me on the Water,’ ‘For Everyman,’ and ‘After the Deluge,’ all of which stake out Browne’s position in relation to society. Each declares his defiance of categorization and grand schemes. Rather, his is a search for solace within himself or with those around him—whether in ‘the kindness of my baby’s eye’ or ‘the light in your lover’s eyes.’ Perhaps for Browne, the search itself provides its own solace.”

2) Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band – “Rock and Roll Never Forgets.” John Swenson writes that Night Moves “is already one of my favorite albums of the year, and I haven’t even been listening to it for more than a week. This comes as a big surprise to me because I’ve always taken Seger for granted. Certainly it’s been easy to say I’ve liked him, but it’s always been that casual kind of approval usually accorded to marginal figures who please without impressing.”

IMG_1163Swenson explains: “Not that Night Moves hits me with the emotional impact of The Who Sell Out or Beggar’s Banquet or Gasoline Alley—my reaction to those records was definitely a function of how I saw myself at the time, and very little can match their impact these days. Night Moves doesn’t affect me like that—it’s too derivative (but not in the sense that it shows its influences, because all great rock & roll has been influenced by something). This LP is emotionally derivative, which leads me to suspect that someone who didn’t grow up listening to The Who Sell Out, Beggar’s Banquet, or Gasoline Alley would find it as much of a revelation now as I found those records then.”

He then compares Seger to Rod Stewart (a bit of a stretch, I think), and says “[y]ou could bring Stewart in to sing ‘Rock and Roll Never Forgets,’ and it would be a perfect Faces classic, with all the unpretentious abandon that characterized that band’s best performances.”

(There’s also an excellent article about Seger in the Up Starts section; click on the above pic to read it.)

IMG_11653) The Bee Gees – “You Should Be Dancing.” Saturday Night Fever was 11 months away and, yet, the Brothers Gibb were already on a roll. According to writer Stephen Demorest, “After half a decade in the phantom zone of worn-out pop groups, the Bee Gees have rebounded mightily in the last two years with a stunning string of five hit singles and two platinum albums strong on disco flavoring. And now 1977 promises to be the hottest year in their entire 20 year career.”

On their agenda: the soundtrack to the Sgt. Pepper’s film; and their followup to Children of the World (which would be bastardized for Saturday Night Fever). This song, which features on that soundtrack, hails from Children; and was a No. 1 hit in September 1976. One piece of trivia related to it: Stephen Stills (yes, that Stephen Stills) plays percussion on it.

This video is from Soul Train, where the song was used for a line dance…

IMG_11714) Lou Reed – “I Believe in Love.” In an “as heard by Scott Cohen” article titled “Pitter Patter: Lou Reed’s Rock and Roll Heart…,” Lou says “[b]eing sentimental is my weakness. I’ve got a drawer full of old love letters to prove it.” He also says, “I believe in good times, good-time music, good-night kisses, crosses, fresh starts and most of all—like I say in ‘I Believe in Love’—I believe in love.” And, of the song itself, he talks about how “[t]he words…came to me while singing in the shower. I wanted to say ‘I’m on the outside looking in/on the inside of you looking out/at me’ but couldn’t work it in.”

And, of his past, he explains that “[b]efore the Velvet Underground, I had a band in England called the Beachnuts and sang ‘Sally Can’t Surf.’ Before that I sang with Garland Jeffreys at Syracuse University.”

IMG_11675) The Runaways – “Queens of Noise.” The Runaways promote their second album, Queens of Noise, in the Back Pages section. “It’s a weird kinda song,” Joan Jett says of the title song of the Runaways’ second album. “It’s heavy, but it could be a Top 20 hit; it’s got a happy-type melody.”

The un-bylined article also details the band’s shift to an improved recording technique. “It’s certain that the ‘noise’ won’t be refined out, however. ‘It has to have that raw edge,’ said Jett, ‘but sound better. I liked The Runaways for what it was. If we’d come out sounding like a Queen production, it wouldn’t have let us go anyplace.’ Refusing to disparage their debut album, she added, ‘Even though a lot of critics said it wasn’t produced well, we’ve gotten a lot of fan mail saying it’s the best album they’ve ever heard. And as long as the people buying albums like it, I think we did it right.”

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Two nights, two concerts. One venue. On Thursday, Neil Young delivered a spellbinding acoustic show at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. On Friday, Jackson Browne and a crack band gently rocked the same house.

On the surface, the differences couldn’t have been more stark. Neil, at 68 years of age, looks like a grizzled miner, albeit one for a heart of gold. He possesses a stage demeanor that is, in a word, gruff. He ignored the shouted requests (typical for a Philly crowd) for obscure and not-so-obscure songs from his decades-deep catalog and, at times, seemed visibly annoyed. “CSNY!” someone in the balcony yelled. “Never again,” Neil snapped. “Crazy Horse?” someone in the front row queried. “Always,” he replied.

Jackson, on the other hand, looked decades younger than his 66 years; and fended off the shouted requests with aplomb and humor, jokingly wondering if he’d selected the right songs for the setlist. At one point, as he prepared to play a song from his new album, the excellent Standing in the Breach, someone shouted out for an old song – and he swapped his guitar, huddled with the band members and then served up “Your Bright Baby Blues” from The Pretender.

Yet, appearance and stage patter aside, they share many similarities. They’re both singer-songwriters with long resumes who, at their best, craft songs that caress and/or express the heart and soul; they’re each comfortable on stage alone or with a band; and they’re passionate about defending the environment. Neil performed “Mother Earth” and the new “Who’s Gonna Stand Up (and Save the Earth)?”; and shared his disappointment with President Obama for signing off on deep-water fracking in the Gulf of Mexico. Jackson, for his part, discussed the need to save the oceans – every second breath we take is thanks to them – prior to performing the new “If I Could Be Anywhere,” a wonderful song from Standing in the Breach about a trip he made to the Galápagos Islands.

They also split their concerts into two sets.

Neil showcased a few songs from his recent, all-covers album A Letter Home and four from his forthcoming Storeytone. His setlist:

From Hank to Hendrix / On the Way Home / Only Love Can Break Your Heart / I’m Glad I Found You / Mellow My Mind / Reason to Believe / Someday / If You Could Read My Mind / Harvest / Old Man // Pocahontas / Heart of Gold / Plastic Flowers / A Man Needs a Maid / Ohio / Southern Man / Who’s Gonna Stand Up? / Mother Earth / When I Watch You Sleeping / Harvest Moon // After The Gold Rush // Thrasher

Jackson’s set featured a handful of new ones, though “The Birds of St. Marks” is actually very old – it dates to 1968. There was also, after his return from the break, a spontaneous rendition of “Happy Birthday” by the audience to him, as he’d celebrated his birthday the day before. His setlist:

The Barricades of Heaven / Looking Into You / The Long Way Around / Leaving Winslow / These Days / Shaky Town / I’m Alive / You Know the Night / Fountain of Sorrow // Rock Me on the Water / Your Bright Baby Blues / Standing in the Breach / Looking East / If I Could Be Anywhere / The Birds of St. Marks / For a Dancer / Doctor My Eyes / The Pretender / Running on Empty // Take It Easy / Our Lady of the Well

 

 

People who know me in the real world know that, when push comes to shove, Neil Young is my favorite musical artist – his music is ingrained in my DNA. Yet, as I’ve written elsewhere, the older I’ve become the more I’m drawn to the work of Jackson Browne – especially Late for the Sky, which now easily ranks in my Top 10 Albums of all time.

Since Friday night, I’ve been comparing and contrasting the two concerts in my head, and – beyond the superficial – coming up with blanks. Neil’s was, as I said at the outset, spellbinding. Jackson’s was a little less so, yet some of his songs (“Rock Me on the Water,” “Fountain of Sorrow” and “For a Dancer”) resonated deeper in my soul. Read into that what you will.