Archive for Jackson Browne

Review: Rockin’ into the weekend!

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , on May 21, 2010 by 30daysout

Goin’ into the weekend with some new albums to play on the patio …

Stone Temple Pilots reformed earlier this year to perform at SXSW, so a few months later their new, eponymous album is on the shelves, and it’s a good one.  This band sounds better than ever, particularly on those mid-tempo rockers they do so well.  “Take A Load Off” and “Dare If You Dare” fit into this mold, but there’s always a gut-crunching riff around the corner: “Hazy Daze” is almost stoner rock, while “Bagman” slyly evokes the old “Batman” TV show theme song.  And opener “Between The Lines” could be Pearl Jam, if you squint your ears (don’t ask).  Stone Temple Pilots!  It ain’t the ’90s, but I like it!

MP3: “Between The Lines” by Stone Temple Pilots

Stream the whole album at

It ain’t so easy with Love Is Strange, a live 2-CD collection from Jackson Browne and his longtime sideman David Lindley.  On one listen, I like the mostly acoustic settings, the introductions done in Spanish (this was recorded during a tour of Spain) and the obtuse humor of Lindley.  On another listen, I’m put off by the overly reverent treatment of a few of the songs, and the overly bloated feel of the album (do we really need an acoustic-fiddle version of “Take It Easy”?).  To his credit, Browne shares the stage also with some talented Spanish artists like Luz Casal, who takes over lead vocals on Browne’s classic “These Days” and Kiko Veneno, who puts his stamp on what Browne introduces as “a very famous Eagles song.”  In the end, I’m drawn to the spare, affecting versions of “For Everyman” and “Running On Empty,” both powered by Lindley’s incredible guitar work.  Browne/Lindsey kick into their cover of the Mickey & Sylvia classic “Love Is Strange” and I shouldn’t have been surprised how it ended.  I shouldn’t have enjoyed this album, but I did – immensely.

MP3: “Tu Tranquilo” by Jackson Browne & David Lindley with Kiko Veneno

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Review: “Warren Zevon” (Reissue)

Posted in Review with tags , , on November 14, 2008 by 30daysout


It was 1976.  A warm breeze stirred up pages of a discarded newspaper along Sunset Boulevard.  People seemed a little restless.  The radio played Peter Frampton, Paul McCartney and the goddamn Eagles.  Outside a nondescript recording studio, a man walked out and lit a cigarette, the flickering flame reflected in his eyeglasses.  The world was about to meet Warren Zevon.

Warren Zevon is considered by many people his debut but although it wasn’t his first album, it’s the one that put this hardboiled singer-songwriter on the map.  Linda Ronstadt picked up his “Poor Poor Pitiful Me” and “Mohammed’s Radio” while most of L.A.’s rock royalty (Jackson Browne, Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Carl Wilson of the Beach Boys and Henley-Frey from the goddamn Eagles) appeared on this masterpiece.  Nothing wimpy about this music – the hero of “Carmelita” is all strung out on heroin and “The French Inhaler” is one of the nastier fuck-off songs this side of Bob Dylan. 

Rhino has issued an incredible 2-CD version of Warren Zevon; the second disc is packed with outtakes, alternate tracks, live versions and demos.  The early take here of “Join Me In L.A.” takes the sheen off Jackson Browne’s production, sounding closer to the punk rock that would soon blossom over in NYC.  “Carmelita” isn’t as desperate as the final album version and “Mama Couldn’t Be Persuaded” appears as a live radio cut for rock powerhouse WMMS in Cleveland.  It’s all very terrifying, enlightening and life-enhancing.  Even in its original version, Warren Zevon is a masterpiece.

MP3: “Poor Poor Pitiful Me”

MP3: “Carmelita” (1974 demo)

MP3: “The French Inhaler”

MP3: “Join Me In L.A.” (Take 2)

Warren Zevon official website

Review: “Time The Conqueror,” Jackson Browne

Posted in Review with tags on October 2, 2008 by 30daysout

Jackson Browne is an old hand who’s been around the music business for more than three decades.  On Time The Conqueror, his first album of new material in six years, Browne comes to terms with his advancing age (59 years old) with a set of songs that reflect a mature view of affairs both personal and political.  The title track (along with the grizzled portrait on the cover) is this album’s mission statement: “Time may heal all, but time will steal you blind,” sings Browne, but even as he is swept along in time’s slipstream Browne implores everyone to “decide what kind of world I believe in.”  He certainly shows what he believes in, with the socially conscious “The Drums Of War” and “Where Were You,” an angry post-Katrina lament.  Browne does a good job balancing his political statements with his lighter material; “Going Down To Cuba” and “Just Say Yeah” are really among the best songs on the album.  Over his long career Jackson Browne’s had his moments – The Pretender and Running On Empty each made a huge impact in the late 1970s – and it looks like the circle has come around again with Time The Conqueror.  This is music for its time, and of its time. 

MP3: “Just Say Yeah”

Jackson Browne official website

Review: Jackson Browne, “Solo Acoustic 2”

Posted in Review with tags , on April 2, 2008 by 30daysout


It would have been easy for Jackson Browne to put out an acoustic collection of his greatest hits. “Running on Empty,” “The Pretender,” “Here Come those Tears Again” and “Boulevard” would all sound great stripped down with just piano or guitar.  But Browne decided to go the other way and release lesser-known tracks (except for a couple) on Solo Acoustic 2. This 12-song collection has an intimate “coffeehouse” feel. Browne is so comfortable that he sounds like he could be in your living room strumming a few tunes after a great dinner. His excellent songwriting ability shines through on tracks like “Sky Blue and Black,” “Enough of the Night,” My Stunning Mystery Companion,” “Never Stop” and the Fast Times at Ridgemont High hit “Somebody’s Baby,” which sounds great with just piano and vocals.  

I remember many of the MTV “Unplugged” collections from the 90s being really boring. I don’t think many of the bands realized there was more to it than just strapping on an acoustic guitar and singing their songs the same old way. Guys like Jackson Browne know how to do the acoustic thing, and the proof is in this excellent collection.    

Jackson Browne’s official website

MP3: Somebody’s Baby