Sunday, November 28, 2010



Back in 2006, Jackson Browne took a trip to Spain, a country he loves. This time, he was able to convince his old playing partner, multi-instrumentalist David Lindley, to come along. This was a major coup, as Lindley is not only a great player, he is Browne's most sympathetic foil, the second star of Browne's 70's heyday, as heard on the Running On Empty album and others. Keeping things simple for the trip, it was Browne and Lindley acoustic, joined by various Spanish music stars, friends of Jackson. Oh, and wisely, recording gear.

The results are this beautiful, Spanish-flavoured double-disc, Browne happily moving into the milieu, already well-versed in the sounds and even the language. It's pretty fun hearing him chat in Spanish to the crowds, relaxed and ready to integrate. The guests are featured as back-up players, percussion and such, or as much as lead vocalists, transforming Browne songs such as Take It Easy into new creatures, almost unrecognizable.

While all this is interesting, the real highlight for fans will be the stripped-down and closely-recorded highlights of Browne's catalogue, sounding fresh and powerful. Early gems such as Late For The Sky, Your Bright Baby Blues and For Everyman sound alive again. One can even gain a new appreciation for later, less popular work now that it's stripped of its rock band production, on the songs I'm Alive and Looking East. By the time Running On Empty and the Love Is Strange/Stay medley arrive, old fans will be back in the joy once felt when those records were hits.

The two key moves here are the return of Lindley, one of the very best sidemen, and the return of Browne to what he really is: not a rock star, but a singer/songwriter.

No comments:

Post a Comment