Browne's single best album doesn't get the sales love these days that his peers such as The Eagles, with Hotel California, enjoy, and the hefty boost to his bank account. Maybe this reissue on vinyl will bring back some love.
It's certainly deserved. This was a concept album like no other, a group of songs about being on the road, performed on the road, not just on stage but in the bus and hotel rooms too. Since those were the settings for the songs, there is an extra poignancy as Browne sings about the feelings he, the band and the crew share, as well as the problems, humour and heartache.
The title cut may be Browne's very best song, as his band helped him move from his sad balladry to hockey rink rock. These were expert L.A. players (David Lindley, Danny Kortchmar, Russ Kunkel, etc.) on the loose in middle America, a writer at the height of his creative powers, lots of time to jam, too much time to play, and more money than brains. The cocaine and groupie stories might have humour up front, but Browne lets the listener know this definitely isn't going to turn out well; all they can hope for is survival and a few lessons learned.