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CD Reviews: Review of Solo Acoustic, Vol.1 by Jackson Browne
Red Rocker Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com   Jackson Browne: Solo Acoustic, Vol 1 (Inside Recordings  2005)

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You heard it here first (well, maybe not first): Jackson Browne is slowing down. Yes, when your greatest hits collections and back-catalog re-releases start outnumbering the original material, then your career is officially in retirement mode. Give Browne credit for recently founding an independent record label (Inside Recordings) and then merging with a leading nationwide distributor (ADA, Inc.) to get his stuff, as well as a bunch of cool indie recordings that might not have otherwise found a way, out to the masses.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee’s new Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1 stands as his first live record since the 1977 mega-platinum Running on Empty. That, in and of itself, should cause this inaugural Inside Recordings release to tweak some interest. Brandishing nothing here but an acoustic guitar or piano, Browne plods through his vast library and reworks a few well-known hits (“These Days” and “The Pretender”), various deep album tracks (“Fountain of Sorrow” and “Looking East”), and a long, lost treasure called “The Birds of St. Marks”, which has never been released in any form.

A second disc could well have been attached just to accommodate Browne’s lengthy chatter between songs. In fact, the CD lists 20 tracks (including exact time segments for intros) even though there are but 12 actual songs. Some of the introductions are clever and funny, like when he admits to goofing up The Eagles’ “Peaceful Easy Feeling” on a prior night or when he salutes Andy Warhol in his preface to the well-received “These Days.” He gets his biggest laughs, however, when a fan yells out a request and Browne responds, “See, that’s the way it is now, they don’t ask if you’ll do it, they ask if you remember it! The truth is I don’t know if I remember it, but we’ll find out.”

This is an impressively hushed outing for a guy who once played in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (that’s right, check your rock n’ roll history books). These songs come across like fabled stories, played out by an author who always seemed to miss (or possibly avoid) the mainstream and favored posturing socialism to selling records. “Lives in the Balance” serves as his not-so-subtle political rant this time out, and while it is 20 years old, the themes are strikingly pertinent. Excess chatter and political fodder aside, Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1 is the best wine-sipping dinner disc of the year. It peels a handful of Jackson Browne’s favorite compositions down to their naked core and exposes his soul for all to hear, as if he were 21 years young again and starving for a gig on the L.A. folk circuit. 

~Red Rocker 




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