Friday 26 March 2021

On the turntable today...Jackson Browne

It's a 70's lockdown and on the turntable today we have Late For The Sky by Jackson Browne. Released in September 1974 it is easily one of my all time favourite top five albums. Yes, it really is that good.

Okay, I admit it, I hold my hands up. I had long hair and was a bit of a hippie in my younger days. The sixties and seventies were the decades when pop music evolved from the innocence of Please Please Me through to the angry punk of Anarchy In The UK. In fifteen short years we were given a pile of different musical styles and sitting comfortably right in the middle of that pile is the west coast singer songwriter genre and this is definitely my 'thing’. 

Laurel Canyon was the focal point for much of this creative songwriting energy of the early 70's with the likes of CSNY, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and the Eagles blossoming and going on to forge their own successful careers in the music industry.
There were some fantastic albums around at that time; James Taylor’s Mud Slide Slim, Carole King’s Tapestry, Neil Young’s After The Goldrush, CSNY's Deja Vu, Eagles Desperado, Carly Simon’s No Secrets and Joni Mitchell's Blue. Jackson Browne’s debut album and its follow up For Everyman were equally as good but his third album Late For The Sky is without doubt his best, most deeply personal and creative piece of work. It's a stellar album and I love it.

Every track on this album is delicious, if the singer songwriter music genre appeals to your taste then you'll just love this album. It's filled with acoustic guitars, piano, organ, fiddle, peddle steel guitar and these instruments are all blended with perfect backing vocal harmonies from the likes of Don Henley, Dan Fogelberg and J. D. Souther. There is no filler here, it's the quintessential southern California singer songwriter album rammed full of great songs oozing sheer class and quality.

There are just eight tracks on this album, all of them are exceptional. Stand outs are the title track, the stirring Before The Deluge, the delicate Fountain Of Sorrow, The Late Show with the infamous door slam at the end and the beautifully poignant For A Dancer. The songs have themes of love and loss that are deeply moving at times. 

It is music that encourages you to listen to every word that is sung, listen to every note that is played and most importantly it still stands the test of time. This album has it all; deeply moving lyrics, great melodies, superb vocals, excellent playing from a backing band of top musicians and good production. Even the cover sleeve is a work of art. It’s an album that I still play and listen to all the time. 
Late For The Sky is Jackson Browne's masterpiece, I urge you to give it a spin on your turntable. It’s songwriting, musicianship and production of the highest quality. I think it's a wonderful album but if you don’t like it, that’s cool, I’m okay with that. We all have different musical tastes, mine is clearly better than yours 😉

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