I came late to the Jackson Browne party and it took other performers to show me the way. Bonnie Raitt introduced me to “My Opening Farewell” and “I Thought I Was a Child.” “Fountain of Sorrow” was one of the great songs on Joan Baez’s best album. I first heard “Rock Me On the Water” from Brewer & Shipley, and the Eagles told me to “Take It Easy.” Five great songs written by Jackson Browne, who was just warming up. Those tunes were on his first two albums released in 1972 and 1973. That first one also included “Doctor My Eyes,“ Browne’s first hit in his own voice. Musicians are drawn to Jackson Browne by his lyrics; the son of English teachers loves language. Sometimes the appeal is a single line. For example, in “Fountain of Sorrow” he says, “I was taken by a photograph of you.” In “My Opening Farewell,” the imagery is worthy of our finest literary writers of fiction. It begins by painting a picture of woman feeling guilty about leaving a man who loves her.
A lady stands before an open window
Staring so far away
She can almost feel the southern wind blow
Almost touching her restless day
She turns from her window to me
Sad smile her apology
Sad eyes reaching to the door
Women adore Jackson Browne, a handsome dude who’s super-sensitive. On his new cd, Time the Conqueror, he says he would, if he could, restore innocence to a stripper. I confess that was not on my list of things to do today.
I doubt if Browne would object to being called a bleeding-heart liberal. He’s been active and outspoken on progressive issue throughout his career. If you want to argue nuclear policy with him, you’d better do your homework because he certainly has done his. On public policy, he knows the history and has command of the details. He may well be America’s one and only wonk/poet. He says, “I live in a small place with a lot of books.”
How much do I like Jackson Browne? I came in to XM on a Sunday afternoon because that was only time I could talk to him face-to-face. ‘Nuff said.
Jackson Browne's tour schedule can be found here.