Thursday, January 07, 2016

Vinyl log 25 - 3 January

Before I get started on this day's vinyl log, I want to explain why this series of blogs stopped abruptly in October. When I summed up the blogs between 801-900, I saw that 24 of them were vinyl logs; it seemed to me that almost every blog was such a log. There may not be much happening in my life (mainly disappointments), but I didn't want to spend all my time chronicling events which happened mainly 30-45 years ago. The series is being renewed although probably will be pursued with less vigour than before.

03January1978Jackson BrowneRunning on empty

I suppose that first I have to start with how I became acquainted with Jackson Browne's records. Sometime in 1976, I purchased a subscription to 'ZigZag' magazine, as there was a student discount. Whilst ZZ devoted most of its space to West Coast acts, most of which I had never heard, there was also a decent amount of British coverage. One of the earliest editions that I purchased had Richard Thompson (and probably Linda, too) on the cover, so ZZ was OK. Unfortunately, about six months after the subscription began, to my displeasure ZZ turned punk, so that was the end of that.

In November 1976, ZZ began singing the praises of a new record by Jackson Browne entitled 'The Pretender'. I decided to check this out, so went down to One Price Records in Golders Green, where I heard this record. The first song, 'The fuse', knocked me out (although after the first chord, I instinctively knew what the second chord would be) and I decided on the spot to buy the record. This was 18 Dec 1976. Whilst the second and third songs on this record found less favour with me, I very much appreciated the record and over the next few months bought the other three records which JB had released at the time.

The story with 'The fuse' is very similar to that of 'The songs of Leonard Cohen' : at summer camp of 1971, a friend had strongly recommended his first album, even though by this time he had released three. I went into a shop to hear the record and much appreciated the first track that I heard, 'So Long Marianne'. On the basis of this, I bought the album, only to discover that SLM was the opening track of the second side and that there were several songs which I didn't care for (too long and boring).

Back to Jackson Browne. At the end of 1977, I remember being somewhere in central London at night with a girl that I was seeing at the time (she was in the first year student of my course whilst I was a lofty fourth year student); I saw this album - gate-fold sleeve - in some shop display. Of course, a few days later I would have gone to some record shop to buy this album,

The concept seemed interesting: an album consisting of songs about 'being on the road' actually recorded on the road. Some of the songs were recorded in concert whereas some were recorded in hotel rooms and even on the tour bus! Unfortunately, the concept didn't match the execution: the songs, for the most part, were somewhat long and boring (this seems to be a common complaint for me). Whilst I can still recall a song or two, I have never bothered to replace this record with a cd, or even download it.

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