Sound — 7
I first spoke to Jackson Browne after a gig in Glasgow in '96, and when I overcame my nerves enough to speak, I asked JB why he hadn't done a live album since Running On Empty. He said something like "I think there's a few out there already". Of course in that time I hadn't encountered any of the innumerable boots available to JB fans. Solo acoustic is Jackson's belated attempt to cash in on his phenomenal ability to capture and hold an audience, and the tracks he has chosen here largely reflect his catalogue of the years, from Birds Of St Marks to Looking East.
Lyrics — 9
No-one who has encountered Jackson Browne's music has ever been less than complimentary about his wordcraft and his passion, which have served him well and put him on at least a level with more widely recognised contemporaries, like, say James Taylor, with perhaps more polished voices (I've always loved JB's voice, but it's not everyone's cuppa). This collection ranges from the early, youthful dreamy and less focussed songs about love and pain, to the sharply written and trenchant political anthems.
Overall Impression — 8
It has the feel of a bootleg, and a better sound than nearly all of the ones I've heard, due to the addition of spoken intros to many of the songs. The engineer has thankfully given track listings to these so that someone buying this album for the music rather than the woffle that we fans love so much can just skip direct from song to song rather than listen every time to the same stories. As a fan I have few problems with this album, but if I was using this as an intro to Jackson's music after all these years, I would expect more biographical and historical detail to flesh out the music. Even publication dates for each track to give an idea of chronology, and a footnote about where and when the recordings were made would be nice. This collection includes some great tracks, but some most definitely take on new life when played with a full band, and are not are their best when performed solo. I'm thinking especially of Take it Easy here, which even with the full band Jackson doesn't do as well as the Eagles. Solo, I'm afraid he sounds like a guy in the pub, but it's his song, so I suppose he couldn't not do it. On a more positive note to end with, I'm more than satisfied with this album, and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.