Album Review of:
‘LOVE IS STRANGE
& DAVID LINDLEY
(2CD - Inside Recordings, May 2010)
‘We may lose and we may win but we will never be here again’. Hola! was there ever a lyric that compressed so much into one neat stanza? Vagabond restlessness, sexual anticipation, existential truth, teenage lust, and careless freedom, all expressed with poetic economy. Was there ever a singer who had it better than Jackson Browne? Supernaturally gifted, impossibly good-looking, none of the curmudgeonly contrariness of Neil Young, or the acid vituperation of Dylan, just beguiling paeans to the redemptive power of love.
This double-CD catches him live on the March 2006 Spanish leg of his tour with prolific collaborator David Lindley, his essentially romantic imagery strewn with romance-language interjections. Not so much a live greatest hits, more a reinvention of his history, with a familiar core of musicians, including Jeff Young whose keyboards can be heard to advantage on Jackson’s ‘Looking East’ album, plus Spanish guests stepping in, percussionist Tino di Geraldo, and occasional vocalists. Lindley joined the Jackson Browne story in time for ‘For Everyman’, the second album in 1973. And some songs are drawn from Lindley’s own back-catalogue, including “El Royo-X”, title-track of his 1983 Jackson Browne-produced album. For Browne this was obviously an intimate evening in good company, although for the rest of us, the regular introduction of these ‘very good friends’ proves a distraction. But program them out, and it’s still a pretty neat set. In a live career overview he reaches back to before his own debut album, to when Tom Rush recorded “These Days” prior to the release of his own version. Although here it’s sung by Luz Casal. Even the ‘famous Eagles song’ “Take It Easy” comes in two versions, one done straight, one as “El Tranquilo” sung in Spanish by Kiko Veneno. And why is he ‘looking for a lover who won’t blow his cover’ anyway? – is it a drugs thing, something to do with those ‘seven women on his mind’, or just a convenient rhyme? But when he’s most himself, singing about his ‘god-sized hunger’ with just ticking congas on one of his most effecting song, ‘Looking East’, this package can be everything you hoped it would be.