(Laurel Canyon, California) – We’ve had folk-rock, jazz-rock, and country-rock, never mind a score of other -rocks. Now, thanks to Jackson Browne, we’re got ‘Earth Tone-Rock’. With a musical and lyrical colour scheme that draws from a palette of browns, tans, warm grays, and greens, the California singer-songwriter seeks to comfort his listeners after the unsettling, revolutionary popular music of the past decade.
“I suppose with my name,” the duskily monikered musician joked, “It was inevitable that I’d invent ‘Earth Tone-Rock!”
Music fans who like to be warmed by subtle observations of the human condition, a cheery, burnished tenor voice and smooth harmonically rich melody should find much to admire in Jackson Browne.
Those who require something more aggressive and nihilistic should seek out what some have called “Shocking Pink Rock” as recently exported from the UK, such as the Sex Pistols, the Clash and the Buzzcocks.Editor’s Note: I always liked JB back in the day, though this was the only of his records I owned. I’d lost my original copy of Running On Empty years ago, so I was happy to replace it with this one, replete with booklet (pictured), last week. I had the chance to see Browne around the time of this record; in fact, my 12-year-old self had misheard my friend and thought he was inviting me to see James Brown (I didn’t actually know who Jackson Browne was) and so when I asked if I could go see the Godfather of Soul, my mother said absolutely not.
In other news, years later, I ruined the song “Rosie” for a friend’s girlfriend when I explained it was about self-pollution. That’s enough Jackson Browne anecdotes.