HOT STAMPERS DISCOVERED for Jackson Browne’s first Number One album! We just finished our first major shootout for this album and here’s a copy that stood head and shoulders above the pack. Most copies we played were too thick, veiled and/or smooth to get excited about, but this one presents the music in a much more enjoyable fashion. Both sides are clean, clear and transparent with the kind of presence to the vocals that the typical pressing lacks.
We had a huge stack of copies but most of them left us entirely cold. A mediocre copy of The Pretender is still a decent sounding record, but the average pressing of this one is just not going to get the job done. We suffered through some of the blandest records to hit the table in ages in the shootout, but I’m pleased to report that a small group of copies actually managed to impress.
So many copies we played were just thick and veiled, keeping Jackson’s vocals in the speakers stuck in a cloudy haze. Most of our copies lacked texture entirely, which really sucked the life out of the music. It’s a good thing this album sold so well in its day, because it took a TON of copies to find a few that actually sounded like the Jackson Browne we know and love from The Pretender, Late For The Sky and the wonderful first album.
Side one here earned top A+++ honors with more energy, presence and texture than we heard elsewhere. It’s also much more open and spacious than the typical copy by orders of magnitude. Side two is nearly as good (A++) but just a bit reserved next to the killer side one. If you bought, cleaned and played about twenty copies of this album, you might be lucky enough to find one like this, but trust me — that’s a LOT of work!
Of Missing Persons
Call It a Loan
Hold On Hold Out
His songs were less philosophical, but they were also more personal. In “Of Missing Persons,” he once again took on a eulogy as his subject, but unlike “Song to Adam” or “For a Dancer,” there the song was directed to his late friend’s daughter and encouraged her recovery: it was more a song for the living than for the dead. Newly aware of the world around him (“Boulevard”), he was also newly sensitive to others, notably on the mutual dependency song “Call It a Loan.”