Late for the Sky

3 Sep


Every time I play Jackson Browne‘s third album (from 1974, on Asylum Records) I’m reminded of just how damn good it is. I have most of Mr Browne’s material but this was the first one I bought and the one which remains the benchmark against which everything else is judged. (My copy of the  Best of… Live (Australian Tour Souvenir), from 2003, runs it close – but that’s not on general release as far as I know).

.Jackson Browne  had already released his next album (1976’s The Pretender) before I finally took the plunge and bought something by him. The problem was simply that,  in those days, there were not many UK media outlets through which you could check out artists without hit singles. All I really knew (largely from the three weeklies: Melody Maker, NME and Sounds plus expensive import copies of Rolling Stone and the excellent but erratically-distributed ZigZag magazine) was that Mr Browne was an American based on the West coast  who had released some albums on Asylum, who’d written some stuff for The Eagles and Linda Rondstadt [recently diagnosed with Parkinsons , sadly] and (bizarrely), the Jackson Five.  Hmm.  What clinched it though was a cover feature in ZigZag magazine and a cover version of an earlier song (Song for Adam on Kiki Dee‘s 1993 Loving and Free album. Kiki  (who went on to record the No.1 hit single Don’t Go Breaking My Heart  with Elton John) was a jobbing singer from Bradford who – weirdly -had  ended up the first ever white Motown artist! Elton liked her and signed her to his Rocket label and produced her album – which I’d bought.

I’m so glad I did. There are just eight tracks on Late for the Sky but six of these are jaw-droppingly good and rate 5 star on my Windows Media Player (a ratio not many Greatest Hits compilations can manage). . All of them deserve a namecheck so tip your hat to  Late for the Sky,  Fountain of Sorrow, The Late Show and Farther On from side one and Before the Deluge and the beautiful For A Dancer from side two. All literate, thoughtful and intelligent – as well as slickly-produced. The backing musicians are pretty classy too, including  Don Henley, J.D. Souther, Terry Reid and Dan Fogelberg – and finally, the Magritte-inspired cover art.


One Response to “Late for the Sky”

  1. esther millson September 14, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

    ‘For A Dancer’ is most beautiful indeed…

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