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Solo Acoustic, Vol 1

Released: 2005

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Solo Acoustic, Vol 1

Culled from the best takes of three years' worth of concerts, Solo Acoustic Vol. 1 finds Jackson Browne delivering tender takes from his deep catalog -- completely stripped of their Seventies-era excess production. Browne is in fine voice as he digs out tunes like "These Days" (first done by Velvet Underground singer Nico in 1968) and "Lives in the Balance" (a mid-Eighties anti-Reagan diatribe that sounds especially appropriate today). He wraps things up with a threadbare rendition of "The Pretender" that cannot mask the story of a youthful idealist being beaten down by the passing years. Needless to say, Browne's strength has always been songwriting, and Solo Acoustic delivers those songs with no extra baggage.

Three and one half stars
- ANDY GREENE, Rolling Stone Magazine, October 20, 2005

  • 1. THE BARRICADES OF HEAVEN
    Running down around the towns along the shore
    When I was sixteen and on my own
    No, I couldnt tell you what the hell those brakes were for
    I was just trying to hear my song

    Jimmy found his own sweet sound and won that free guitar
    Wed all get in the van and play
    Life became the Paradox, the Bear, the Rouge et Noir
    And the stretch of road running to L.A.

    Pages turning
    Pages we were years from learning
    Straight into the night our hearts were flung
    Better bring your own redemption when you come
    To the barricades of Heaven where Im from

    All the world was shining from those hills
    The stars above and the lights below
    Among those there to test their fortunes and their wills
    I lost track of the score long ago

    Pages turning
    Pages we were years from learning
    Straight into the night our hearts were flung
    Better bring your own redemption when you come
    To the barricades of Heaven where Im from

    Childhood comes for me at night
    Voices of my friends
    Your face bathing me in light
    Hope that never ends

    Pages turning
    Pages torn and pages burning
    Faded pages, open in the sun
    Better bring your own redemption when you come
    To the barricades of Heaven where Im from.
    Better bring your own redemption when you come
    To the barricades of Heaven where Im from

    By Jackson Browne, Jeff Young, Kevin McCormick, Scott Thurston, Mark Goldenberg, Mauricio Lewak, Luis Conte
    1996 Swallow Turn Music, Glad Brad Music, Inc., Eye Cue Music, adm. by Almo Music Corp, Bateria Music, Irague Music,
    ASCAP / Neurp Songs, Faux Music, Longitude Music Co., all rights on behalf of Faux Music, adm. by Longitude Music Co. BMI
    All Rights Reserved
  • 2. THESE DAYS
    Well Ive been out walking
    I dont do that much talking these days
    These days
    These days I seem to think a lot
    About the things that I forgot to do for you
    And all the times I had the chance to

    And I had a lover
    Its so hard to risk another these days
    These days
    Now if I seem to be afraid
    To live the life I have made in song
    Well its just that Ive been losing so long

    Ill keep on moving
    Things are bound to be improving these days
    One of these days
    These days I sit on corner stones
    And count the time in quarter tones to ten, my friend
    Dont confront me with my failures
    I had not forgotten them

    Words and Music by Jackson Browne
    1973 Open Window Music ASCAP, Companion Music ASCAP
    All Rights Reserved
  • 3. THE BIRDS OF ST. MARKS
    Oh how sadly sound the songs the queen must sing of dying

    A prisoner upon her throne of melancholy sighing
    If she could see her mirror now
    She would be free of those who bow and
    Scrape the ground beneath her feet

    Silently she walks among her dying midnight roses
    Watches as each moment goes that never really know us
    And so it seems she doesn't care
    If she has dreams of no one there
    Within the shadows of her room

    But all my frozen words agree, and say it's time to
    Call back, all the birds I sent to
    Fly behind her castle walls, and I'm
    Weary of the nights I've seen
    Inside these empty halls

    Wooden lady turn and turn among my weary secrets
    And wave within the hours past and other empty pockets
    Maybe we've found what we have lost
    When we've unwound so many crossed entangling
    Misunderstandings; but

    All my frozen words agree and say it's time to
    Call back all the birds I sent to
    Fly behind her castle walls, and I'm
    Weary of the nights I've seen
    Inside these empty walls

    Words and music by Jackson Browne
    1970 Open Window Music ASCAP, Criterion ASCAP
  • 4. FOUNTAIN OF SORROW
    Looking through some photographs I found inside a drawer
    I was taken by a photograph of you
    There were one or two I know that you would have liked a little more
    But they didnt show your spirit quite as true
    You were turning round to see who was behind you
    And I took your childish laughter by surprise
    And at the moment that my camera happened to find you
    There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes

    Now the things that I remember seem so distant and so small
    Though it hasnt really been that long a time
    What I was seeing wasnt what was happening at all
    Although for a while our paths did seem to climb
    But when you see through loves illusions, there lies the danger
    And your perfect lover looks like a perfect fool
    So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
    While the loneliness seems to spring from your life like a fountain from a pool

    Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
    Youve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
    Youve had to hide sometimes but now youre all right
    And its good to see your smiling face tonight

    Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams
    But that magic feeling never seems to last
    And while the futures there for anyone to change still you know it seems
    It would be easier sometimes to change the past
    Im just one or two years and a couple of changes behind you
    In my lessons at loves pain and heartache school
    Where if you feel too free and you need something to remind you
    Theres this loneliness springing up from your life
    Like a fountain from a pool

    Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
    Youve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
    Youve had to hide sometimes but now youre all right
    And its good to see your smiling face tonight

    Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
    Youve known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
    Youve had to struggle, youve had to fight
    To keep understanding and compassion in sight
    You could be laughing at me, youve got the right
    But you go on smiling so clear and so bright

    Words and Music by Jackson Browne
    Swallow Turn Music ASCAP
    All Rights Reserved
  • 5. YOUR BRIGHT BABY BLUES
    Im sitting down by the highway
    Down by that highway side
    Everybodys going somewhere
    Riding just as fast as they can ride
    I guess theyve got a lot to do
    Before they can rest assured
    Their lives are justified
    Pray to God for me, baby
    He can let me slide

    Ive been up and down this highway
    Far as my eyes can see
    No matter how fast I run
    I can never seem to get away from me
    No matter where I am
    I cant help feeling Im just a day away from where I want to be
    Now Im running home, baby
    Like a river to the sea

    Baby if you can see me
    Out across this wilderness
    Theres just one thing
    I was hoping you might guess
    Baby you can free me
    All in the power of your sweet tenderness

    I can see it in your eyes
    Youve got those bright baby blues
    You dont see what youve got to gain
    But you dont like to lose
    You watch yourself from the sidelines
    Like your life is a game you dont mind playing to keep yourself amused
    I dont mean to be cruel, baby
    But youre looking confused

    Baby if you can hear me
    Turn down your radio
    Theres just one thing
    I want you to know
    When youve been near me
    Ive felt the love stirring in my soul

    Its so hard to come by
    That feeling of peace
    This friend of mine said,
    "Close your eyes and try a few of these"
    I thought I was flying like a bird so far above my sorrow
    But when I looked down I was standing on my knees
    Now I need someone to help me
    Someone to help me, please

    Baby if you need me
    Like I know I need you
    Theres just one thing
    Ill ask you to do
    Take my hand and lead me
    To the hole in your garden wall
    And pull me through

    Words and music by Jackson Browne
    1976 Swallow Turn Music ASCAP and WB Music Corp
    All Rights Reserved
  • 6. FOR A DANCER
    Keep a fire burning in your eye
    Pay attention to the open sky
    You never know what will be coming down
    I dont remember losing track of you
    You were always dancing in and out of view
    I mustve thought youd always be around
    Always keeping things real by playing the clown
    Now youre nowhere to be found

    Dont know what happens when people die
    Cant seem to grasp it as hard as I try
    Its like a song I can hear playing right in my ear
    That I cant sing, I cant help listening

    And I cant help feeling stupid standing round
    Crying as they ease you down
    Cause I know that youd rather we were dancing
    Dancing our sorrow away
    Right on dancing
    Theres nothing you can do about it anyway
    Just do the steps that youve been shown
    By everyone youve ever known
    Until the dance becomes your very own
    No matter how close to yours
    Anothers steps have grown
    In the end there is one dance youll do alone

    Keep a fire for the human race
    Let your prayers go drifting into space
    You never know what will be coming down
    Perhaps a better world is drawing near
    And just as easily it could all disappear
    Along with whatever meaning you might have found
    Dont let the uncertainty turn you around
    Go on and make a joyful sound
    Into a dancer you have grown
    From a seed somebody else has thrown
    Go on ahead and throw some seeds of your own
    And somewhere between the time you arrive
    And the time you go
    May lie a reason you were alive
    But youll never know

    Words and Music by Jackson Browne
    Swallow Turn Music ASCAP
    All Rights Reserved
  • 7. TOO MANY ANGELS
    There's an angel on a ribbon
    Hanging from the armoire door
    There's a cupid with his feet crossed
    On the bird cage by the door
    There's a baby angel drummer
    His eyes are open wide
    And two more tiny cherubs
    On the mantle side by side
    Too many angels
    Have seen me crying
    Too many angels
    Have heard you lying

    There are photographs of children
    All in their silver frames
    On the window sills and tabletops
    Lit by candle flames
    And upon their angel faces
    Life's expectations climb
    Where the moment has preserved them
    From the ravages of time
    Too many angels
    Have seen me crying
    Too many angels
    Have heard you lying

    Bring the morning on
    Voices sing of day
    I want to step out in the morning sun
    Through the flood of tears
    I want this darkness gone
    Your sweet face appears
    These apparitions coming one by one
    But there's no end in sight
    Only the dead of night

    And too many angels

    Too many angels
    Have seen me crying
    Too many angels
    Have heard you lying
    Too many angels
    Bring the morning on
    Voices sing of day
    I want to step out in the morning sun
    Through this flood of tears
    I want to greet the dawn
    Cast away these fears
    Forget about the things we could have done
    Bring the morning on
    Voices sing of day
    I want to watch the children as they run
    Through the broken years
    I want this darkness gone
    Your sweet face appears
    These apparitions coming one by one
    But there's no end in sight
    Only the dead of night
    And too many angels

    Words and music by Jackson Browne
    1993 Swallow Turn Music ASCAP
    All Rights Reserved
  • 8. FOR EVERYMAN
    Everybody I talk to is ready to leave
    With the light of the morning
    Theyve seen the end coming down long enough to believe
    That theyve heard their last warning
    Standing alone
    Each has his own
    Ticket in his hand
    And as the evening descends
    I sit thinking bout Everyman

    Seems like Ive always been looking for some other place
    To get it together
    Where with a few of my friends I could give up the race
    And maybe find something better
    But all my fine dreams
    Well thought out schemes
    To gain the motherland
    Have all eventually come down to waiting for Everyman

    Waiting here for Everyman
    Make it on your own if you think you can
    If you see somewhere to go, I understand
    Waiting here for Everyman
    Dont ask me if hell show
    Baby, I dont know

    Make it on your own if you think you can
    Somewhere later on youll have to take a stand
    Then youre going to need a hand

    Everybodys just waiting to hear from the one
    Who can give them the answers
    And lead them back to that place in the warmth of the sun
    Where sweet childhood still dances
    Wholl come along
    And hold out that strong
    But gentle fathers hand?
    Long ago I heard someone say something bout Everyman

    Waiting here for Everyman
    Make it on your own if you think you can
    If you see somewhere to go, I understand

    Im not trying to tell you that Ive seen the plan
    Turn and walk away if you think I am
    But dont think too badly of one whos left holding sand
    Hes just another dreamer dreaming bout Everyman

    Words and music by Jackson Browne
    1973 Swallow Turn Music ASCAP
    All Rights Reserved
  • 9. LIVES IN THE BALANCE
    Ive been waiting for something to happen
    For a week or a month or a year
    With the blood in the ink of the headlines
    And the sound of the crowd in my ear
    You might ask what it takes to remember
    When you know that youve seen it before
    Where a government lies to a people
    And a country is drifting to war

    And theres a shadow on the faces
    Of the men who send the guns
    To the wars that are fought in places
    Where their business interest runs

    On the radio talk shows and the TV
    You hear one thing again and again
    How the USA stands for freedom
    And we come to the aid of a friend
    But who are the ones that we call our friends
    These governments killing their own?
    Or the people who finally cant take any more
    And they pick up a gun or a brick or a stone
    There are lives in the balance
    There are people under fire
    There are children at the cannons
    And there is blood on the wire

    Theres a shadow on the faces
    Of the men who fan the flames
    Of the wars that are fought in places
    Where we cant even say the names

    They sell us the President the same way
    They sell us our clothes and our cars
    They sell us everything from youth to religion
    The same time they sell us our wars
    I want to know who the men in the shadows are
    I want to hear somebody asking them why
    They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
    But theyre never the ones to fight or to die
    And there are lives in the balance
    There are people under fire
    There are children at the cannons
    And there is blood on the wire

    Words and music by Jackson Browne
    1986 Swallow Turn Music ASCAP
    All Rights Reserved
  • 10. LOOKING EAST
    Standing in the ocean with the sun burning low in the west
    Like a fire in the cavernous darkness at the heart of the beast
    With my beliefs and possessions, stopped at the frontier in my chest
    At the edge of my country, my back to the sea, looking east

    Where the search for the truth is conducted with a wink and a nod
    And where power and position are equated with the grace of God
    These times are famine for the soul, while for the senses its a feast
    From the edge of my country, as far as you see, looking east

    Hunger in the midnight, hunger at the stroke of noon
    Hunger in the mansion, hunger in the rented room
    Hunger on the TV, hunger on the printed page
    And theres a God-sized hunger underneath the laughing and the rage
    In the absence of light
    And the deepening night
    Where I wait for the sun
    Looking east

    How long have I left my mind to the powers that be?
    How long will it take to find the higher power moving in me?

    Power in the insect
    Power in the sea
    Power in the snow falling silently
    Power in the blossom
    Power in the stone
    Power in the song being sung alone
    Power in the wheat field
    Power in the rain
    Power in the sunlight and the hurricane
    Power in the silence
    Power in the flame
    Power in the sound of the lovers name
    The power of the sunrise and the power of a prayer released
    On the edge of my country, I pray for the ones with the least

    Hunger in the midnight, hunger at the stroke of noon
    Hunger in the banquet, hunger in the bride and groom
    Hunger on the TV, hunger on the printed page
    And theres a God-sized hunger underneath the questions of the age
    And an absence of light
    In the deepening night
    Where I wait for the sun
    Looking east

    By Jackson Browne, Jeff Young, Kevin McCormick, Scott Thurston, Mark Goldenberg, Mauricio Lewak, Luis Conte
    1996 Swallow Turn Music, Glad Brad Music, Inc., Eye Cue Music, adm. by Almo Music Corp, Bateria Music, Irague Music, ASCAP / Neurp Songs, Faux Music, Longitude Music Co., all rights on behalf of Faux Music, adm. by Longitude Music Co. BMI
    All Rights Reserved
  • 11. THE PRETENDER
    Im going to rent myself a house
    In the shade of the freeway
    Im going to pack my lunch in the morning
    And go to work each day
    And when the evening rolls around
    Ill go on home and lay my body down
    And when the morning light comes streaming in
    Ill get up and do it again
    Amen

    I want to know what became of the changes
    We waited for love to bring
    Were they only the fitful dreams
    Of some greater awakening
    Ive been aware of the time going by
    They say in the end its the wink of an eye
    And when the morning light comes streaming in
    Youll get up and do it again
    Amen

    Caught between the longing for love
    And the struggle for the legal tender
    Where the sirens sing and the church bells ring
    And the junkman pounds his fender
    Where the veterans dream of the fight
    Fast asleep at the traffic light
    And the children solemnly wait for the ice cream vendor
    Out into the cool of the evening strolls the Pretender
    He knows that all his hopes and dreams begin and end there

    Ah the laughter of the lovers as they run through the night
    Leaving nothing for the others but to choose off and fight
    And tear at the world with all their might
    While the ships bearing their dreams sail out of sight

    Im going to find myself a girl
    Who can show me what laughter means
    And well fill in the missing colors
    In each others paint by number dreams
    And then well put our dark glasses on
    And well make love until our strength is gone
    And when the morning light comes streaming in
    Well get up and do it again
    Get it up again

    Im going to be a happy idiot
    And struggle for the legal tender
    Where the ads take aim and lay their claim
    To the heart and the soul of the spender
    And believe in whatever may lie
    In those things that money can buy
    Thought true love could have been a contender

    Are you there?
    Say a prayer for the Pretender
    Who started out so young and strong
    Only to surrender

    Say a prayer for the pretender
    Are you there for the pretender?
    Say a prayer for the pretender

    Words and music by Jackson Browne
    1976 Swallow Turn Music ASCAP and WB Music Corp
    All Rights Reserved
  • 12. TAKE IT EASY
    Well Im runnin down the road tryin to loosen my load
    Ive got seven women on my mind
    Four that want to own me, two that want to stone me
    One says shes a friend of mine

    Take it easy, take it easy
    Dont let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
    Lighten up while you still can
    Dont even try to understand
    Just find a place to make your stand
    And take it easy

    Standin on the corner in Winslow, Arizona
    With such a fine sight to see
    Its a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford
    Slowin down to take a look at me

    Come on baby, dont say maybe
    Ive got to know if your sweet loves gonna save me
    We may lose and we may win
    But we will never be here again
    Open up, Im climbin in
    To take it easy

    Well Im a-runnin down the road tryin to loosen my load
    Got a world of trouble on my mind
    I lookin for a lover who wont blow my cover
    Shes just a little hard to find

    Take it easy, take it easy
    Dont let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy
    Come on baby, dont say maybe
    Gotta know if your sweet loves gonna save me

    Words and music by Jackson Browne and Glen Frey
    Swallow Turn Music ASCAP
    All Rights Reserved
  • 13. BONUS TRACK: THE REBEL JESUS
    All the streets are filled with laughter and light
    And the music of the season
    And the merchants' windows are all bright
    With the faces of the children
    And the families hurrying to their homes
    As the sky darkens and freezes
    They'll be gathering around the hearths and tales
    Giving thanks for all god's graces
    And the birth of the rebel Jesus

    Well they call him by the prince of peace
    And they call him by the savior
    And they pray to him upon the seas
    And in every bold endeavor
    As they fill his churches with their pride and gold
    And their faith in him increases
    But they've turned the nature that I worshipped in
    From a temple to a robber's den
    In the words of the rebel Jesus

    We guard our world with locks and guns
    And we guard our fine possessions
    And once a year when christmas comes
    We give to our relations
    And perhaps we give a little to the poor
    If the generosity should seize us
    But if any one of us should interfere
    In the business of why they are poor
    They get the same as the rebel Jesus

    But please forgive me if I seem
    To take the tone of judgement
    For I've no wish to come between
    This day and your enjoyment
    In this life of hardship and of earthly toil
    We have need for anything that frees us
    So I bid you pleasure
    And I bid you cheer
    From a heathen and a pagan
    On the side of the rebel Jesus.

    Words and music by Jackson Browne
    1977 Swallow Turn Music ASCAP