Jackson Browne: Going Home


RIYL: The Eagles, Bonnie Raitt, David Lindley

In 1994, Jackson Browne released I’m Alive, a strong collection of songs that was a return to personal songwriting after years of political. In conjunction with that release, the Disney Channel, when they still offered programming that would appeal to adults, presented this documentary, “Jackson Browne: Going Home.” The 90-minute production captures the artist performing live with his great band from the ’90s, as well as footage of Browne, mostly at his home, sharing stories about his life, his career and the process he goes through making music. Interspersed with the concert and backstage footage are rare photos and filmed performances that span his career up to that point.

The live concert production is tight and immaculately produced. Like many of his Laurel Canyon 1970s singer-songwriter comrades, there is an attention to detail when Brown performs that makes you appreciate the professionalism of the artist. No note is out of place; what has been recorded on the record is duplicated perfectly in concert. However, Browne is also one of those artists who knows how to connect with his audience, making each concert unique. So, whether singing live in front of 20,000 or in a sterile TV studio for a small number of fans, it never feels like he’s going through the motions.

The abundance of music in the documentary seems far too much for only an hour and a half, but it all fits and everything sounds fantastic. The song selections must represent Browne’s set list in the early ’90s; mixed in with ’70s classics like “These Days,” “The Pretender” and “Before the Deluge,” are standouts from his late ’80s period like “In the Shape of a Heart,” “World In Motion” and “Sky Blue and Black.”  There are also some excellent deep cuts, like “Farther On” and “Birds of St. Marks.”

Many of Browne’s famous friends show up. David Lindley, Bonnie Raitt, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Don Henley, Jennifer Warnes and the rest of the Eagles all make appearances, with Lindley, Crosby, Nash and Warnes performing live with Browne and his band.

It’s hard to believe that “Going Home” was shot in 1994. Aside from some graying hair and additional wrinkles here and there, Browne doesn’t appear to have aged at all in all of these years.  Moreover, his voice continues to sound as youthful as ever. A nifty video montage of “Doctor My Eyes” edits together performances that range from early in his career to the ’94 show.  So often with these type of DVD releases, only hardcore fans will buy them. However, this is one release that stands on its own as a quality film whether you’ve been following Jackson Browne for years or just heard of him yesterday. (Eagle Records 2010)

  

The Hooters: Both Sides Live

Unless you’re a diehard fan, or unless you’re talking about landmark albums like Frampton Comes Alive, live albums are usually disappointing across the board. As for the Hooters’ latest, Both Sides Live, their songs are so catchy that it’s near impossible to disappoint. There are two different experiences on this double set—one electric and one acoustic—that just manages to show why this band has such a cult following well beyond their Philadelphia home. The first set, recorded at the Electric Factory in Philly, has hits like “All you Zombies,” “And We Danced” and “Johnny B,” as well as tracks from 2007’s Time Stand Still (“I’m Alive,” the title track, and their cover of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer” to name a few). But it’s the acoustic set, performed live for “friends and associates,” that really showcases the songwriting prowess of Eric Bazilian and Rob Hyman. Most of the songs are same on both sides, but that makes it easy to compare each version of them. If you were into this band in the ‘80’s, Both Sides Liveis a must-have. (Hooters Music 2009)

The Hooters MySpace page

  

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