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Browne, Jackson: Going Home (DVD)
Jackson Browne – Going Home , an Eagle Rock Entertainment DVD re-issue of an earlier VHS version from 1994, offers an intimate and entertaining peek at a unique career spanning some four decades.
A "mash-up" of classic and recent concert performance with insightful interviews and candid footage, Going Home is fundamental for fans of Browne, the creative process, or any other singer/songwriters who draw inspiration from matters of the heart, soul—or politics.
Highlights include a seamlessly edited montage of "Doctor My Eyes" culled from no less than six live performances; the equally memorable "Take It Easy" performed off the cuff by Browne and instrumental phenom David Lindley in what appears to be a dressing room; a dramatic rendering of the underrated "Lives In The Balance" with Lindley and
David Crosby/Graham Nash; and finally, classic downtown LA studio footage of Browne and his band hashing out an early version of "Knock On Any Door," which would appear on his 1983 tour de force yers In Love.
Of minor annoyance: the audio is not very well EQ'd, meaning the dialogue level is so low, the volume needs to be cranked to make it out. Cut to concert footage, and you've either woken up the baby, or at the very least, had to scramble for the remote.
Of major issue: way too much air time is spent on an obscure album cut called "Too Many Angels" (it was from his new album at the time, but time has rendered the song inconsequential), while "Lawyers In Love," "Tender Is the Night," "Boulevard," "That Girl Could Sing," "Hold On/Hold Out," and other 80's gems get The Big Fat Diss.
Speaking of Browne's 80's period, it's great to hear the poignant "In The Shape Of A Heart" (written for his late wife who committed suicide), and the aforementioned "Lives In The Balance," from the 1986 flawed masterpiece of the same name. However, his current band (at the time) appears too-light of hand to cut the rock elements (or,
Browne just didn't care to recreate them). The live performance of "Heart" eschews the distorted guitar line and bashing drums in the chorus to decidedly wimpy results (another 80's track, "World In Motion," is given the same tepid rearrangement). That said, the band is in fine form and does a bang-up job on the lighter, more acoustic 70's and 90's material.
In stark contrast, some of the old concert footage emphasize and enhance the rock (notably, a clip of Waddy Wachtel ripping it up with a guitar solo on "All Along The Watchtower," of all things).
Arguably one of Browne's finest moments, the quirky, diverse, and politically scathing es In The Balance become decidedly cult—dismissed as Browne's "political album," by many fans—most without any venerability whatsoever. It's a shame, because regardless of your politics, it's just an odd song or two shy of the heights scaled on his previous and possibly finest work, 1983's Lawyers In Love (I'm ready to take the heat for this, as crtics and most fans believe he peaked with 1977's Running On Empty--I contend that he improved as an artist and arranger starting with the knockout 1980 #1 charting hit "Hold Out").
It's worth noting that Browne's voice—and appearance, for that matter—appear virtually unchanged in 30 years. Admittedly limited in range, his vocal texture and phrasing has always more than made up for that, and is as it was—superb. And damned if he still doesn't (circa 1994) release strong material, as "I'm Alive", and "Looking East"
are well worth checking out). Going Home is recommended.
1. I'm Alive
2. Farther On
3. Doctor My Eyes
4. These Days
5. Birds of St. Marks
6. Your Bright Baby Blues
7. Take It Easy
8. In the Shape of a Heart
9. Everywhere I Go
10. World in Motion
11. You Can Get It If You Really Want It
12. Good Morning Little Mutant
13. All Along the Watchtower
14. The Pretender
15. For Everyman
16. Lives in the Balance
17. Knock on Any Door
18. My Problem is You
19. Too Many Angels
20. Sleep's Dark and Silent Gate
21. Sky Blue and Black
22. Before the Deluge
23. Running on Empty / Credits
Added: October 21st 2010
Reviewer: Steve Fleck
Related Link: Eagle Vision
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