CD: Jackson Browne: The Naked Ride Home


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On his first album of new material since 1996's Looking East, Jackson Browne strikes a convincing balance between the melancholy melodicism of his early work and the sometimes overwrought finger-pointing style that has emerged more recently.

So, while Casino Nation takes aim at George Bush's stetson and Walking Town highlights the gulf between rich and poor, the title track finds Browne driving his car while the woman in the passenger seat takes her clothes off, and Sergio Leone is a brooding homage to the great Italian director.

Most impressive of all is the sustained excellence of the arrangements and musicianship, the songs often serving as springboards for extended instrumental interplay. For instance, Don't You Want to Be There stretches out into a limpid, impressionistic coda coloured by Fernando Pullum's hazy trumpet, and About My Imagination builds to a pumped-up climax of gospel voices and seething guitar.


Adam Sweeting

The GuardianTramp

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