CD: Jackson Browne, The Very Best of Jackson Browne

(Elektra/Rhino)

These two veteran American singer-songwriters [Jackson Browne and John Mellencamp] were recently united on the "vote for change" tour in the US, but otherwise they're about as dissimilar as the places they call home - California (and Spain, some of the time) for Browne; rural Indiana for Mellencamp. Mellencamp has had more hits - Pink Houses, Jack and Diane, Hurts So Good - but in retrospect it's amazing that Browne didn't have more.

Over the years, both have become preoccupied with broader themes. Mellencamp has developed his own version of rootsy Americana and explored the way politics and the economy affect small-town lives, while Browne has organised anti-nuclear rallies and used his technically polished music to take caustic swipes at American foreign policy. As these contrasting collections demonstrate, they both have serious staying power.

Contributor

Adam Sweeting

The GuardianTramp

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