Asylum Records, 1973
REVIEW BY: Tommy Johnson
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 06/07/2002
I like this.
Being the huge Eagles fan that I am, I had to check out Jackson Browne - the man who co-wrote "Take It Easy" off the Eagles' first album. I figured that a good place to start would be the Jackson Browne album where he performs that song… The opener on For Everyman is, in fact, "Take It Easy".
I've always loved the Eagles' version, but I must admit that this one is almost as good. It is quite similar to their version, although some of the acoustic guitars have been replaced with the instrument that we are so fond of in the 21th century - the electric guitar. The drums are pretty upbeat, and Browne's voice sounds very good in the up-front vocal mix. Overall, the album is very well mixed and produced. Not too polished, and not too dirty.
There are many beautiful ballads on this disc; "I Thought I Was A Child" is excellent, so is "These Days". It all reminds me quite a bit of the great James Taylor but a bit edgier. The Eagles' early material also comes in mind, but still it has such an originality to it that you just can't compare it with anything.
You actually find two Eagles on this release: Don Henley and Glenn Frey, both on harmony vocals. And those harmonies ain't bad! There's other talented musicians on this CD; Joni Mitchell, Leeland Sklar, David Crosby and a very young David Paich on the piano. Paich would form the band Toto five years later.
The album is dominated by ballads. As long as the ballads are as nice as these are; I don't mind. But it also has a couple of up-tempo material on it. "Red Neck Friend" is not only funny, it's also a great song. The verse is amazing, the chorus is great too (all though the 'rockabilly bar piano' gets on my nerves), but the thing that makes this tune a favourite is Browne's top-notch vocals.
This is my first Jackson Browne album, but is it the last? Oh no, it's the first. It's sincere and personal; good ol' folk-country rock at its best, and it goes straight into your heart. You could say that it is a piece of the 70's America captured on a disc. Browne wasn't born American though, he was actually born in Heidelberg, Germany. I'm still left with one question:
How in the world can I "take it easy" when we're in the middle of the World Cup?