Friday, August 2, 2013

Jackson Browne - Lawyers In Love

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Lawyers In Love, the seventh album from Jackson Browne. Released in August of 1983, this Platinum selling album went to number 37 in the UK and number 8 on the US Billboard Hot 200.

Performing with Browne on the album were Craig Doerge (synthesizer, piano and keyboard), Bob Glaub (organ, bass and guitar), Doug Haywood (organ, bass and vocals), Danny Kortchmar (guitar and percussion), Russ Kunkel (drums), Billy Payne (organ) and Rick Vito (guitar and vocals).

Side one opens with the title track. “Lawyers In Love”, the first single, went to number 28 in Australia, number 24 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, number 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 4 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. I have always liked the juxtaposition of 50’s musical elements (the sha-la-la backup chorus and the high falsetto notes) with the church organ reverence and the very relevant 80’s Cold War lyrics. Together they made for a very memorable track for me that I gladly welcomed every time it came on the radio back in the day.

“On the Day”, a song about someone keeps up emotional walls, was chosen as the B-side to the second single. I like how the heavier guitar opening on this one sets up a very cautious, protective mood.

While not an actual single, the mid-tempo “Cut It Away” was popular on the US Mainstream Rock chart; it peaked at number 37. The lyrics make you wonder which is more painful: the one who disappointed you or the thing about them that makes you love them even despite that. Again, we get another interesting opening - this time it is with the blend of the synthesizer and the guitars.

“Downtown”, the B-side to the third single, is next. It takes a look at an urban setting from a rather detached standpoint. The rhythm to this one does pulsate nicely though. At one point, he even pays tribute to Petula Clark’s 1964 hit song of the same name by doing a few stanzas in that classic melody.

Side two begins with swaying “Tender Is the Night”, a longing look at the world of those in love. As the second single, it went to number 24 on the US Adult Contemporary chart, number 25 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 18 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

For me, the mid-tempo “Knock on Any Door” is about moving on and wallowing in sadness or self-pity. It reminds us of the importance of just getting out there and starting over again, as painful as that can be.

The B-side to the first single was “Say It Isn’t True”, an somber anti-nuclear anthem.

“For a Rocker”, the final track on the album and the final single, went to number 45 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 8 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. The song was written as a tribute to James Honeyman-Scott, the guitarist for the Pretenders, who died of heart failure in June of 1982 at the age of 25. But rather than be a melancholy memoir, it is instead a raucous celebration of a man who made great music. It really ends the album on an up-beat note.

Now, I would be totally remiss if I did not comment on that album cover. How cool is the image of a guy in a suit (most likely a lawyer) paddling his car along in a city submerged by a great flood, all with the backdrop of a full moon rising? This is something I miss from the old days of vinyl - cool, creative covers presented on a large, cardstock squares. It’s one of those that would look very cool framed on a wall.

1 comment:

HERC said...

Took a pass on the single "Lawyers In Love" but when I heard "Tender Is The Night" for the first time at a friend's house, the album became a must buy.

Over the years, it has grown on me considerably; even the title track.

"For A Rocker" is an upbeat eulogy like you pointed out and I've actaually attended one funreral service where it was among a group of songs played. Another one was Warren Zevon's "Keep Me In Your Heart" which gets me every time.