Jackson Browne pulled off a pretty good trick in 1977. He released a live album comprised of songs that had never appeared on any of his studio releases. Not only that, but it wound up going multi-platinum and being nominated for a couple of Grammy awards. Running On Empty isn’t a typical live album in one other way…some of the songs are recorded in hotel rooms, one song was actually recorded on a bus while it was rolling down the highway, and one song segues from a hotel room to a concert stage in the middle of the song. Browne assembled an impressive band made up of session players who were some of the best in the business to join him on this unorthodox project, clearly hitting on a winning strategy. Among my favorites on Running On Empty are the amazing title track, Cocaine (not the John Cale/Eric Clapton hit), The Road, You Love The Thunder, Rosie, and The Load Out. I must confess I haven’t listened to a lot of his other work, just a song here and there, but Running On Empty always felt right to me as a great chronicle of life on the road in the ’70’s.
Written By Braddon S. Williams