Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Rock Me on the Water" is a great song. I can testify to this as I've been listening to it nonstop for about two hours. The lyrics have a sly gospel theme, and there's a primitivist, southern-style church in my novel, shepherded by probably my favorite character. If Elder Lucy Smith had been alive in 1972, she would have been rocking to Jackson Browne.

I gifted the song to a friend of mine a few minutes ago. Browne's lyrics, at least on his debut record, Jackson Browne, weren't particularly poetic in terms of fresh or vivid imagery or language, but they sounded great, Browne's wonderful ear made the most of his diction, and they absorbed more meaning than they earned through their juxtaposition with his rich melodies and understated voice and range. Sort of a crooning Rick Bass, if you want.

I listened to The Pretender and Running on Empty a lot in the 90's. These are both among the most important records of the singer-songwriter turn of the late 70's. Of course my copies of those CDs disappeared into the same great, disc-filled void as over half my collection (we used to always blame this one guy we knew, a chronic music borrower, but he was an Axl Rose devotee who wouldn't have been caught dead with Jackson Browne). Now, through the magic of "the internets," I'll buy those records again, and call them records, and talk about the "tunes."