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4.7 out of 5 stars44
4.7 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 12 February 2012
Of all Jackson Browne`s thirteen studio albums, this is probably the most fun! In fact, it`s only part-studio, some tracks being taped `along the road` to quote the wonderful second track on ROE, the unequivocally titled The Road.
Opening this excellent 1977 record is the uptempo Running On Empty, as good as any song JB has ever written. He`s always had the ability to come up with a perfect marriage of melody and lyric, as on this irresistible song.
The Road is a a more ruminative song about - guess what? It`s one of his finest ballads, which is saying something.
Rosie is recorded live, a piano-led tale of a girl called, cunningly enough, Rosie. His singing on this one is full of character and that peculiar mix of melancholy and soulfulness that is JB`s trademark. Lovely.
You Love The Thunder is a truly great song, with a terrific slowed-down section in the chorus, and highly effective backing singing by Doug Hayward & Rosemary Butler -who happens to sound exactly like Joni.
Cocaine is the old folk song, performed well enough, with a slurred spoken coda I could`ve done without...
Shaky Town has another killer vocal from JB - he really did push the boat out vocally on this album - and some eloquent guitar breaks courtesy of either David Lindley or Danny Kortchmar, not sure which, probably the Kortch as he wrote it.
Love Needs A Heart is yet one more gorgeous Browne ballad. Enough said.
The last three tracks are live, beginning with Nothing But Time, followed by the superb The Load-Out - we`re evidently leaving this gig soon - seguing into the exhilarating, tongue-slightly-in-cheek, mostly Lindley-sung Stay, the old Maurice Williams song that was a hit for Doris Tory and my beloved Hollies back in the sixties.
And that`s it. You can`t help feeling you`ve been on some kind of road-trip with JB and his red-hot band after listening to this benchmark album from one of the finest, most durable of the many singer-songwriters who came to the fore in the 1970s.
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on 2 June 2003
Composed 6 years before I was born this album was one of the first good discoveries I made whilst ploughing thru my parents record collection as a kid. Jackson Browne is a great listen and any of his albums will keep you coming back for more but this one in particular is testiment to his raw musical talent. In fact one of the tracks uses a box to make the noise of a bass drum and is a wonderful example of musical improvisation from a group of people who love the industry. Collaboration between Browne and Frey (The Eagles) coupled with the great bass guitar talent of Leyland Sklar and Brownes own unique piano and vocal talents fuse to produce an astounding west coast american album which challenges at every turn and never ever fails to bring me back for more
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on 5 December 2002
I was loaned a copy of this album over 25 years ago, I then bought a vinyl version and more or less played it to death, in the meantime I got a tape version (having worn my copied tape out) for the car, I've recently bought a copy on CD.
If anyone ever thought that live albums don't work - well this certainly disproves that. "Love Needs a Heart" is in my opinion one of the best songs EVER, but there are no poor tracks on the album, it's not just live - it lives.
After the load in and "Stay" in particular never fail to get the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up - even when I attempt to sing it myself (usually in my head to protect others!).
Buy it - many times.
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I'm not particularly a Jackson Browne fan but I really like this album with its rough and ready production, part live album recorded on stage and also including tracks recorded in hotel rooms and on buses. It is less dark and intense than his previous two albums and everyone sounds as though they are really enjoying themselves. However, at the heart of many of the songs there is still the melancholy that had been the main emotion of the previous records but here that melancholy is obviously lifting and you get a real sense of a corner having been turned.

One of the things that makes it such a compelling record is the songs, it comprises all new material, albeit including a rewrite of Gary Davis's 'Cocaine' (complete with some great David Lindley blues violin) and an affectionate cover of the old Maurice Williams and Zodiacs 'Stay'. Browne also co-writes a number of the songs which brings a certain freshness and variety. For me the standout track is 'The load out' the beautiful melodic song in praise of roadies, which also has that rare thing a good synthesiser solo! But really there isn't a bad track on the whole record and there are many really good songs like guitarist Danny Kortchmar's 'Shaky town', 'Love needs a heart' co-written with Lowell George and Valerie Carter and the wonderful 'Rosie' co-written with Donald Miller. Great stuff!
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on 21 September 2001
Jackson Browne is the unofficial hero of rock!!!!!!
I can not find the right words to give this album the respect which it deserves, not only do i beleive that the first track is probably the best rock track i have ever heard, the other nine must come in as close runners up.
Not only is Mr Browne a tremendous lyricist his talents in the instrument department are second to none! The quality of the recording is almost perfection, the timing of the musicians is flawless and the music they play is unforgettable! The album which was originally sold on vinyl and has been digitally re mastered has not lost any quality of sound nor has the track listing aged, infact this album is timeless.
Such musical talent should be greatly applauded it is a pleasure to listen to a real set of musicians, i only wish i had been in the recording studio when they made this album to see the pure talent for myself, however that situation would never have been possible as the most unbelievable thing is this was a live recording!!!!!!! There was no studio, no takes, no retries.
This is one magical piece of 'rockmanship' which all musicians should have a listen to. I can only recomend you add this to your shopping basket now! PROCEED TO CHECKOUT!
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on 21 May 2014
Unfortunately I am old enough to have been around the first time these songs were released but I guess I wasn't old enough then to truly appreciate them.
Jackson Brown was undoubtedly one of the biggest talents of his time and a driving force in the emerging California music scene of that time. A music scene that brought us Linda Rondstat and the Eagles amongst many others. Listening again today it is easy to see why. He was an artist who crafted great songs, lyrically strong with at times beautiful melodies. And yes he could rock too.
This is a great album, full of great songs by one of the best singer songwriters of his day. For those who know Jackson Brown, this should be in your collection, for those who don't, treat yourselves.
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on 2 July 2001
With all of the songs on this album recorded live either in concert or in hotel rooms, you could be forgiven for thinking this album was a disaster in the making, however, from track one - the title song - Running On Empty - you know that you're in for a treat.
Recorded live in concert 'Running On Empty' is one of the most upbeat songs on the album yet th lyrics are describing how his life his changing and how the friends he used to turn to when he was down are down too. Track 2, 'The Road' is captivating and track 3 'Rosie' is humourous but incredible.
Track 4 - You love the thunder is similar to track one in tempo and track 5 the aptly named 'Cocaine' talks about his cocaine use and his view on women whilst under the infuence of it.
'Shaky Town' is indescribably good, whilst track 7 , 'Love Needs A Heart' is in my opinion the best song on the album.
Love Needs A Heart is an emotive song that seems true to everyone at sometime or another. It talks of how he needs to find out whether he will ever find his true love. He asks "Where is the heart that's looking for mine" and also he says that "Love needs a heart trusting and blind/ I wish that heart was mine"
Track 8 'Nothing But Time' is catchy whilst the dual tracks of 9/10 'The Load Out/Stay' have to be heard to believed.
Words actually cannot describe this album and would be worth £200.
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on 7 April 2001
I listen to this album all the time, as I grew up with my parents always listening to it. This, to me being only 19, it music at it best. It may have been recorded almost 25 years ago but it a real feel good album. Jackson Brown has the most sexy voice I have ever heard. Songs like "Cocaine" which was recorded in a hotel room, and "The Road" excellent examples of his talent, not only as a singer, but as a pianist. And "The Load-Out", features on my best top ten tune ever, a true classic. If you like kind of 1970's bluesy rock music, buy this, its definatley worth the money.
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Jackson Browne's epic `live across America' album from 1977 was resurrected in this set in 2005 and it glows. IT contains the original mixing of the 10-song CD and a DVD with two extra songs, "Cocaine Again" and "Edwardsville Room 124". The reproduction in surround sound is impeccable and you can hear every instrument and vocal perfectly - even the audience shout outs!

The music is even more vibrant in surround and seems to place you directly there in the concert arena or studio. "Cocaine Again" is a plucky little studio song that's nice, but doesn't add much to the set, however, "Edwardsville Room 124" is a pleasant mellow rock song instrumental that rounds out the collection very nicely (drums very predominant in rear speakers).

Extras? Each song has its own concert photo on the television set, there is also an extensive photo album showing what it was like to travel in a tour bus and stay at Holiday Inn's. The "Running On Empty" Video montage is brilliant with the bands photos with the song track running and the "Tour Photo Album" Video Montage pays homage to the entire bands members with instrumentals mixed form various songs. Oh, yes, the lyrics are all provided and there is a computer Web Link, as well.

The fold-out contains a small booklet with fine liner notes by Anthony DeCurtis (music critic) and Cameron Crowe (director). This set is a classic and a keeper!
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on 6 April 2001
Why has nobody reviewed this album? A few years ago, a friend leant me three Jackson Browne CD's. This was the only one I liked. I still love it today. It is about as close to 'country music' as I am willing to hear, but is carried through by the quality of its songs. Opener "Running on Empty'is musically as upbeat as this record gets. Was it the inspiration to the film of the same name? After that we have the "The Road", a ballad that makes me want to cry, and drink, and cry and drink....If you thought life on the road was fun, listen to this album.
The songs deal with all aspects and viewpoints of lifeon the road, from the soundmen, to the truck drivers, to the roadies, to the groupies. This is actually better than it may sound as you get drawn into their world with Browne's storytelling and simple country tinged folk-rock arrangements.I still cannot decide whether 'Cocaine' is a joke or horribly honest, either way it is creited to 'Rev. Gary Davis'!!
I may well investigate other Jackson Browne CD's, as long as someone can assure me that they are as wonderful as this.
But beware, this CD requires a melancholy mood. But don't many of the best?
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