With all of the excellent Jackson Browne albums, it's surprising we haven't seen more reworks and remasters than we have. After his song-writing work for other bands, most notably The Eagles ("Take It Easy"), it was gratifying to hear his own voice singing "Doctor My Eyes." By 1974, his very personal Late For The Sky was released. By 1976, he released the platinum ranking The Pretender to great success. In support of the album, he worked a massive tour. During this tour, he recorded Running on Empty, itself charting highly upon release. Anyone who paid attention to music in the '70s will remember the playability of the single, "Running on Empty."
Unfortunately, Browne's work since 1977's Running on Empty never held the allure that his earlier catalogue did, a shame since his lyrical output was extraordinary.
Running on Empty, an album composed of a series of tunes created in various locations on the Prentender tour, yielded two Top 40 hits including "Running on Empty," and "Stay," both charting as high as number 5 on the chart.
Rhino's revisitation of Running on Empty carries with it some unearthed pieces as well as a DVD-Audio 5.1 mix of his classic "road" album. This album is re-released in the Double Disc style carrying a standard CD as well as an additional hi-rez disc included. Both discs are slipped into a tri-fold digipak with the centre holding the reworked booklet containing several essays, lots of photos, and detailed song/production/disc credits. This makes this new reissue a definitive set to replace your single CD in your library.
The standard CD is a remastered gem. To grasp the quality of the remastered CD, start with the album's "Cocaine." The instruments, the vocals, and the chatter is clear. If you're just looking for a rework of the album, this CD will please you. But bonuses being what they are, you'll be highly impressed by the 5.1 mix of the album. Also, there is an instrumental bonus track in "Edwardsville Room 124," and a bonus track of "Cocaine" called "Cocaine Again," with alternate lyrics found on the DVD-Audio disc (only). You won't be bowled over by the bonus songs but, where collectors of definitives are concerned, inclusions of such tracks show the thought and process of the creation of any album sessions that they spring from. They are a fantastic addition to any definitive editions and belong, no matter how bad.
The DVD-Audio disc is the class act here. The mix is deeper and more clarifying, however the instruments appear to be louder than its CD counterpart. The surround is satisfying in an ambient sort of way. I much preferred the Stereo DVD-Audio mix over the surround version but there are those of you who swear by the surrounds for all of the released DVD-Audios, certainly a sale point for many. Regardless of your selected preference, we've waited a long, long time for this DVD-Audio mix and we were not disappointed. You won't be either.
On the DVD-Audio disc, you'll also get a photo gallery, accessible from the individual songs screens as well as the lyrics. You also get a film, Running On Empty Montage and a filmed Tour Photo Album, both accompanied by music. There is a weblink for PC listeners and on screen credits.
Now, can we get Jackson Browne (Saturate Before Using), Late For The Sky (the one I'm anxious for); and The Pretender?