In 1976, the year of The Pretender, Jackson Browne’s wife committed suicide and, not surprisingly, he took a break from working. This is a recording of his comeback gig, performing for a radio audience at one of the Public Broadcasting Service’s Soundstage series. Browne took the opportunity, a week before his new album’s release, to debut two tracks from The Pretender – the title track and The Fuse. Four more songs came from Late For The Sky, including the title song and Fountain Of Sorrow, along with I Thought I Was a Child (For Everyman) and Rock Me On The Water (Jackson Browne).
The disc is boosted with a pair of bonus tracks from a Saturday Night Live appearance – a preview of Running On Empty and The Pretender (treated differently from the earlier version), introduced by up-and-coming banjoist Steve Martin.
Browne is in fine form, his voice clear, strong and free of the metallic overtones it has developed since. The recording quality is good, with just a few sonic twinges – but the excellent band is not credited in the notes. Expert opinion suggests: David Lindley, guitars, violin; John Mauceri, drums; Bryan Garofolo, bass; Mark Jordan, piano, guitar; David Mason, organ; David Landau, guitars.