Love Is Strange–Jackson Browne David Lindley En Vino Con Tino

(Inside/Shock)

4 Stars

This double CD was a gift/handover from Gary Steel, who found it to be not quite up his street (see my blog post here). Fortunately, the poor unloved album has found a home, because it’s gone straight into my collection and will not be handed over to someone else. No way.

Considering that Jackson Browne’s two recent solo acoustic CDs are in regular, almost urgent rotation through my system, it’s no surprise that I like this album, which is much in the same vein. This is Browne, acoustic, introspective and sensitive, but not solo. The discs were recorded on a tour of Spain with semi-legendary string-man David Lindley, and feature Spanish percussionist Tino di Geraldo and a number of other Spanish performers.

The albums showcase many of Browne’s best known songs including ‘These Days’, ‘Take It Easy’, ‘Running On Empty’ and ‘For Everyman’. It’s a real pleasure to hear these familiar songs played somewhat differently without being rendered utterly alien. Throw in some Spanish language tracks and guest vocalists and the CDs end up being varied enough to prevent attention lagging for those who aren’t died-in-the-wool fans. There’s some fabulous musicianship across the discs on instruments that are outside of the norm, which adds to the enjoyment. The performers are living the dream, taking a busman’s holiday through Spain with friends – they’re having a lot of fun here and it shows.

Some may find Browne’s chatter between tracks annoying, but that’s the way his live CDs are, he interacts with the audience and for one, I don’t mind it at all. All the intros are recorded as separate tracks, so you can skip them or program just the songs if you prefer.

As an aside, I’m all for ecologically sound, plastic free CD packages but I’m not in favour of designs that scatter the discs onto the floor every time you open the sleeve. Must try harder.

I enjoyed this album a lot on the first listen and it’s only grown on subsequent immersions. If you like the Solo Acoustic discs, then you’ll probably love this. If you’re merely something of a fan, you’ll like it anyway. If you’re Gary Steel, well you should just keep handing over the stuff you don’t like. ASHLEY KRAMER

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