Anticipating this past Sunday’s concert, The Charleston City Paper‘s T. Ballard Lesemann wrote last week in defense of Jackson Browne‘s hits from Hold Out, “Boulevard” and “That Girl Could Sing”, as well as “Somebody’s Baby” from the Fast Times at Ridgemont High soundtrack. Streaming audio of all three songs are included.
There were two songs from Hold Out that grabbed my ears: “Boulevard” and “That Girl Could Sing.” Driven by distorted guitar and Warren Zevon-esque piano, both sounded much more modern than the mellower ’70s stuff. Critics were lukewarm about Hold Out, but it remains this fan’s favorite album. The chunky opening guitar riff that kicks off “Boulevard” rocked as hard as anything in the Top 40 in 1980. Browne sounded raspier and more exasperated than usual, like when he strained to hit the high notes in the line, “Everybody walks right by like they’re safe or something!”
The follow-up hit from Hold Out was the moody “That Girl Could Sing.” Written as a sorrowful love song, Browne’s lyrics were syrupy, and the electric piano harkened back a bit to his “soft rock” beginnings. But guitarist David Lindley’s distorted Rickenbacker lap steel sounded anything but sweet, and his expressive solo pushed the song over the top. I still turn up the volume when I catch it on rock radio.
There’s a bit of backhanded complimenting going on (and kind of disappointing that Hold Out is the only Jackson Browne album Lesemann owns), but there’s still some good comments.