Customer Reviews

229
4.6 out of 5 stars
The Very Best of Jackson Browne
Format: Audio CDChange
Price:$11.81 + Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

326 of 353 people found the following review helpful
on October 28, 2004
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Jackson Browne has delivered some of the finest music in history. Granted, his career has had considerable ups & downs, but he's managed to put out masterpiece records in different eras of his career. His winning intimacy and ability to really captivate & stir emotions from within a listener is unsurpassable.

As for this 2004 two CD compilation on Rhino... Wow, this really is a fascinating & somewhat bewildering compilation of Jackson Browne's music. The reason for this goes way beyond the mere track listing. All concerned should be aware that many of the songs here are featured in versions that are very noticeably different from the ones on the CDs of his individual albums. This begins with the very first song on the set, "Doctor My Eyes", which sounds like the somewhat "updated" version that appeared on the "My Girl 2" soundtrack and was also used on the previous compilation "The Next Voice You Hear". Some songs are mildly different, such as "Running on Empty" where some of the reverb has been removed, and "I'm Alive" sounds just like the album version except that the speed has been slowed down very noticeably. However, "Late For The Sky" and especially "For A Dancer" sound VERY different than they do on the "Late For The Sky" CD--each of them are given an extra dose of glossy reverb that doesn't suit the songs and takes away from their impact. The former, which again is also the version that was used on "The Next Voice You Hear", has Jackson having sometime in the '90s redone bits of his original vocal as if he's grown unhappy with his performance over the years, although most of the original vocal is left intact! "For A Dancer", on the other hand, sounds HUGELY different, with additional instrumentation going on at the beginning of the song that, along with the excess reverb, robs a great deal of the intimacy, plus the powerful build up of the original version is utterly lost. I don't know where these versions came from or how they ended up being used on here--it seems to clearly be a case of revisionism on Jackson's part. He's credited here as the compilation producer, so there's very little doubt that the inclusion of these "new" versions was intentional. There's no denying he's an obsessive perfectionist, and it's served him extremely well on his best songs/ albums, but on here it's gotten to the point where he can't seem to accept his own brilliance and can't help but tinker with the originals. This very fact makes this a fascinating collection for any diehard fan, but this set, as the title indicates, is supposed to represent Jackson's "very best", and this is utterly the wrong place to be including inferior versions of classics--that kind of thing should be left for an outtakes/ rarities collection.

Don't be fooled by the track listing thinking this set is all redundant. If you're allured by the phrase "original recording remastered", thinking you'll be hearing all the original songs sparklingly remastered, you're in for some big surprises. Even "Boulevard" doesn't sound as good on here as it does on the "Hold Out" CD, despite the fact that the brief "wrinkled tape" sound has been eliminated almost without a trace. On the positive side, his big soundtrack hit "Somebody's Baby" does sound awesome on here--the version from the "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" soundtrack CD sounds a tad washed out, whereas here, it positively jumps out at you.

This collection though just doesn't represent Jackson particularly well at all. The profound, tireless, at times desperate "trying to find meaning in life" side of Jackson that is an essential element to his enormous appeal is pitifully underrepresented on here. Any collection claiming to be Jackson's "very best" needs more songs of the caliber of the heartbreakingly beautiful "Sky Blue And Black" (which IS included). An enormous number of deeply brilliant songs from throughout his career--"Farther On", "The Fuse", "Of Missing Persons", "Call It A Loan", "Cut It Away", "My Problem Is You", "Two of Me, Two of You"--as well as "feel good" gems like "Everywhere I Go" and "I'm the Cat", and the moving political song "How Long", along with many, many others are left off in favor of drastically inferior songs such as the excessive (and uncharacteristic) rocker "Red Neck Friend", the satire-laden "Lawyers In Love", the frustratingly arena-rock-ish "Lawless Avenues", and the very slight "I Am A Patriot" which he didn't even write (Little Steven did). Plus, Jackson's version of "Take It Easy" (which he co-wrote with Glenn Frey) is clearly inferior to the Eagles version which had already become a hit before Jackson's version was recorded.

If you truly feel satisfied with this collection & feel it's all the Jackson you need, that's a real shame indeed, because it means his genius is very much evading you--this collection fails to really drive home what makes Jackson such a special artist. The thing that's really ironic is that, even if you're one of the unfortunate souls who doesn't really care about Jackson's genius and merely wants all of his radio hits (many of which are admittedly great) in one place, this set doesn't even succeed on that level, leaving off a whole bunch of them including "That Girl Could Sing", "For A Rocker", "For America", "World In Motion", "Anything Can Happen", "Chasing You Into the Light", and the aforementioned "Cut It Away".

All that said, who the heck in the right mind is going to be truly satisfied with this collection? I'm not saying I expected every great song he's ever done to be included--certainly I do realize that it would take more than 2 CDs to accomplish this task. HOWEVER, for a collection with this many songs (32, to be exact), it manages to painfully downplay his brilliance--the very haphazard track listing, plus the inclusion of tainted versions of classic songs make this far from an ideal introduction to his work for casual fans/ new listeners. Furthermore, Jackson Browne's best albums are conceived and sequenced with great care--in other words, he's an album artist, a fact that's even pointed in the Dave Marsh-penned liner notes.

So, where should you start with Jackson? Well, I'll provide this very simple, rough guide. If your taste leans more toward the easy-going country-flavored sound of early Eagles or Crosby, Stills & Nash, definitely "Late for the Sky" is the album to start with. If you're looking for something more electric, more bracing, and harder-rocking, try starting with "Hold Out" (represented here by only one song). If you have an ear that likes a "modern" '90s sheen (a younger listener perhaps), start with "I'm Alive". If you're like myself and are open to music that's of high quality regardless of time period or style, start with any of the three. Ultimately, any serious listener needs them all--each of these three records are considerably different from each other, but are masterpieces nonetheless, showing how Jackson has maintained all of his musical genius over the years. The standard CD issues of these albums on Elektra/ Asylum have overall excellent sound quality as well.

Jackson Browne is an artist you need to know, and this collection ends up being primarily useful for Jackson Browne scholars. As a listening experience, it undercuts his genius despite many excellent songs. All in all, this collection falls short of living up to its name.

(P.S. The version of this album I received actually did come in a jewel case, not the cardboard packaging others have complained about.)
1111 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
63 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on March 24, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Finally. A well-rounded collection of Jackson Browne's hits and classics. But the day came that I went out to buy it I noticed the track listing was different from the one I had seen online.
Upon researching this further I noticed that although they both had 32 tracks, there were 2 DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THIS CD. The track listing is slightly shuffled but while one version features THAT GIRL COULD SING, the other version neglects this rare and catchy gem for LAWYERS IN LOVE.
I'm glad I took a good look at it before just running up to the register. Different stores seem to offer one version but none seem to carry both so be attentive if you're picky about your favorites like I am.
33 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 2004
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Those who were disgusted by the single-disc "Next Voice You Hear" will be pleasantly surprised by this collection. Present here, but left off of "Next Voice" are such key tracks as "Here Come Those Tears Again," "Lawyers In Love," and "Boulevard." Amazon's track listing has one error: "That Girl Could Sing" is NOT on this collection but "Lawyers In Love" IS. And that's my only complaint, that the "Hold Out" album is represented by only 1 track. But if your a casual fan like me, this collection is almost perfect. There are no glaring omissions as with some collections. This one pretty well covers the subject. 1 star is taken off for the goofy packaging.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Jackson Browne is one of the those artists that even a 2-disc "greatest Hits" package can't cover all of his hits. When this happens, one knows that they have truly been touched by something rare in the music industry.....someone who has much to say, and can covey those feelings so eloquently in song.
Jackson's songs "Somebody's Baby", allow one to get an inner look into the lives of youth, and the lyrics are very deep. His two best songs from his last album are included here. However, the two biggest songs that were not on this collection that truly saddened me, were "Enough of the Night"....maybe not a "commercial " hit, but it still was a very poignant song. Yet, the georgiously produced ballad "Anthing Can Happen", that is features a haugntingly beautiful vocal, and some of Browne's best lyrics from his "World in Motion" album, is absent. Truly, one of my all-time favorite Jackson Browne tunes, and a classic in my opinion.
If your a young musician(I'm 25) and looking for something that has substance, and are unfamilar with this man's work, I highly recommend you start here to get a great overview of his work. However, please be warned this man is so good all of his albums are "Greatest Hits".
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
And it's too slanted towards Browne's later work. Save the $$$ on the compilation and just get his CDs. They're all worth it and the album cuts you are missing could be your favorite songs. I especially miss "That Girl could Sing."
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2004
Format: Audio CD
The early period Jackson Browne is well represented but where is "That Girl Could Sing". "For a Rocker", "World In Motion" and "The Rebel Jesus"? Rhino could've done a much better job mining the post "Runnin' On Empty" period in my opinion
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Along with the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Brown personified a unique group of singer-songwriters who were introspective, poetic, and soulful but never strayed too far away from their common ground: laid back "California" rock anthems that to many, personified the 1970s and early 1980s.
Fans had to wait until 1997 for Jackson Browne to release his single-disc first hits collection, but although it may have served as a great initiation to those who were not familiar with him; however it did not cut it for long-time fans who may not have had the money to purchase his individual releases, especially those recently remastered.

Now that Jackson Browne has deservingly been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, we are finally treated to a much more comprehensive career-spanning overview via the "Very Best of Jackson Browne," a double-disc collection that is head and shoulders above the one disc version released in 1997.
So is this collection perfect? In my view, the bigger question should be, are any "greatest hits"/"best of" collections really adequate for true fans? With the exception of some box sets, the answer is generally an absolute no; however even with the major omission of "That Girl Could Sing" (or apparently "Lawyers In Love" as per other reviewers) and the truly shoddy digipack that falls apart, I think that Jackson Browne did a very good job of compiling a career retrospective that did not ignore his recent work. Accordingly, I give this 5 stars.
Now that I have the rating out of the way, are there things that I would change? ABSOLUTELY. The collection not only ignores "That Girl Could Sing," but way too many other gems from the underrepresented (only 1 song) "Hold Out," including "Call It A Loan" and the title cut. I also missed having "For A Rocker" and "World In Motion" from "Lawyers In Love," and would have gladly given up SOME (not all) of the songs from his most recent releases, but again this is a career to date retrospective so I can't fault Jackson Browne for not excluding his most recent work as he is still an active participant in the industry.
As is the case with most of these collections, I "corrected" the collection to reflect my tastes so I took out some of the more recent songs and dragged out "Hold Out" and "Lawyers In Love" and now I have my own collection. It should be noted that I would not change a thing on the 1st CD as I think that it's perfect.
If you are a fan, enjoy this collection with the knowledge that the packaging is awful and that the liner notes are not anywhere as good as they should have been. Although the writer is very respected in the music industry, we don't get the behind the songs treat that gave the Eagles' recent compilation an additional dimension. But ultimately no matter how great the inserts could have been, it's all about the music and this release gets that right.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2005
Format: Audio CD
THIS is is the Jackson Browne complilation to get! Forget about "The Next Voice You Hear- The Best Of Jackson Browne", this one is 100% better and is the most complete complilation of JB you can get, to date! All of his great songs are here and some special gems, as well! The sound is wonderful and it's just perfect, really. My only complaint would be that the packaging is TOO flimsy, they really should have just used a standard jewel case, just be careful when you open it, the discs could easliy fall out. I highly recommend this to any Jackson Browne fan, or fan of 70's-80's rock!
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 25, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This CD is an excellent retrospective of Jackson Browne's career. Jackson Browne has always been one of my favorite singers and songwriters. There is so much sincerity and passion in his voice. This CD features most of his hits. I would liked to have seen his lively duet with Clarence Cleamons Your Friend of Mine on here and also the song Call It A Loan, but I was pleased with what I heard.
I love Jackson Browne's song The Pretender. The lyrics about struggling to make a living while trying to find someone to love you are as moving today as they were 30 years ago when the song came out. Doctor My Eyes and Running on Empty are just classic songs that I will never get tired of listening to. I love the romantic quality of the song Tender is the Night and Somebodys Baby. I was glad to hear Lawyers In Love on here. It is a great song about the restless political climate in the US in the early 80's.
Jackson Browne has never been afraid to address social issues in his music like in the song In the Shape of A Heart which is about domestic abuse. In America is a very thoughtful song that reminds us for that the price for our freedom comes at someone's else expense. The Very Best Of Jackson Browne is an absolute pleasure to listen to.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
What seems like a super collection of remastered Browne gems ends up as a super sounding collection of different than the actual album version Browne gems. Even the slightest fan of the actual albums will notice the difference in the versions on this compilation. Some of the tracks on this 2 x CD are either new versions or alternative versions that were done at the same time of the original recordings. I didn't notice this on every song, but several are different than the album versions. It is a similar feeling to those John Denver fans that had John Denver's Greatest Hits on 8 track and knew each song by heart and recently purchased a new 2 x CD Denver greats compilation and found that the songs were not the same versions you knew and loved! This is still a great compilation and it sounds incredible, but I would have liked to have a "pure" compilation culled from the actual albums...and where are "The times you've come" from For Everyman and "Black and White" from "lives in the balance?"
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this also viewed
Running on Empty
Running on Empty by Jackson Browne (Audio CD - 1990)

Standing In The Breach
Standing In The Breach by Jackson Browne (Audio CD - 2014)

Pretender
Pretender by Jackson Browne (Audio CD - 1990)
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.