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Running on Empty

4.5 out of 5 stars 185 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hit the road with Jackson Browne! Load Out ; the title track, and more!

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Recorded onstage, backstage, in three different hotel rooms, and on a Continental Silver Eagle tour bus during a cross-country 1977 tour, Running on Empty is a paean to life on the road. Jackson Browne's sense of camaraderie extended to the road crew, if "The Load Out," a love song to his roadies, is to be believed. Browne is much more blithe here than in his earlier outings. But Empty also represents a fleeting lighthearted moment for the singer-cum-poet whose concerns became more political than personal after its appearance. Beneath its flippant surface, this disc is a look at the lengths Browne and his friends went to avoid facing the demands of the touring life. What with the frequent drug references, misogynistic references to on-the-fly pairings with women, and the sobering line in the title track--"I look around for the friends I used to pull me through / Looking into their eyes, I see them running, too"--one realizes that Browne was much more comfortable on the road than off. --Jaan Uhelszki
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Original Release Date: 1977
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Elektra / Wea
  • ASIN: B000002GW5
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (185 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,276 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is a DVD AUDIO release so don't make the mistake of expecting to see video footage like an earlier reviewer did. DVD Audio is all about the sound - much higher resolution than CD plus a choice between stereo or 5.1 surround. If you've got a DVD-Audio player and you're a Jackson Browne fan, consider this purchase essential. The 5.1 surround mix is like hearing the album for the first time. Consider the still images a bonus but buy it for the music.
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Format: Audio CD
When this album came out in 1977 I was a roadie on tour with another artist. We heard this record when we came home on a short break a few weeks after it was released and I couldn't believe it...an album that commemorated life on the road. Although "Running on Empty" has been played to death it still holds up as a great rock anthem. The best song on the CD is definitely "Rosie" which captures the true essence of the roadie life (losing the girl to the drummer). The sleeper track is "The Road" a melancholy reflection on the horrible loneliness that is prevalent on the road. Finally the song "Cocaine" hits WAY to close to home for those of us that were seduced by its charms back then. Running on Empty is a must have CD for anyone that experienced the concert scene in the 70's (or wishes they could have). I give this CD 5 stars (attached with gaffer's tape)
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Format: Audio CD
Until Running on Empty, Jackson headlined in mid level arenas. For the Running on Empty Tour, with a tremendous assist from his opening act Karla Bonoff, Browne moved into the big sports arenas playing to 20000 a night. Running on Empty was his highlight from a financial standpoint.
An interesting concept at the time and some of the songs, like Running on Empty and the Load Out/Stay became big hits. Load Out/Stay is the mandatory end to a Jackson Browne concert, as it was when Bruce Springsteen and the E street band performed the song along with Jackson at the No Nukes concert in 1980.
You Love the Thunder, with Rosemary Butler as a tremendous backup voice, is a good song and Rosie, despite its unique subject matter, is a decent song that gets a lot of airtime still.
I could probably do without the song about big 18 wheelers but it fit the concept.
The album is only not great when compared to other Jackson Brown albums. Late for The Sky, Pretender and For Everyman are masterpieces and Running on Empty is a notch below that. I think the hard core Jackson Browne fan was glad when the Running on Empty frenzy died down and you could see Jackson in a concert hall, where he belongs.
Don McNay...
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Format: Audio CD
The reviewer who writes: "the music is great, but the DVD is nothing more than a collection of pictures..." fails to understand the concept of a DVD-Audio disc. Along with that "collection of pictures", there is a high resolution 192kHz 24-bit stereo track and a brand new 96kHz surround mix. Each of those alone is worth the price of admission.
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Format: Audio CD
I spent several hours comparing the sound of my original LP phonograph record of Running on Empty with the CD and two-channel DVD Audio disks included in this package. I wasn't able to sample the multichannel DVD Audio.

The music and tempo are identical on LP, CD, and DVD-A, but the sound is quite different. The LP and the CD sound very similar, and are apparently from the same original mixes for these tracks. However, the 192kHz 24-bit two-channel DVD Audio tracks are apparently a completely new mix, probably made just for this release. The differences are very interesting: the CD/LP mix at first sounds much clearer and brighter than the DVD-Audio, just the opposite of what I would expect. Also, in some portions the CD/LP contain reverb of Browne's voice missing on the DVD-Audio. By direct comparison, many DVD-A vocals at first sound muffled compared to the CD/LP mix.

However, a closer audition reveals that DVD-A often has more content than CD/LP. For example, a backup vocal barely audible on CD/LP is clear and distinct on DVD-A. And left-right channel separation is usually better on the DVD-A. (By the way, many DVD-A tracks also have much more leadin material).

I can only conclude that the originals were recorded with multitrack equipment and the DVD-A is taken from microphones that the original album obscures with material from other tracks. It sounds to me like the CD/LP uses microphones that recorded sound coming from stage speakers, and the DVD-A favors the musicians' microphones instead. Also the equalization is probably boosted on the CD/LP to compensate for typical record players of the 1970's, making the sound artificially brighter, but obliterating much detail.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Running on Empty rocked the music world almost 30 years ago, both literally and figuratively: a live album of all new material, recorded on stage, backstage, on a bus and in hotel rooms! Now, with enhanced 5.1 sound (it sounds great!), two previously unreleased songs, and hundreds of moving, candid photographs by Joel Bernstein, this classic record has been masterfully revitalized. R&R Hall of Famer, Jackson Browne, never sounded better, surrounded by some of rock's best musicians from that classic era. To me, Russ Kunkel's drums always sounded "bigger" than anyone else's at the time, and David Lindley's virtuosity on anything with strings was never more evident. This release is a gift to Jackson Browne's abiding fans, and to those who will be!
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