The Eagles / Jackson Browne
Houston 1976 & BBC In Concert 1978 (Mid Valley Sampler)
Mid Valley’s actions have been strange. When they’re not producing great Eric Clapton titles or repacking their Led Zeppelin catalogue in vastly inferior packaging on Empress Valley, they are pumping out budget releases.
They all utilize the old TMoQ artwork and, except for an insert, have no mention of the band or title’s name. It can be interpreted as a throwback to the old days of vinyl when oftentimes the sleeves and labels were blank with only an insert in the wrapping indicating the contents, but it is very annoying giving the current level of technology.
The Eagles / Jackson Browne Houston 1976 & BBC In Concert 1978 goes against the grain of the others for several reasons. Unlike earlier samplers, it is not sourced from Wolfgang’s Vault but from two video soundtracks.
It also brings together two artists and two concerts which have no relation to one another. It is true Jackson Browne supported The Eagles on tour in 1976 and he is the co-authored some songs including “Take It Easy” with Glenn Frey, but otherwise these two are thrown togther with no rhyme or reason. Both sound terrific, however. The Browne sounds slightly more clear than The Eagles, but both are very clear. And since both artists do not have many bootlegs coming out of late, this is a welcome addition.
The Summit, Houston, TX – November 6th, 1976
Disc 1 (49:43): Hotel California, Lyin’ Eyes, Wasted Time, Take It To The Limit, Desperado, Midnight Flyer, Turn To Stone, Already Gone
Disc 2 (53:39): One Of These Nights, Funk#49, Good Day In Hell, Rocky Mountain Way, Witchy Woman, James Dean, M.C.Introducing, The Best Of My Love, Walk Away, Tequila Sunrise
The Eagles finished recording their fifth studio LP Hotel Californiain October 1976 and it would be released in December. The band immediately started touring with a setlist that was heavily skewed toweards the older, more familiar songs.
These two discs are sourced from the video soundtrack and have excellent, very clear sound. The music is upfront and the audience cheering pushed way to the back so there is a bit of a sterile feel to it. Mid Valley is the only silver pressing of this show.
It’s an interesting show to have. Even though they were already stars by this point with One Of These Nights nominated for album of the year and “Lyin’ Eyes” winning an award, Hotel Californiawould propel them to even more sucess. And it seems as if the band knew it would be a hit since they start off the show with the unfamiliar song. It’s an act of confidence, and it is received well by the audience.
“Lyin’ Eyes,” their biggest hit to date, follows along with three relatively mellow songs “Wasted Time,” “Take It To The Limit” and “Desperado.” Afterwards Glenn Frey says “There’s nothing more we appreciate than being able to play four or five ballads in a row early on and have you listen to them. So we’re gonna kick off our shoes now.”
The up tempo “Midnight Flyer” follows with Don Felder taking over the banjo part originally recorded by Bernie Leadon. “Turn To Stone” reaches almost ten minutes and is a perfect illustration of the late seventies Eagles aesthetic. Instead of the laid back country L.A. music pinned on them, with Felder and Walsh in the band they were more hard rock – guitar oriented, and those two play an effective duel in the song.
Later in the set they play Walsh’s solo tune “Rocky Mountain Way” (which Walsh changes to “Houston Texas Way”). J.D. Souther comes out for “The Best of My Love” and wishes Frey a happy birthday (28 years old). Frey also adds a verse to “Tequila Sunrise” about Mexico in the encore. Overall, since Eagles titles are hard to find this is worth having.
BBC Television Centre, Shepherds Bush Theatre, London, England – 1978
Disc 3 (54:53): The Fuse, Here Come Those Tears Again, Rock Me On The Water, Cocaine, Rosie, Doctor My Eyes, These Days, Running On Empty, Love Needs A Heart, Nothing But Time, The Load Out, Stay
The one disc Jackson Browne concert comes from a BBC television special taped at the BBC Television Centre in Shepherds Bush Theatre, London in Spring of 1978. The sound quality is pristine stereo of a very energetic concert.
Never before (or since) has Browne had such commerical viability and artistic influence. Paul Nelson, in reviewing his latest album Running On Empty in Rolling Stone earlier in the year, pointed out “as impressed as I am with Jackson Browne’s art, I’m even more impressed with the humanity that shines through it. Maybe they’re inseparable, but I doubt it.”
Much of the new album is played in the set. The blues cover “Cocaine,” “Rosie” and the title track from side A, and most of the second side, from “Love Needs A Heart” through “Stay” are played from the second side.
Mid Valley again really make a poor decision. Not only do these two shows have nothing to do with one another, the packaing is so pathetic that it’s hard to tell which disc corresponds to which show. They seem to have stopped this nonsense. But, these are the only silver pressed versions of two interesting shows that are worth having.