Jackson Browne Jerry Leichtling - Essay

Jerry Leichtling

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

For years, Jackson Browne wrote beautiful songs, other people sang them and Jackson took his own sweet time about recording an album. Two years ago his first record was released, so beautiful, ineffably sad and movingly perfect for gentle love on rainy nights. He was instantly revealed. And now ["For Everyman"].

Jackson is more than sweet, alive in dream ways and held childhood. He sings of childhood; the gap of retrograde motion, the life motion that causes us still to be so much of what we once were, reaching towards that more real past where experience held growth and the strings were tied together. Jackson's first record said it in "I Am a Child in These Hills" and "Rock Me on the Water."

Here, now, most directly in "I Thought I Was a Child." Where before "I am," now "I thought I was." Two years later and gone, grown….

The songs are terrific, some tunes occasionally too similar in tone but nevertheless at the heart of many things….

It's soft rock and Jackson's voice is thin and reedy. But it's a remarkably conceived and executed work, a testament, a manifest creation that moves logically, consistently and beautifully towards whatever's at the end of Jackson's road. To journey this way is a privilege.

Jerry Leichtling, "Records: 'For Everyman'," in Crawdaddy (copyright © 1974 by Crawdaddy Publishing Co., Inc.; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), January, 1974, p. 78.