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Classic of the Week

Jackson Browne, "Saturate Before Using" (1972), Elektra/Asylum

March 24, 1994|JANET KINOSIAN

Jackson Browne made his best record on his first try out. From the tender "Jamaica Say You Will" to the emotionally hungry "Song for Adam" and the radiant, gospel-drenched "Rock Me on the Water," he wrote convincingly of what it was to be a young, sensitive man grown up in the '60s, afflicted by post-'60s fallout. There is a longing, spiritual undercurrent to his voice, accentuated by some of the best studio musicians of the time (Russell Kunkel on drums, Leland Sklar on bass, Craig Doerge on piano--the same group that played on most of the James Taylor and Carole King records back then). "Saturate's" tone is sparse but warm, Browne's vision deeply intelligent, the tempo even; this is the world before '70s glam invaded everything. The focus is always clearly on Browne, his guitar and his words. And if that voice singing harmony sounds familiar, it's a nice, Woodstock-era sound, too: David Crosby.

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