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Jackson Browne
(Saturate before using)

Jackson Browne is the self-titled debut album of singer Jackson Browne.

The album is often mistakenly called Saturate Before Using, because the words appear on the album cover, which was designed to look like a water bag that would require saturation before its first use. For this very reason, Asylum Records
executives suggested to no avail that the words be removed from the
album cover and nearly rejected the cover art outright. The confusion
over the title returned when the album was converted to CD format, when the words appeared on the spine of the jewel case as the album title.

Disco LP 33 giri , 1972, emi / asylum , 3 C 062 – 93250 , italia, first pressing

OTTIME CONDIZIONI, vinyl ex++/NM , cover ex++ .

Jackson Browne – nome completo Clyde Jackson Browne – (Heidelberg9 ottobre 1948) è un cantautore statunitense.
Le sue canzoni introspettive e piene di riferimenti letterari hanno
fatto di lui uno dei più influenti esponenti della musica della West Coast degli anni ’70.
Brillante cantautore, chitarrista e pianista, negli anni è stato famoso
anche per il suo impegno civile ed ambientalista. Può essere accostato
a Nick Drake e Neil Young, più tardi sarà influenzato anche da Bruce Springsteen

  • Interprete: Jackson Browne
  • Etichetta:  EMI italiana /  Asylum Records
  • Catalogo: 3C 062 – 93250
  • Data di pubblicazione: 1972
  • Date matrici :  31/3/72
  • Supporto:vinile 33 giri
  • Tipo audio: stereo
  • Dimensioni: 30 cm.
  • Facciate: 2
  • white label, original white paper inner sleeve

Track listing

All songs written by Jackson Browne

  1. “Jamaica Say You Will” – 3:23
  2. “A Child in These Hills” – 3:57
  3. Song for Adam” – 5:22
  4. Doctor My Eyes” – 3:11
  5. “From Silver Lake” – 3:49
  6. “Something Fine” – 3:47
  7. “Under the Falling Sky” – 4:08
  8. “Looking into You” – 4:20
  9. “Rock Me on the Water” – 4:13
  10. “My Opening Farewell” – 4:45



  • Producers: Jackson Browne, Richard Sanford Orshoff
  • Engineer: Richard Sanford Orshoff
  • Mastering: Greg Ladanyi
  • Art direction: Gary Burden
  • Photography: Henry Diltz


album cover for Jackson Browne, Saturate Before Using (first album)
There were two radio hits on Jackson Browne’s first album (commonly
called Saturate Before Using)—”Doctor My Eyes” and “Rock Me on the
Water.” Both are great songs, but overall, this album is less memorable
for specific songs than it is as a general experience. It’s deeply
emotive, with songs that examine the human experience with such ease
that the insights seem almost self-evident. Make no mistake,
though—such apt, artful, non-nauseating communication of deep feelings
is a goal that all ’70s singer-songwriter artists sought but which few
achieved. Most of the songs on Saturate Before Using feature Browne’s
smooth, plaintive voice accompanied only by acoustic guitar and piano,
with smatterings of electric base and percussion to anchor the melodic
passages. Overall, he achieves a good balance of timbre and tone; and,
much in the way that the steel towers of a suspension bridge serve as
anchor points in a much broader graceful structure, “Doctor My Eyes”
and “Rock Me on the Water” serve as well known, easily accessible
reference points in the relatively stark but beautiful song-scape on
the rest of the album. Saturate Before Using is an admirable debut.

Saturate Before Using

Jackson Browne

Asylum 93250

Released: September 1971

Chart Peak: #53

Weeks Charted: 23

It’s not often that a single album is sufficient to place a new
performer among the first rank of recording artists. Jackson Browne’s
long-awaited debut album chimes in its author with the resounding
authority of an Astral Weeks, a Gasoline Alley, or an After the Gold Rush.
Its awesome excellence causes one to wonder why, with Browne’s
reputation as an important songwriter established as far back as 1968,
this album was so long in coming. Perhaps Browne acquired performing
abilities worthy of his writing skill only after much hard work.
Whatever the reason, Jackson Browne is more than worth the years it took to be hatched.

I mention the possibility that Browne has honed his performing
skill mainly because of a vocal style that bears a certain resemblance
to Van Morrison’s. Browne may well have used Morrison as a model,
because that singer’s dynamic phrasing and syntax — with those
mid-phrase halts, work-packing and spreading, and drawn-out syllables
— are integral parts of Browne’s style, too. The Morrison influence is
most audible in “Rock Me on the Water” and “Under the Falling Sky,”
with their lilting, gospel-like movement (these two would make
excellent singles) but it comes across in subtler ways in several other

But what might have seemed uncomfortably derivative in other
hands becomes merely a sound starting point for Jackson; his artistry
takes the Morrison elements to a place completely his own. For one
thing, Browne’s voice is uncolored except for a bluegrass-nasality;
it’s not a particularly powerful voice, either, but it’s quite
flexible. That straight-faced, country-boy sound — somewhat akin to
Clarence White’s in tone — lends his vocal style an endearing,
innocent earnestness that enables Browne to deal with overtly romantic
themes without ever coming across as self-conscious or precious.

The songs themselves reveal Browne as a classic romanticist;
they’re possessed of that same earnest intensity found in his voice,
and their prevailing moods are so strong that singers as diverse as Tom
Rush, Johnny Darrell, Nico, and Clarence White can sing them without
significantly altering their tone or substance. Browne’s songs, no
matter who sings them, seem to have a life of their own. After hearing
this LP, it’s clear to me that no one has done them nearly as well as
Jackson himself, and it’s not likely that anyone will.

“Jamaica, Say You Will,” the opening track, is an exquisite
love song, and it perfectly embodies Browne’s writing and performing
approach. This narrative of the relationship between the singer and
Jamaica, the daughter of a long-absent sailor, vividly confirms Richard
Goldstein’s 1968 perception that “Jackson writes with rocky seacoasts
in his head.”

A full-chorded grand piano gives the song a rolling, even
motion and a certain austerity of mood. Browne plays his voice off the
piano’s restrained tone, soaring up from his own basically understated
vocal in mid-verse and chorus. This underplaying of mood lights
Jackson’s simple but evocative images with a muted radiance that
aurally captures the look of McCabe and Mrs. Miller.

While the music sets the tone, Browne deftly tells the tale, his
imagery charged with vivid suggestion. Jamaica and her lover share an
idyllic, youthful romance in the high grass of a coastal village, but
the singer feels a twinge of apprehension cut into his bliss: “Her
father was a captain on the rolling seas,/She would stare across the
water from the trees./The last time he was home, he held her on his
knee/Told her next time they would sail together, just where they

Inevitably, the time comes; the singer laments that one day
they’d been hiding from the world together, and on the next, without
warning, “They had brought her things down to the bay./What could I
do?” And his callow plea in the first chorus to “Fill my empty hours”
becomes a plea of teeth-gritting urgency in the third to “Fill my
sails/And we will sail until our waters have run dry.” But there’s no
chance of his fulfilling his dream, as he’s known all along.

Much of the dramatic force of “Jamaica” derives from its
gorgeous choruses. Each chorus builds tension by offsetting its lyrical
meter from the movement of the music, so that the first part of each
line is packed tightly and the second part is stretched out, as here,
in the second chorus:

Sayyy yoou wi-illl
Wayyy tooo fi-lll
Stayyy uhhhntil
My ships have found the sea.

Harmonies enter at the “Sayyy” section of each of the first three
lines, accenting the rush of words that precedes them. All the tension
built up by the struggle for balance between the lyrical and musical
structures resolves itself gracefully in the even last line. Naturally,
Browne’s single-minded delivery drives the tension to even greater
heights, and the song soars. It’s as moving a love song as I’ve ever

What’s astounding about this record is that there are a half
dozen tracks of “Jamaica”-beauty (“Song for Adam” and “From Silver
Lake” are especially affecting), and none of the ten songs is any less
than brilliant and lovely. Each has the immediacy of a touch, due in part to Jackson’s first-person approach.

The music is as direct and fluid as the lyrical content. It’s
arranged and played with appropriate restraint by a dozen Los Angeles
session favorites, among them Sneeky Pete, Craig Doerge (his piano
playing is particularly sensitive), Lee Sklar, and Russ Kunkel. David
Crosby’s harmonies haven’t sounded this real since he left the Byrds.
And although you’ll hear, aside from the standard acoustic guitar,
piano, and bass, the sounds of electric guitar, organ, mouth harp,
pedal steel, and viola, these instruments are subdued and spread
carefully through the ten songs. No one get’s in Jackson’s way — it’s
completely his album.

Jackson Browne’s sensibility is romantic in the best sense of
the term: his songs are capable of generating a highly charged,
compelling atmosphere throughout, and — just as important — of
sustaining that pitch in the listener’s mind long after they’ve ended.

Don’t miss it.

– Bud Scoppa, Rolling Stone, 3/2/72.

Bonus Reviews!

Finally, the long
awaited and much heralded first album from Jackson Browne and it is
indeed a work of beauty and charm. He has built a richly deserved
reputation as being one of the best new songwriters of the seventies
and proves it by gifting us with ten captivatingly intriguing songs.
Backed by such notables as Russ Kunkel, Leland Sklar and David Crosby,
his voice has a winsome quality.

Billboard, 1972.

It has taken a long time for a whole album of Jackson Browne’s
music, actually sung and played by Jackson Browne, to be made and
released. His songs are almost legendary; you’ve been hearing them,
whether you know it or not, for a few years now, as played by The
Byrds, Steve Noonan, Nico and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (he was an
early member of NGDB, but never made a record with them).

On first hearing this record, watch yourself; you’re likely to
shrug it off as pseudo-Van Morrison or Elton John, but stop; listen
closer. Pretend that Jackson is an old friend and slowly he will
emerge. Oddly enough, he probably influenced these artists more than
they he, and what similarities there are, are mostly in presentation,
not content. Therein lies my only criticism. I was sure Jackson would
give us a relatively pure record, but he did somehow find the need for
all-star backup that includes Clarence White, Russ Kunkel, Jesse Davis,
Sneaky Pete and David Crosby. As a result, Browne’s voice sometimes
gets lost and you have to strain to catch what he’s saying. It is all,
however, worth catching.

Jackson’s songs are very personal, not embarrassingly so, but
enough to make other singers think twice about performing them. “A Song
For Adam” is a simple song about a friend’s death; an often used theme,
but rarely expressed in such spiritual terms. A great many of these
songs deal with a spiritual search; no preaching, no conclusions, just
searching. “Doctor My Eyes,” “Looking Into You” and “From Silver Lake”
also touch on this search.

“From Silver Lake” contains a perfect dual vocal track with
Leah Kunkel and some stunning harmony by David Crosby. The harmony is
used well throughout and reaches a high point in “Something Fine,” a
great, yet subdued song that leaves you with a very warm feeling.
Jackson’s lyrical ability is more obvious here:

“California’s shaking like an angry child will
Who has asked for love and is unanswered still.”

The song closes with a request of this Morrocco-bound girl friend that out to bring a smile to many people:

“While you’re there, I was hoping
You would keep it in your mind
To send me just a taste
Of something fine.”

The nature of this album is too open to merit any analytical trips.
I urge you to get it and spend some time with it. It’s not just
background music; it will give you as much as you put into it.

– Jeff Walker, Phonograph Record, 4/72.

Not since Elton John weighed in has an artist made as
distinctive a debut as this young California songsmith does with this
LP. Over the past several years Browne has been steadily building a
loyal coterie of fans — mostly through his songs, which have been
recorded by Tom Rush, Linda Ronstadt, etc. — but also through
occasional personal appearances. Now, with these ten songs, he bursts
out into the open and serves notice that he will become one of the
Seventies’ brightest stars.

Though others have done him justice, Browne is his own best
interpreter. He just eases back and lets the song come. He has the soul
of a poet and the stance of a troubadour. Unlike many of his
contemporaries, he has not fallen victim to the trap of over-production
— the record has been crafted with care and purity. Browne is heard on
both acoustic guitar and piano. Among his sidemen are James Taylor’s
drummer — Russ Kunkel — and Clarence White of the Byrds. David Crosby
join in on harmonies.

The studio sessions must have been joyous occasions, because the finished product is a celebration in itself.

– Ed Kelleher, Circus, 4/72.

Prior to the release of this exceptional album, Jackson Browne
was one of the best known unknowns in the music world. The writer of
such beautiful songs as “Shadow Dream Song,” “Colors Of The Sun,”
“These Days” and “Jamaica Say You Will,” Jackson Browne has long been
admired by such luminaries as Tom Rush, Joni Mitchell, The Byrds and
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. As a matter of fact, Tom Rush was singing
“Shadow Dream Song” around the same time that he was performing “Circle
Song” by the then unknown Joni Mitchell, and like Ms. Mitchell, Jackson
Browne is well on his way to major recognition as a performing artist.

The term sensitive has been overworked in recent years, but
it’s the perfect description of Jackson Browne’s songs, vocal delivery
and musical accompaniment. The production here is simple, and quite
tasty, with excellent instrumental work from such Los Angeles session
regulars as Russ Kunkel, Jim Gordon, and Sneaky Pete. David Crosby adds
some vocal harmonies. Although Browne left most of his better known
songs off this debut album, “Jamaica Say You Will,” “Rock Me On The
Water” and “From Silver Lake” will probably strike a familiar chord
with many listeners. The latter song is a perfect example of Jackson
Browne’s tremendous talent and should serve notice that this could well
be Jackson Browne’s year.

– Jeff Samuels, Words & Music, 6/72.

Many people I like like Browne. Me, I don’t dislike him. The
voice is pleasant, present, and unpretentious, and when I listen
assiduously I perceive lyrics crafted with as much intelligence and
human decency as any reasonable person could expect. Unfortunately,
only critical responsibility induces me to listen assiduously. It’s not
just the blandness of the music, but of the ideas as well, each
reinforcing each other. Even the meticulously structured requiem “Song
for Adam” interests me more for the quality of Browne’s concern than
for its philosophical conclusions. When Bob Dylan’s good, I admire him
as much as I do William Carlos Williams. I admire Jackson Browne as
much as, oh, John Peale Bishop, whose name hasn’t entered my mind since
I was an English major. B

– Robert Christgau, Christgau’s Record Guide, 1981.

One of the better lyricists of the last thirty years of pop,
Browne’s finely crafted words and occasionally inspired melodies
reflect a serious artist who has consistently attempted to grapple with
the current state of the human condition. There is an unevenness in
both the content and performance on the ten selections which comprise
this debut release; but, at its best — “A Song For Adam,” “Doctor My
Eyes,” and “Rock Me on the Water” — it represents the benchmark by
which other Seventies singer/songwriters can be measured. The CD’s
sound is clean and surprisingly spacious, although little detail
enhancement noticeable. B+

– Bill Shapiro, Rock & Roll Review: A Guide to Good Rock on CD, 1991.

One of the reasons that Jackson Browne’s first album is among
the most auspicious debuts in pop music history is that it doesn’t
sound like a debut. Although only 25, Browne had kicked around the
music business for several years, writing and performing as a member of
the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and as Nico’s backup guitarist, among other
gigs, while many artists recorded his material. So, if this doesn’t
sound like someone’s first batch of songs, it’s not. Browne had
developed an unusual use of language, casual yet full of striking
imagery, and a post-apocalyptic viewpoint to go with it. He sang with a
calm certainty over spare, discretely placed backup — piano, acoustic
guitar, bass, drums, congas, violin, harmony vocals — that highlighted
the songs and always seemed about to disappear. In song after song,
Browne described the world as a desert in need of moisture, and this
wet/dry dichotomy carried over into much of the imagery. In “Doctor My
Eyes,” the album’s most propulsive song and a Top 10 hit, he sang,
“Doctor, my eyes/Cannot see the sky/Is this the prize/For having
learned how not to cry?” If Browne’s outlook was cautious, its
expression was original. His conditional optimism seemed to reflect
hard experience, and in the early ’70s, the aftermath of the ’60s, a
lot of his listeners shared that perspective. Like any great artist,
Browne articulated the tenor of his times. But the album has long since
come to seem a timeless collection of reflective ballads touching on
still-difficult subjects — suicide (explicitly), depression and drug
use (probably), spiritual uncertainty and desperate hope — all in
calm, reasoned tones, and all with an amazingly eloquent sense of
language. Jackson Browne‘s greater triumph is that,
having perfectly expressed its times, it transcended those times as
well. (The album features a cover depicting Browne’s face on a water
bag — an appropriate reference to its desert/water imagery —
containing the words “saturate before using.” Inevitably, many people
began to refer to the self-titled album by that phrase, and when it was
released on CD, it became official — both the disc and the jewel box
read Saturate Before Using.) * * * * *

– William Ruhlmann, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

This amazing debut shows the promise of what was to come for the
talented singer-songwriter who would soon be a dominant force in pop
radio and a mainstay of the California soft-rock scene. Only “Doctor My
Eyes” charted, but the entire disc is an outstanding collection of
sincere and personal songs. * * * *

Zagat Survey Music Guide – 1,000 Top Albums of All Time, 2003.

Nato in Germania ma cresciuto a Los Angeles, cominciò la carriera di autore verso la fine degli anni sessanta scrivendo tre canzoni per l’esordio solista di Nico e poi per Eagles, Byrds, Tim Buckley e Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (di cui entra per poco in formazione nel 1966);
grazie a questo si fece conoscere al pubblico del settore musicale.
Subito inizia a fare coppia con il chitarrista David Lindley, sua
futura spalla per gli anni a venire.

Il suo debutto risale al 1972 con l’album omonimo.
È tutt’altro che un disco acerbo in cui vanta la collaborazione con
alcuni esponenti della musica californiana (tra cui Clarence White e David Crosby) e gli frutta già i primi successi di classifica (Doctor My Eyes e Jamaica Say You Will). Successivamente parte per un tour con Joni Mitchell e gli Eagles.

Nel 1973 esce For Everyman, contenente la sua personale versione di Take It Easy brano scritto per gli Eagles e da loro portato al successo, la sua versione di These Days (scritta per Tim Rush nel 1968) e la piccola hit Redneck Friend. L’anno dopo pubblica Late for the Sky, da molti critici ritenuto il suo lavoro migliore. Pieno di testi introversi, quasi indecifrabili, frutterà i successi di Before the Deluge e Fountain of Sorrow. Dopo una lunga pausa, nel 1976 esce The Pretender, con liriche fortemente influenzate dal suicidio della moglie Phillys.

Nel 1977 esce l’album dal vivo (ma contenenete solo pezzi inediti, come ‘Rosie’ e “You love the thunder]) Running on Empty. Tratto dal suo tour americano, è il suo maggior successo commerciale. La title-track dal sapore springsteeniano, una delle sue canzoni più note, è un manifesto della generazione post-sessantotto che “corre nel vuoto”. Famosa anche Stay, cover degli anni ’60 di un pezzo degli Zodiacs, che diventerà un classico delle chiusure dei suoi concerti. Nel 1979 è co-fondatore del MUSE, il movimento degli artisti uniti per l’energia pulita che in quell’anno organizza il grande concerto No Nukes con partecipazioni di musicisti del calibro di Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Bruce Springsteen e James Taylor.

Gli anni ’80

Nel nuovo decennio l’artista vira verso produzioni più livellate, in
linea con il periodo, perdendo anche forza nei testi che talvolta
cedono il passo ad una politicizzazione troppo marcata oppure sono più
frivoli. Questo nuovo corso è evidente con Hold Out del 1980, che riesce nell’intento di raggiungere il primo posto nelle classifiche. Il singolo Disco Apocalypse (scritto nel 1976)
è la dimostrazione abbastanza eloquente di questa svolta, nonostante
nel disco si possano ancora ritrovare canzoni significative come Hold On Hold Out.

Nel tour del 1981 continua a portare avanti le sue idee pacifiste e antinucleari, tanto che nel 1982 viene arrestato in California mentre manifestava davanti ad una centrale nucleare. Browne ritorna in classifica nel 1982 con il brano disimpegnato Somebody’s Baby tratto dalla colonna sonora del film Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Fuori di testa). Nel 1983 esce Lawyers in Love, con sonorità sempre pop e qualche ritorno al folk rock tradizionale, il brano omonimo è una nuova hit.

Tra il 1984 e 1985 viene coinvolto da Little Steven nel progetto pacifista di Sun City, effettuando alcune visite in Nicaragua. Dopo una pausa esce, nel 1986, Lives in the Balance, caratterizzato da forti accuse al reaganismo,
testi polemici e appassionati e la novità di sonorità esotiche grazie
alla collaborazione con un gruppo di artisti sudamericani in alcune
canzoni (Lawless Avenue e Lives in the Balance). Alla fine del decennio esce World in Motion, solitamente considerato minore nella sua discografia, in cui è presente la cover di Little Steven I Am a Patriot, Browne prosegue con gli argomenti politici e le esperienze personali.

Da gli anni ’90 ad oggi

Negli ultimi anni Browne dirada le sue uscite discografiche ma
ritrova una verve che ricorda, almeno in parte, le composizioni del suo
periodo migliore. Nel 1993 infatti, con I’m Alive, si fa nuovamente apprezzare dalla critica, grazie soprattutto a pezzi come la title-track e Sky of Blue and Black.
L’album, con tratti malinconici, è frutto di quattro anni di lavoro e
ispirato dalla fine del suo rapporto sentimentale con l’attrice Daryl Hannah.

Tre anni dopo esce Looking East, meno riuscito del precedente ma comunque apprezzabile, in cui spicca il brano The Barricades of Heaven. Per celebrare i 25 anni di carriera, nel 1997, esce la sua prima antologia The Next Voice You Hear: The Best of Jackson Browne, contenente due brani inediti (The Rebel Jesus e The Next Voice You Hear). L’ultimo album in studio fino ad ora, l’atteso e purtroppo deludente (nonostante l’impegno civile e politico che trapela) The Naked Ride Home esce nel 2002. Due anni dopo viene pubblicata una nuova compilation in due dischi The Very Best of Jackson Browne. Nel 2005 è uscito il suo primo disco dal vivo vero e proprio in oltre trent’anni di carriera, Solo Acoustic, Vol. 1, che si preannuncia come avvio di una serie di pubblicazioni dal vivo.

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