What does it sound like?:
The Eagles are a polarising force around these parts but having always had a soft spot for them I was really looking forward to hearing this record. Originally released in 1969 on the Amos record label, it’s the sole album by Longbranch/Pennywhistle, a folk/country duo comprising Glenn Frey and JD Souther. Frey would later form the Eagles with Don Henley, another Amos recording artist, whilst Souther pursued a solo career that included several Eagles co-writes.
Initial impressions of this album suggest it’s a slight record. The playing is as fantastic as you’d expect as the musicians include Ry Cooder, James Burton, Larry Knechtel, Jim Gordon and Buddy Emmons, but on first listen the songs just don’t grab you. After a few more spins a couple of the tracks reveal some charm, ‘Mister, Mister’ and ‘Rebecca’ being the standouts, and the future early Eagles sound is also evident. In the ‘History of the Eagles’ documentary Frey and Souther talk about Jackson Browne and his approach to songwriting, forever going over the small details until he’s completely happy with the song, Frey referring to this process as ‘elbow grease’. We can argue the merits of later songs but a couple of the biggest selling albums of all time reside within the Eagles discography so some of that lesson must’ve paid off!
What does it all *mean*?
As a first effort this record is at least worth a listen, especially as its been unavailable for years. It was re-released earlier this year as part of the Glenn Frey ‘Above the Clouds’ collection but is now available separately on cd (for the first time) and vinyl.
Goes well with…
A drive around the canyons and a beer or two at the Troubadour.
Might suit people who like…
The Eagles, The Byrds, LA singer songwriters.