Saturday, 27 October 2018

The Eagles - Desperado (1973)


  

Released April 1973

Recorded in London

This, The Eagles' second outing was a mix of vibrant country rockers and finger-picking country folk numbers, with the balance in favour of the former. It really is, in places, quite a heavy rocking album, far more so than many would imagine. Like their debut album, strangely, it was recorded in the cold English winter, in 1972-1973, as opposed to California or Arizona. To add to that expected US West image, though, the group appear on the cover on a grainy photo looking like Old West outlaws.

 The opener, "Doolin-Dalton" (what did that mean?) was influenced by The Band, and had a real bluesy rock power, despite its country feel in the vocals and theme. "Twenty-One" was more of a melodic light country folk number. The rock power is back, however, on the gloriously riffy and powerful "Out Of Control", a track that showed that The Eagles could really rock, despite their laid-back, easy country rock image. "Tequila Sunrise" is a track well-known to many, it is melodiously atmospheric, beautifully sung and played and just has that hot, dusty, travelling through South-West USA feeling about it.

"Desperado" is a beautiful, evocative piano and strings backed ballad that kicks in half way through with a huge rock backing and the vocal is just superb. The rocking "Certain Kind Of Fool" has a real hint of Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers about it (three years before that band came into existence), with echoes of Little Feat and The Doobie Brothers too. A snatch of "Doolin-Dalton (Instrumental)" leads from this track into the muscular, solid rock of "Outlaw Man" is almost Lynyrd Skynyrd-esque in its whiskey-swilling rocking bluesiness. The end of the track has the band really giving it some.

After all that rocking out, it is time to retire to the roadhouse or cantina for a bit of country mournfulness. "Saturday Night" provides just that with a lovely piece of laid-back country balladry. "Bitter Creek" is a delightful, tuneful CSNY/America-influenced harmonious slice of country folk.

The album ends with a reprise of "Doolin-Dalton" that sounds much more folky and laid-back than the first version of the song that merges into a reprise of "Desperado", in its solid rock passage. Instead of being the repeating of previous tracks it would seem to be, it actually works well. The album as a whole, is a largely upbeat, if a bit short, piece of work. The current remastering is good quality as well.

B-


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