Thursday, December 26, 2013

SONGS I LIKE - The Load-Out/Stay (Jackson Browne)

'Cause when that mornin' sun comes beating down
you're gonna wake up in your town
But we'll be scheduled to appear
a thousand miles away from here

Jackson Browne has had a long career, stretching from the 70's to the present day.  Browne's politics are hard left and he apparently has quite a temper that involves hitting his wife, but his music is definitely good. He's so far left that in protest of America during Ronald Reagan's presidency he put out an album which was printed backward so the record came out of the left side of the sleeve.
Browne started writing songs in the 1960s and was a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. His earliest hits were recorded by other bands, such as "Shadow Dream Song" and "These Days" which were recorded by Greg Allman, the Byrds, and Linda Ronstadt among others.
In 1972 his first solo disc included "Doctor These Eyes" still a classic rock favorite and was very well received.  Over the next 30 years, Browne scored 15 top 40 hits, including "Somebody's Baby" which was featured in the film Fast Times at Ridgemont High and "The Pretender."  His most recent hit was "The Night Inside Me."
"Stay" was recorded in 1977 live for the Running on Empty album.  It is basically a tribute to his fans, but the song people know is actually a medley of two songs.  The first is "The Load Out" which is a tribute to his roadies and the work they do, which immediately segues into "Stay" and it sounds like a single song.
The song is a heart-felt glimpse into what its like to perform and be on the road, and it has been a favorite for decades now reaching new generations with its quiet beauty and thoughtful descriptions.
There's one interesting story in the song.  When it was performed for the recording, the talented backup singer Rosemary Butler was unable to get to the mic (the reason varies with each telling of the story) and guitarist David Lindley ran to the mic and did a falsetto version to fill in.  It was so amazingly effective that for years they repeated this performance.  That's why when you hear the recorded version the crowd suddenly breaks out cheering.  He really does sound amazing in the chorus, but the second is by Rosemary and she's great too.
This song appeals to me because it tells a melancholy and bittersweet tale of the regret when the show is over for the band.  Playing and getting that reaction from the crowd energizes the band, but then its over and they just want to play a little longer.  One more song, oh won't you stay?
Now the seats are all empty

Let the roadies take the stage
Pack it up and tear it down
They're the first to come and the last to leave
Working for that minimum wage
They'll set it up in another town
Tonight the people were so fine
They waited there in line
And when they got up on their feet,
They made the show, and that was sweet,
But I can hear the sound of slamming doors and folding chairs
and that's a sound they'll never know

Now roll them cases and lift them amps
and haul them trusses down and get'um up them ramps
'Cause when it comes to moving me,
you know you guys are the champs
but when that last guitar's been packed away,
you know that I still want to play.
So just make sure you got it all set to go
before you come for this piano

But the band's on the bus,
and they're waiting to go.
We gotta drive all night
And do a show in Chicago... or Detroit.
I don't know, we do so many shows in a row.
And these towns all look the same.
we just pass the time in the hotel rooms
and wander around backstage.
Till those lights come up, and we hear that crowd,
and we remember why we came.

Now we got country and western on the bus,
R & B, we got disco in 8-tracks and cassettes in stereo
We've got rural scenes and magazines
And we've got truckers on CB
We got Richard Pryor on the video
And we got time to think of the ones we love
While the miles roll away
but the only time that seems too short is the time that we get to play
People you've got the power over what we do
You can sit there and wait
or you can pull us through.
Come along, sing this song
You know that you can't go wrong
'Cause when that mornin' sun comes beating down
you're gonna wake up in your town
But we'll be scheduled to appear
a thousand miles away from here

People stay just a little bit longer
We want to play -- just a little bit longer
Now the promoter don't mind
And the union don't mind
If we take a little time
And we leave it all behind and sing
One more song

Oh won’t you stay just a little bit longer
Please, please, please say you will
Say you will

Oh won’t you stay just a little bit longer
Oh please, please stay just a little bit more

Now the promoter don’t mind
And the roadies don’t mind
If we take a little time
And we leave this all behind and sing
One more song

*This is part of the Songs I Like series.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Great song. Great album.

When I was in high school, a good friend of mine went to visit some of his family in San Diego one summer, a long way away from the rural Oklahoma hills where we lived. When he returned at the end of the summer, we were hanging out, and I found this CD in his car, "Jackson Browne, Running On Empty" I asked him what it was, he said, "Oh some guy my family out there likes, who cant decide if he wants to play country music or rock."

That CD, along with my step-fathers John Prine collection, really changed my perspective on music, which up to that point was informed by Top 40 Country, popular rock, and the beginnings of the commercialization of grunge.

It's really a Baby Boomer era album, but because of the time in my life where i ran across it, and the musical places I sought out from there... it is just one of the best and most nostalgic albums of all time for me. Thanks for reminding me.