Desperado (1973)


 
1. Doolin Dalton 2. Twenty-One 3. Out of Control 4. Tequilla Sunrise 5. Certain Kind of Fool 6. Doolin Dalton (Instrumental) 7. Outlaw Man 8. Saturday Night 9. Bitter Creek 10.Desperado 11.Doolin Dalton/Desperado (Reprise)

 

It was a bit funny seeing Don Henley talk to his audiences in his later, successful solo days. He had a lot of sympathy for many of the new up and coming teen idols that found success so fast and became overnight sensations. He told the crowds that these guys would have a very tough time replicating the massive success that they first had, and they would probably have their respective record companies get awful impatient if the massive success did not continue. In his words, they would have to go through "a whole lot of shit".

It was funny because this situation seemed to be exactly what happened to The Eagles after their first album, yet none of that stress seemed to affect them - at least commercially. Maybe the times were different? Anyway, it's worth noting that their first album Eagles had three top ten singles. So how to you follow up something like that? Well, the guys wore their "country" label to the extreme by releasing an album with sort of an "old west" theme. One need not look further than the cover (front and back) of the album to see what one was in store. It must be stated again that the early 1970's was a perfect time to pull of an album such as this. It's very different in many aspects than their first album, yet they manage to pull of another masterpiece that has, like its predecessor, withheld the test of time.

From the classic (overlooked) leadoff track Doolin Dalton, we know we're in for a very fun, entertaining ride. This song simply drips with western themes and styles, yet manages to stay relevant to the popular music of the day. They pick up the beat a bit on Twenty One with it's square dancing, toe tappin', horseshoe pitchin' sound, yet manages to continue in a somewhat similar fashion. Of course, they then deliver a huge curveball with Out of Control. This song has nothing that resembles country and/or western and radically throws us out of any reverie of the dusty trails and saloons where we may have let our mind temporary reside. Not only is this pure rock and roll, but it's arguably the hardest thing these guys have ever done. Now, the irony here is that this song acutally works. No fan seems to care that this song seems so misplaced. Credit the guys for just being great musicians and know their craft so well. Or maybe it could be that their harmonies and vocals are so easily recognized that this detour becomes somewhat forgivable based on the overall quality of the song and band in general? I mean, you can never really take the entire "country" out of this band - especially when Glenn Frey was at the mic.

And then, everyone knows Tequila Sunrise, and everyone knows the song Desperado even better. So what can you really say about those two classics that hasn't already been said? Maybe the irony that Desperado was never released as a single? Thank goodness everyone has heard it. I really wish the same could be said about a lot more of their "non" single songs. They do a fun, little 45 second quick instrumental version of Doolin Dalton that consists only of a cupla banjos going full force. You really wish they could have maybe just added another minute or so to the fun little diversion.

I could go on and on about the rest of the songs and how awesome they all are. It's a bit pointless and I would get repetitive in my descriptions and cliches. Safe to say, the band lives up to their "country rock" label much more on this record. Whereas their first album found it's strength in its diversity, this album seems to focus mostly in only one direction, yet you never miss any of the sounds from that first album - probably because all of the songs here are just so damn memorable and classy. I can't imagine anyone who is a fan of this band, or a fan of this style of music not liking anything on this record.

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