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Friday, June 30, 2017
1002. Eagles / Desperado. 1973. 3/5
“Doolin-Dalton” starts the album off strongly, led by Don’s easy vocal and a non-threatening musical background which was initially to be the set up for the whole concept of the album. This is followed by “Twenty-One” which is very much a Bernie Leadon track, solidly written around his favourite banjo and with Glenn’s slide guitar thrown in, it is an upbeat bouncy song that lifts the mood of the album immediately. This segues straight into “Out of Control”, and the harder guitar riff and vocal quality making it much closer to a rock song with Glenn’s guitar and vocals dominating. The album has built up, with each of the three opening songs acting like waking up from sleep, with the quieter slower opening track into the bouncing second track and the much louder and rockier third track. It works well.
That style changes up once again for the classic “Tequila Sunrise”, a song that has become a stand out in its own right. Its gentle tones and wonderful vocal line from Glenn just seem to flow along in an unhindered way, simple tones and range that make it sound so easy but is so difficult to reproduce if you don’t have the talent to do so. This, like all of their early classic songs, stands apart from everything else on the album. The other song of this category on the album is the title track. “Desperado” is the slow piano based ballad sung by Don. It has become one of the Eagles best known songs, but was never released as a single by the band. In fact, it wasn’t until Linda Ronstadt released her version of the song that it became so huge, and was then sought after by fans everywhere. I don’t mind the song, but I don’t list it as one of my favourites.
“Certain Kind of Fool” with Randy singing lead vocals flows along nicely with his unique vocal range dominating and giving this a completely different mood from the other tracks on the album. Following the “Doolin-Dalton” instrumental segue of Bernie Leadon’s banjo playing, the album flows into “Outlaw Man” which was the second song released from the album. It has a rockier feel that the overall genre of the album, a faster energy throughout that makes it pleasant enough to listen to.
“Saturday Night” returns to the gentler side of the band, with the four way harmonies of the vocals and the acoustic guitar underneath the main focus of the song. This again segues into “Bitter Creek” another gentle country and western based song revolving around those amazing voices and the guitar and piano. It’s the crooning background harmonies that get you every time, even if it seems to stretch out for the last two minutes of the song on repeat. The album is then completed by the reprise of “Doolin-Dalton” and “Desperado”, completing the loop of the songs that bookended the first side of the album.
While Desperado is still very listenable, especially if you are in a quiet mood and you are just looking for something inoffensive to be playing in the background, this is still the Eagles in their original form. It’s the country and western side of their career, before the guitars and drums began to take a more firm outlook on the band. I still like the album, and anyone who loves the sound of those harmony vocals will like it as well. Even so, when I go looking for an Eagles album to put on and sing along with, I will go to one of the later albums rather than this.
Rating: "It's another tequila sunrise, staring slowly 'cross the sky, said goodbye". 3/5