Jackson Browne (album)

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Jackson Browne
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 1972
Recorded1971, Crystal Sound Recorders
ProducerRichard Sanford Orshoff
Jackson Browne chronology
Jackson Browne
For Everyman

Jackson Browne is the eponymous debut album of singer Jackson Browne released in 1972. It peaked on the Billboard 200 chart at number 53.[1] Two singles were released with "Doctor, My Eyes" peaking at number 8 on the Pop Singles chart and "Rock Me on the Water" reaching number 48.[2]


Browne had been having minor success as a songwriter but was still unable to obtain his own recording contract. He sent a demo of "Jamaica Say You Will" to David Geffen in early 1970 and Geffen began looking for a record deal for Browne. Geffen ended up founding his own label, Asylum Records, instead and signing Browne.[3]

The album was certified as a Gold record in 1976 and Platinum in 1997 by the RIAA.[4]

Title confusion[edit]

The album is often mistakenly called Saturate Before Using, because the words appear on the album cover, which was designed to look like a water bag that would require saturation in order to cool its contents by evaporation. For this very reason, Asylum Records executives suggested to no avail that the words be removed from the album cover and nearly rejected the cover art outright. However, the initial pressings not only included the text, but the cover carried a burlap-like feel to further the water bag theme.

The confusion over the title returned when the album was converted to CD format, when the words appeared on the spine of the jewel case as the album title.[5]

Browne told the story of the cover's creation and spoke of the title's confusion in an interview with the album designer Gary Burden for his 2002 DVD Under The Covers: "I remember being on the phone with Gary... talking about what the album cover should be, and I happened to be in a room that had a water bag on the wall. It was just one of the things that I collected driving around on trips and stuff. And I was looking at this bag as he was saying 'what do you think it ought to be?' I was thinking, 'well, it could be a water bag.' ... it said 'saturate before using' on the front ... 'You know, Gary, on mine, it says this on the back.' And you said, well, so?' And 'if you put it on the front, people are going to think that's the title.' And you said, 'don't be ridiculous. Who would think that was the title?' I said, 'Yeah, you're right.' So, not only does everyone think that's the title of that album, but my record company thinks that's the title of the album." [6]


Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
Allmusic5/5 stars[7]
Christgau's Record GuideB[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[9]
The Great Rock Discography8/10[9]
MusicHound Rock2/5[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4/5 stars[10]

Jackson Browne received positive reviews from most critics. In his review for Allmusic William Ruhlmann praised the album as "An auspicious debut that doesn't sound like a debut" and "the album has long since come to seem a timeless collection of reflective ballads touching on still-difficult subjects...and all with an amazingly eloquent sense of language. Jackson Browne's greater triumph is that, having perfectly expressed its times, it transcended them as well."[7] Rolling Stone rated the album 6 of 10 stars and stated "Browne's debut lays the groundwork for future heart-and-soul excavations. 'Doctor My Eyes,' an early hit single, communicates the subdued, subtle power of his half-spoken melodies, while 'Rock Me on the Water' and 'Song for Adam' foreshadow the free-ranging contemplation to come."[10]

The original 1972 review in Rolling Stone stated "Jackson Browne's sensibility is romantic in the best sense of the term: his songs are capable of generating a highly charged, compelling atmosphere throughout, and--just as important--of sustaining that pitch in the listener's mind long after they've ended."[11] Ed Kelleher wrote in Circus in 1972: "Though others have done him justice, Browne is his own best interpreter. He just eases back and lets the song come. He has the soul of a poet and the stance of a troubadour. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he has not fallen victim to the trap of over-production--the record has been crafted with care and purity."[12]

Music critic Robert Christgau gave the album a B grade, however, was ambivalent about the whole album, writing, "The voice is pleasant, present, and unpretentious, and when I listen assiduously I perceive lyrics crafted with as much intelligence and human decency as any reasonable person could expect. Unfortunately, only critical responsibility induces me to listen assiduously. It's not just the blandness of the music, but of the ideas as well, each reinforcing the other."[8]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed by Jackson Browne.

Side One[edit]

  1. "Jamaica Say You Will" – 3:23
  2. "A Child in These Hills" – 3:57
  3. "Song for Adam" – 5:22
  4. "Doctor, My Eyes" – 3:11
  5. "From Silver Lake" – 3:49

Side Two[edit]

  1. "Something Fine" – 3:47
  2. "Under the Falling Sky" – 4:08
  3. "Looking into You" – 4:20
  4. "Rock Me on the Water" – 4:13
  5. "My Opening Farewell" – 4:45


Production notes:


Album - Billboard (North America)[1]

Year Chart Position
1972 Pop Albums 53

Singles - Billboard (North America)[2]

Year Single Chart Position
1972 "Doctor My Eyes" Pop Singles 8
1972 "Rock Me on the Water" Pop Singles 48


  1. ^ a b Jackson Browne - Jackson Browne > Charts & Awards > Billboard Album at AllMusic. Retrieved 21 October 2004.
  2. ^ a b Jackson Browne - Jackson Browne > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved 21 October 2004.
  3. ^ Ruhlmann, William. Jamaica Say You Will - Jackson Browne > Song Review at AllMusic. Retrieved June 6, 2010.
  4. ^ RIAA Gold and Platinum award. Retrieved July 20, 2010
  5. ^ Saturate before reading | American Printer | March 2006 Archived 2008-12-02 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Burden, Gary & Diltz, Henry. Under The Covers DVD, Jackson Browne Audio Interview. Archived May 2, 2012, at the Wayback Machine 2002.
  7. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. Jackson Browne at AllMusic. Retrieved 22 November 2004.
  8. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: B". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved February 22, 2019 – via robertchristgau.com.
  9. ^ a b c "Jackson Browne". Acclaimed Music. Retrieved September 27, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). "Jackson Browne". The New Rolling Stone Album Guide. London: Fireside. pp. 112–113. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8. Abridged in "Jackson Browne > Album Guide". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  11. ^ Scoppa, Bud (March 2, 1972). "Jackson Browne Jackson Browne > Album Review". Rolling Stone (103). Retrieved 8 June 2010.
  12. ^ Kelleher, Ed. Circus, Review of Jackson Browne, April 1972.