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You're Only Lonely

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iTunes Review

Even though J.D. Souther was an integral root of the ‘70s California country-rock family tree, his behind-the-curtains involvement as a songwriter and producer made it hard for him to cast a shadow in the spotlight. Souther’s third album, You’re Only Lonely, hits a stride, though he had ample studio help from some of the era’s luminaries. The title track starts like a long-lost gem from Roy Orbison’s vault, with Jackson Browne’s backing vocals sounding timeless next to the AM gold-toned production. “If You Don’t Want My Love” breaks from ‘50s adoration to contrast sunny, beachy, Buffett-esque grooves with lyrics of heartbreak and humility. If “The Last in Love” and “”Til the Bars Burn Down” sound slightly reminiscent of The Eagles (especially the latter with its twangy guitars and roadhouse boogie), that’s because Souther’s old roommate and writing partner, Glenn Frey, cowrote these tunes. “White Rhythm and Blues” is a smooth standout with Phil Everly’s androgynous voice helping blur the lines between soft rock and country-rock balladry, similar to how The Flying Burrito Brothers became Firefall.

Customer Reviews

LA RocknRoll Great - John David Souther

J.D. Souther is an founding member of the LA country rock music scene and this is an album which truly demonstrates the real sound and some great music from this 1970's 'LA RocknRoll' music era. Born in Detroit and raised in Amarillo, Texas, Souther is said to be influenced by (so many including) jazz greats, Texas rockabilly, pianist Glenn Gould and fellow Texan Roy Orbison, whose sound he did sometimes emulate. He relocated to Los Angeles in the late 1960s, and met Glenn Frey and shared an apartment with him in Echo Park where they had a freind and neighbor downstairs named Jackson Browne. Souther is best known for writing classic songs in country rock. He co-wrote some of the biggest hits for The Eagles, including "Best of My Love", "Victim of Love", "Heartache Tonight", and "New Kid in Town." He also wrote songs for Ronstadt including "Faithless Love" and "White Rhythm and Blues." He also recorded duets with Ronstadt, including "Hearts Against the Wind", "Prisoner in Disguise," and "Sometimes You Can't Win." He wrote "Run Like a Thief," which appeared on Home Plate by Bonnie Raitt and "Her Town Too" with James Taylor from Taylor's Dad Loves His Work album.

The Eagle That Never Flew

If there were any justice in the world, J. D. Souther would have been the fifth,sixth, seventh or ninth Eagle, depending on when you choose to start counting the members. Critics have long credited Souther with providing the Eagles with the essence of their sound. Glenn Frey's ego and Irving Azoff's management made certain that would never happen, and soon Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner were gone too. With them the last vestages of the original Eagles sound and the magnificant multi-instrumentalism was gone. Although he held on almost to the end, Don Felder and Don Henley were clearly the creaative brains off the remaing Eagles. Frey's constant competition with Henley and the childish antics eventually pushed Felder out too, in a disgraceful display of ingrratitude by "The Gods" Azoff, Grey and Henley. So petty were the "Hell Freezes Over" remnants that when the Eagles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the members of the Eagles who had formed the foundation, if invited at all, were relegated to the shadows when Henly, Fry, and "sidemen" Joe Walsh and Timothy B. Schmidt were called to perform. Don Felder was not even invited. It is impossible to appreciate the achievements of the Eagles without a thorough knowledge of the works of J. D. Souther, Jackson Brown, and several other songwriters who were hidden from public view. If these writers were listed on the Eagles records at all, they had to fight for the credit. A prime example of the battling egos of Frey and Felder was their breaking of the custom in the band of having the member who contributed the most to the song listed first: On "Hotel California," Felder was listed last even though the entire musical track for the song was pretty much an independent creation worked out in his home studio. Meisner, Leadon, Souther and Brown are key to understanding the Eagles. Time to begin your musical education if you are an Eagles fan.

Classic L.A. Sound

This LP worn down many a needle on my turntable in the late 70s. This has to be one of the best records of the classic L.A. sound of the 70s. I never understood why Souther didn't have as many hit singles as a performer as he did as a writer. Anyone who likes great writing and perfect harmonies (not to mention the great high note at the end of "You're Only Lonely") will want to pick this up. After the single, take a listen to Trouble in Paradise, which is a great song and a significant improvement over the Southern Hillman Furay version. Great stuff.


Born: November 2, 1945 in Detroit, MI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While J.D. Souther may have made his biggest impact on the country-rock sound behind the scenes or in a supporting role to some of the bigger pop names of the '70s, he had an impressive and critically acclaimed series of solo albums that have unfortunately all but disappeared from music fans' radar. Born in Detroit, Souther was raised in Amarillo, Texas, which may help explain his stylistic roots in both country and rock music. He was in a band called John David & the Senders (also known as the Cinders)...
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