Jackson Browne “The Naked Ride Home”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#360 in the Series) is Jackson Browne, The Naked Ride Home

This album is generally not considered to be the best Jackson Brown album. That honor belongs to the The Pretender, or Running on Empty, depending on your tastes, or for my mine, Saturate Before Using, which contains two of my favorite songs, “Doctor My Eyes”, and “Rock Me on the Water.”

The Naked Ride Home, released in 2002, peaked at number 36 on the billboard charts, and was highly anticipated since Browne had not released a new album since 1996, the six years between records representing the longest recording gap in his career. Some critics have dismissed this collection, complaining that these songs don’t take us any place new, sticking to his tried and true themes of chasing his muse and delivering his political and ecological messages.

With all due respect I emphatically disagree with these critics. This collection is superb collection of songs like the title and first track on the album, The Naked Ride Home, that was probably meant to be more of a metaphor, but turns out to be lyrically suggestive. After all who hasn’t dropped his date off as “she gathers her clothes and runs through the yard in the dark” where you are left sitting in the car to wonder what just happened, deciding that you can just die right now because life is never going to get any better.
Of course Mr. Browne is no Gene Simmons when it comes to song writing, and proves it, with the Second track, “Casino Nation.” After all who wants to hear about naked chicks when you can absorb yourself in a world of people worshiping idols on the covers of supermarket tabloids, while we sell and market guns, readying ourselves for a perpetual war.

The album includes some fine Hammond organ work on “Never Stop”, along with some excellent background vocals provided by Marc Cohn. Keb’ Mo provides some mood setting guitar on “Walking Town,” that along with some layered background vocals, actually gives the song a Steely Dan kind of vibe.

The clear centerpiece of the collection, however, is the last song on this album. Do yourselves a favor, get a mix tape going specifically designed for your wife, girlfriend, or mistress, that starts with song number 10 on this record, “My Stunning Mystery Companion.”  Or better yet just make a CD with only this song on it and put it in her car so it auto plays when she starts the car. With an opening lyric like:

“What with all my expectations long abandoned
And a future I no longer saw my hand in
How I found you is beyond my understanding
My Stunning Mystery Companion.”

How could you go wrong? And this criminally ignored song only gets better. You can thank me later. Just name the kid after me after you get lucky when she gets home.

Listen to this album a couple of times. You will be glad you did.

—  Walt Falconer

Track listing

All songs written by Jackson Browne, Mark Goldenberg, Mauricio-Fritz Lewak, Kevin McCormick and Jeff Young, except where noted

  1. “The Naked Ride Home” (Browne) – 5:56
  2. “The Night Inside Me” – 4:38
  3. “Casino Nation” – 6:57
  4. “For Taking the Trouble” (Browne) – 4:25
  5. “Never Stop” – 4:56
  6. “Walking Town” – 6:20
  7. “About My Imagination” – 6:10
  8. “Sergio Leone” – 7:57
  9. “Don’t You Want to Be There” (Browne) – 7:35
  10. “My Stunning Mystery Companion” (Browne) – 4:53


  • Jackson Browne – acoustic guitar, piano, electric guitar, Fender Rhodes
  • Marc Cohn – harmony vocals
  • Luis Conte – percussion
  • Mark Goldenberg – electric guitar, hi string guitar
  • Jennifer Gross – harmony vocals
  • Greg Leisz – acoustic guitar, guitar
  • Kipp Lennon – harmony vocals
  • Mauricio-Fritz Lewak – drums, cajon
  • Val McCallum – electric guitar
  • Kevin McCormick – bass, electric guitar
  • Kevin Moore (Keb’ Mo’)- slide guitar
  • Jeff Scott Young – synthesizer, piano, Hammond organ, harmony vocals, Wurlitzer

Posted by Larry Carta

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