These days.

Posted by $ Dobrien 2 months ago to Entertainment
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Well I've been out walking
I don't do that much talking these days
These days
These days I seem to think a lot
About the things that I forgot to do
For you
And all the times I had the chance to

[Verse 2]
And I had a lover
But it's so hard to risk another these days
These days
Now if I seem to be afraid
To live the life that I have made in song
Well it's just that I've been losing
For so long

[Verse 3]
Well I'll keep on moving
Moving on
Things are bound to be improving
These days
One of these days
These days I'll sit on cornerstones
And count the time in quarter tones to ten
My friend
Don't confront me with my failures
I had not forgotten them

Michael Hann FEBRUARY 9 2020
It seems to be treated as something of a miracle that Jackson Browne wrote “These Days”, a song of regret and remembrance, when he was 16. Certainly, it’s an uncommonly beautiful and lyrical song for someone so young and green to produce, but perhaps it’s exactly the kind of song a 16-year-old would write: maudlin and self-centred. For all we know, the line “Don’t confront me with my failures” refers to school exams rather than the countless disappointments of life.

“To me it was not a heavy song or particularly revelatory,” Browne later said. “It was just telling my truth, the truth of my life.” But songs mean what people invest in them, and “These Days” has become invested with gravitas. When you listen to Glen Campbell’s version, recorded in 2008 — not long before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s — the knowledge that he was entering his final years gives the song a near-ghostliness. When you hear Gregg Allman’s version, released in October 1973, and draped in weeping pedal steel guitar, you’re aware that a year previously he had lost his bandmate Berry Oakley in a motorcycle crash and his brother Duane to the same fate a year before that.

The status of “These Days” as a song of great sadness was probably ensured by the first person to release a version of it, in October 1967: Nico, the German model and actress who had sung on the first Velvet Underground album, could have made “Agadoo” sound like an existential cry for help. Browne had become her accompanist (and lover, though he was only 18 at the time), and “These Days” was selected for inclusion on Chelsea Girl, the album on which she tried to relaunch herself as a solo folk singer. Browne had written the song in 1964 or 1965, and the earliest recording of it — his January 1967 demo, entitled “I’ve Been Out Walking” — was rather more spry and upbeat. Nico’s version set the tone for the future.

“These Days” was perfect for her oddly inexpressive voice. Her version is lugubrious and glassy, drawing attention to the words rather than their delivery. “I've been out walking,” she sings, suggesting not a ramble so much as a stroll off a cliff. “I don’t do too much talking these days.” She was initially accompanied only by Browne on electric guitar (he had switched from acoustic at the suggestion of Andy Warhol), with strings and flute added later by the producer, Tom Wilson, to Nico’s fury.

Allman’s version rearranged “These Days” into something stately rather than frigid, and that was the arrangement Browne used for his own recording of the song, released the same month, October 1973, as Allman’s. Others have also departed from the Nico template. Terry Melcher — who produced The Byrds, and was briefly an associate of Charles Manson — recorded a chamber-pop version in 1974, with his mother singing back-up, his mother being Doris Day. The following year, Cher remade it as overwrought MOR (“Oh, these day-aya-ays”). In 2003, Paul Westerberg — a man whose weary, bruised voice makes everything sound regretful — tackled it as scrappy country rock.

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  • Posted by VetteGuy 2 months ago
    Thanks for the history on this song, Dobrien!

    I've been a fan of Jackson Browne since high school (a LONG time ago ...). His recent "Leaving Winslow" particularly appeals to the Route 66 fan in me.

    A friend of mine had this to say about his music:
    "I can't listen to Jackson Browne when I'm down. It takes me from depressed straight to suicidal".

    I have to admit, a lot of it is pretty depressing. But if I need to be pulled out of a funk, "I'm Alive" works as well as anything.
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    • Posted by $ 2 months ago
      When I was 19 and moving to so cal. from
      Minn in 1978. Driving through Winslow the radio was playing “running down the road trying to loosen my load , I’ve got seven women on my mind “ . Two other times songs were playing on long road trips that described the location and what I was doing at the time ..won’t ever forget those moments.
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