(Part 2 of a 2 part series in which, the great, 1537 visits some of the most obscure, hard-to-find indie releases in his collection for your audio delectation)

I bet this one’s worth a bomb, surely no-one else ever bought a copy of the collected works of these obscure adopted Californians – sometimes I just have no idea how I get hold of these rarities, curios and obscurios.  So here it is, probably the only copy of Eagles Their Greatest Hits in the UK.

Eagles Greatest Hits 04

You know that fact that gets trotted out that in a city you’re only ever three feet away from a rat? I reckon you could replace the word ‘rat’ in that sentence with ‘the most commercially successful recorded output of the Eagles’, shorten the distance to two feet and it’d be 92% truer.  That this baby was released the year before the eagles released their most successful LP and single just boggles my ding-dong.  If they’d waited a year they could have elbowed off two of the wimpier ones from Side 2 and stuck ‘… Fast Lane’ and that one about the motel on it too.

Eagles Greatest Hits 06

I was given this LP back in September 2010 by a very kind chap called John who kindly gave me first dibs on a pile of records he was getting rid of, but I’ve known this music all my life.  It’s in perfect condition too, he sure looked after his albums and I have always loved all the early Eagles LP covers, this one particularly – I really dig all the indentation all around the edge of the LP and the embossed skull on the front*.  I was reading that the band thought it looked like the skull was resting on ‘a mountain of blow’, apparently that wasn’t intentional but damn pertinent anyway.

Not a mountain of blow. Nope, move along folks, nothing to see here.
Not a mountain of blow. Nope, move along folks, nothing to see here.

I have to say that Their Greatest Hits only really has three tracks on it that quicken my heartbeat, there are so many genius LP cuts that you could whack onto a ‘Best Of’ – I mean my fave two are ‘Journey of the Sorcerer’ which for several years when I was a small kid was my favourite piece of music in the whole wide world** and the greasy rocker ‘Chug All Night’^.  Unfortunately, because this is Their Greatest Hits I find that it favours the softer country/pop/pap/rock hybrids and that teeters dangerously on the edge of bland for me.

Eagles Greatest Hits 01

But I will forever love ‘Take It Easy’, it’s not a voluntary thing either – I just do; it’s hard-wired in me.  It is The Eagles in one hit, everything you need to know is right there, they’re selling us a whole lifestyle and ethos and hot damn it is an attractive product!  Everything is right, the lyrics, the music and the phrasing, plus I have a real thing for American place names in songs Winslow, Arizona is definitely up there with Memphis, Tennessee and Nazareth, Pennsylvania for me.  Let’s face it ‘Take It easy’ would have lost some of it’s sun-soaked good timesyness had you set it in Wales,

Well, I’m standing on the corner in Llandrindod Wells

Rain hammering down on me

It’s a girl, my Lord, in a clapped-out Ford

As disinterested as she could be

See? it just doesn’t quite have that joie de vive and raw sunshine that would endear it to generations.  I reach for this on sunny days the way some misguided folk reach for the Beach Boys.

Eagles Greatest Hits 02 (2)

‘Witchy Woman’ is another thriller for me.  It has just the right balance of drama, machismo and ridiculousness, which is no mean feat when you think about it.  This one always reminds me of Fleetwood mac at their Peter Green best, the offspring from a late night coupling between a green manalishi and an albatross.  There’s even a timely reminder of the evils of a certain white drug, ‘she drove herself to madness with a silver spoon’.  The other Their Greatest Hits, umm, hit with me is the slinky, sinuous ‘One Of These Nights’, which pulls off the neat trick of reminding me pleasantly of the Bee Gees*^, albeit one with some phat guitar action.  So good that I could feel myself shedding any moral stability before the coda, wobbling to my feet in my tight flared jeans and expensive hand-tooled cowboy boots, my aviator shades reflecting the dying sun hitting the Pacific, Margarita in my gnarled hand.

Eagles Greatest Hits 05

Now I have to confess to a violent allergy to country music^* and so the gentler, pop-country-inflected tones of ‘Tequila Sunrise’ and ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ bring me out in an intimate rash, although ‘Desperado’ has started to creep through my defences.  Great cover art aside, I really don’t see why the Eagles Their Greatest Hits has sold so many copies, especially only 4 years into their career, I fear it was just the convenience of not having to shuffle between four LPs to find your favourite paeans to shady good times in the sun; give me convenience, or give me death indeed.

This LP is never going to make an Eagles believer out of an Eagles doubter, but it can be an easy good time which is another reason 29 garglezillion of you folks have bought it.  Most of the time that’s not enough for me, but occasionally it just might be.

642 Down.

*embossing gets double bonus points hereabouts.

**because of the radio and TV adaptations of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy.

^First three tracks on the first Eagles LP?  Take It easy, Witchy Woman and Chug All Night.  That’s a pretty damn fine statement of intent.

*^things you think you’ll never type without someone threatening your immediate family #21.

^*and no, Johnny Cash doesn’t count – he’s different.  And neither does the Willard Grant Conspiracy because they are rootsy and fucking great.

43 thoughts on “Winslow, Arizona

  1. I know this one only too well. My old man has, quite possibly, the only copy in Scotland in his collection, y’see … the cover is really striking, which results in a ‘stop and look’ whenever I spot it (in a rare and obscure records stockist, of course) but then I remember how dull the contents are. I’m definitely with The Dude on this one.

    Joe Walsh, though. I like Joe Walsh.

      1. You couldn’t make it up. Should maybe ship one off to another part of the world, as it might upset the balance of things to have two so close to each other … may cause some sort of seismic event.

      2. If you could somehow see your way clear to sneakily destroying his copy I’ll go halves when I sell mine for million$.

  2. So what I gather from reading this is that there is a girl with the clap, in a Ford, she slows down to take a look at you, and sees your intimate rash. Got it.

    P.S. I think you might have a hit on your hands with your alternate lyrics.

      1. I had no complaints musically, but in hindsight I do now regret the limited edition ‘Pus Packs’ I sent out to promote the release.

  3. I like the Eagles (all apologies to the Dude). And this is a pretty damn good one-stop shop. Have you got Vol. 2 as well?

    Take It Easy is indeed just about Eagles perfection, and contains one of my favourite lines in a song ever. “We may lose and we may win, but we will never be here again…” That’s fuckin’ Zen right there, baby.

    1. No, I stop after ‘Hotel …’ they’re the only two LPs I have of theirs.

      I’m right with you there on TIE too. (hums tunelessly to self)

      1. Gotcha. Still, the Vol. 2 would give you the obvious tunes without having to buy all the albums individually… sorry, that was the collector in me trying to find a workaround… can’t shut that part of my brain off…

  4. I know what you mean by questioning this greatest hits album, especially, with the benefit of hindsight, their two best albums were yet to come. Your translation of “Take It Easy” to Welsh is spot on!

    1. It’s a crying shame, along with the likes of Dogpiss, Josefus and The Weird Boobs, I think with the right breaks and a bit of record company support these guys really could have done something. Damnit, it’s not fair!

  5. Wow. You know it was so commercially daring and edgy (the band were even taking inspiration from the avant garde works of Luis Bunuel) that the record company almost never put it out. Too experimental, y’ know 😉

  6. Guilty as charged…
    Be careful what this album boggles, eh? It’s a fine line between a ding dong and a ding-a-ling…lol
    I like “One of these nights” for the falsetto one of these nighhhhha ah ah ah aaaahhhhhts! Legendary!

  7. Surprised that no one has referenced the “dude” so far. Anyway, I’m happy with the first three albums. I bought One Of These Nights when it came out and within a few weeks it was in a S/H shop, swapped for what I can’t remember. The rest is “meh.”

  8. Johnny Cash is definitely the asterisk! I’ve heard students use the blanket statement of hating country, but Johnny’s excluded.
    Speaking of obscure entertainment, I always enjoyed the seinfeld with desperado, where the boyfriend went into a trance upon hearing you better let somebody love you.
    I appreciated the line about not converting doubters like myself – I admire the talent, but I’ve never found it terribly exciting. I may change my tune once I get to that motel one of which you speak

    1. I totally recommend the book Hotel California by Barney Hoskins – which is about the whole LA scene at the time and the transition from 60’s idealism to 70s cynicism – it’s a great subject, brilliantly written about.

  9. Comparing “Witchy Woman” to Peter Green-era Mac? I’d a never thought of that but I think you’re onto something.

    Call it radio overkill as a little kid sitting in the backseat of the family sedan, but me and the Eagles just don’t get along. I’m siding with “The Dude” on this. There’s moments when their songs seem less grating and not annoyingly laid back, but those are usually when I turn the radio station and just catch the last 15 seconds of a song. That’s about all I can take.

    The best thing about the Eagles to me was Joe Walsh. “Pretty Maids All In A Row” and “In The City” I still enjoy because I like Joe Walsh. Other than that, no thanks.

    It’s really all Don Henley’s fault. I’ll blame him.

  10. 1537 does The Eagles. Who’d a thunk it? Man you have some obscure shit.

    Anyway, couple o’ songwriting factoids: Jackson Browne co-wrote ‘Take it easy’ with Glen Frey. The wonderful ‘Journey of the sorcerer’ was written by Bernie Leadon, probably not the best known Eagle.

    My bit on HHGTTG is here:

    PS> If you reckon ‘Witchy Woman’ is even half, nay a tenth as good as Green Manalishi or Albatross, then I’m making straight for Northern Walesafornia (where the girls are warmier) and stealing some of that mountain of blow. True story.

    1. I do like some Jackson Browne – ‘The Pretender’ was a large part of the soundtrack to my childhood.

      I’d take WW over A most days- I’m sorry I’ve just heard it too many times, often as hold music on the phone. You’re right about GM though – It’s mean.

      1. No I read them as petty and cynical, occasionally nasty and blank – mean carries a leaner, hungrier, umm, meaning for me.

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