Song of the Day #4,159: ‘Shaky Town’ – Jackson Browne

When the Random iTunes Fairy first served up ‘Shaky Town,’ from Jackson Browne’s 1977 classic Running On Empty, I had no idea what it was. I figured it was a track on that album that I’d somehow always skipped, because the title seemed completely new to me.

Once the first verse started, though, I knew it very well. Guess I just never looked at the tracklist.

‘Shaky Town’ (named after earthquake-prone Los Angeles) was written by Danny Kortchmar and recorded live in a Holiday Inn hotel room in Illinois. Kortchmar played acoustic guitar and sang background vocals on the track.

Not to make this Jackson Browne post all about Danny Kortchmar, but I should mention that he also co-wrote almost all of Don Henley’s solo songs, making him one hell of a behind-the-scenes MVP.

I’ve witnessed those one night stands
Must have played in a thousand bands
But I’m just here tonight, tomorrow I’ll be gone
Seen folks show their blacker sides
Seen them die just for foolish pride
And those drivers always ask to hear that same old song

That’s a big ten-four
From your back door
Just put that hammer down
This young man feels
Those eighteen wheels
That keep turning ’round to take me down to Shaky Town

I’ve heard all those hard luck tales
From all of you U.S. males
I’ve heard you tell those lies about the love you’ve known
And I’ve followed those highway signs
And I’ve run down those thin white lines
Like those drivers this old road is all I call my own

That’s a big ten-four
From your back door
Just put that hammer down
This young man feels
Those eighteen wheels
That keep turning ’round to take me down to Shaky Town

One thought on “Song of the Day #4,159: ‘Shaky Town’ – Jackson Browne

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Well, it’s not as if the title isn’t right there in the chorus😄

    There is definitely a connectivity in sound between Browne and Henley/Eagles running through Kortchmar’s songwriting contribution.

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