You're Only Lonely

You're Only Lonely

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.

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