SD 5068 Desperado
Produced by Glyn Johns
Released on April 17, 1973
US CHART POSITION #41 . . . 2x PLATINUM RECORD . . . UK CHART POSITION #39
Find it at GEMM
SD 5068 cover
[high resolution scan]
 

A n ambitious country-rock concept album based on the real adventures of the Doolin-Dalton Gang. Some fans cite this as their favorite Eagles album, presumably the same people who were happy to see them ride with the Outlaws. Over the years, the hits “Tequila Sunrise” and “Desperado” have remained pristine while the rest of the tracks have grown dusty. In my opinion, there isn’t an Eagles album that doesn’t have its share of hidden treasures. In this case, it’s “Outlaw Man” (originally the second single), “Doolin-Dalton” and “Bitter Creek.” Though the album obviously has a pronounced country feel, the sophisticated harmonies and smart production suggest a hybrid of Byrds, Neil Young and Steely Dan: romantic, ragged and smug. I’ve had a similar reaction to other sepia-toned works like Tumbleweed Junction, Workingman’s Dead and Pretzel Logic. Concept albums are always a challenge because linear storytelling and songwriting pull the writer into two different directions. Do you write the music around the plot or hope that a plot takes shape through the music? Eagles put their talents on the table, cross their collective fingers and roll the dice that our familiarity with the outlaw archetype will fill in the gaps. And in fact Desperado looks beyond Bill Doolin to paint an everyman outlaw. The faithless woman, the final showdown, the studied gunslinger are archetypical elements that don’t appear to be part of the original Bill Doolin legend. Even in the structured environment of a concept album, Eagles show off a variety of styles. Listen to “Out of Control” trample over the ending of “Twenty-One,” and it’s like hearing the country and rock factions of Eagles at war with one another. We know which side eventually won that battle, but at the time Eagles appeared to be the second coming of The Byrds. Today, the legend of Desperado lives on as a paean to past outlaws, a memorial from the new gunslingers to the old.

TRACK LISTING

  1. DOOLIN-DALTON    (Glenn Frey/J.D. Souther/Don Henley/Jackson Browne)    3:26
  2. TWENTY-ONE    (Bernie Leadon)    2:11
  3. OUT OF CONTROL    (Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Tom Nixon)    3:04
  4. TEQUILA SUNRISE    (Don Henley/Glenn Frey)    2:52
  5. DESPERADO    (Don Henley/Glenn Frey)    3:33
  6. CERTAIN KIND OF FOOL    (Randy Meisner/Don Henley/Glenn Frey)    3:02
  7. DOOLIN-DALTON (INSTRUMENTAL)    (Glenn Frey/J.D. Souther/Don Henley/Jackson Browne)    0:48
  8. OUTLAW MAN    (David Blue)    3:34
  9. SATURDAY NIGHT    (Randy Meisner/Don Henley/Glenn Frey/Bernie Leadon)    3:20
  10. BITTER CREEK    (Bernie Leadon)    5:00
  11. DOOLIN-DALTON/DESPERADO (REPRISE)    (Glenn Frey/J.D. Souther/Don Henley/Jackson Browne)    4:50

CREDITS

GLENN FREY --
DON HENLEY --
BERNIE LEADON --
RANDY MEISNER --
Jim Ed Norman -- string arrangements
Glyn Johns -- engineer
Gary Burden for R. Twerk -- art direction & design
Henry Diltz -- photography & lettering

return to EAGLES discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
US April 17, 1973 Asylum LP SD 5068  
UK 1973 Asylum LP/CS SYL/MTCSYL-9011  
UK June 1976 Asylum LP K-53008  
GER   Asylum LP AS-53008  
JPN   Asylum LP P-10047Y  
US   Asylum CD 5068  
US   Asylum CD/CS 60627  
JPN   Asylum CD WPCR-11933  
JPN   Asylum CD WPCR-75127  

 

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