Tag Archives: Saturday Night

Eagles, Chapter II – Desperado (1973)

Members: Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner

Desperado is the only studio release in the catalogue of the Eagles that was conceived as a concept album, and that fact alone could have meant this second offering was also their last.

It is the difficult second album – the one that has made many artists and broken so many more. Desperado shows the confidence of the Eagles to take their sound in a different direction, and the skill to do so without seeming like they areĀ  just trying to find a new audience.

Doolin-Dalton (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / JD Souther / Jackson Browne)
Leads – Frey & Henley
From the evocative opening mouth organ, this is a great scene-setter that tells a good story. One of their finest album-only tracks. 8

Twenty-One (Bernie Leadon)
Lead – Leadon
Not one of my favourites, but it’s upbeat, very short, and the country sound is more reminiscent of their debut album than anything they would produce in later years. 5

Out of Control (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Tom Nixon)
Lead – Frey
Probably the hardest vocal Frey ever laid down for the Eagles, on top of a drum-heavy track. The title is apropos, because at times this feels more like a jamming session than a song the Eagles released. 6

Tequila Sunrise (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Frey
This is an Eagles staple, but I have always found this song to be a little overrated, probably because it is played so damn often. Not a bad song – the Eagles don’t really do those – but far from their best effort. 6

Desperado (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
This is another familiar number, even to the casual ear. It is also one of the best songs that came out of the Henley/Frey writing partnership, and one of a handful of tracks that is synonymous with the band. It’s hard to hear anybody other than Don Henley singing this one. 9

Certain Kind of Fool (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Randy Meisner)
Lead – Meisner
This is Meisner’s only vocal lead on this album, but this is his finest hour. He always sounds good, but he connects here with every line and he sounds great. 9

Doolin-Dalton (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / JD Souther / Jackson Browne)
It’s difficult to judge this as it’s an extremely brief banjo interlude that segues beautifully into…

Outlaw Man (David Blue)
Lead – Frey
…Frey’s best song on the album. I still think that Glenn’s voice is more suited to something in a softer genre, but his work on the first two albums suggest he wants a rougher edge to his tunes. 7

Saturday Night (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Randy Meisner / Bernie Leadon)
Lead – Henley
This Spanish-infused song is the only one credited to the original four members of the band, and it has grown on me over the years. I never used to get it, but I have learned to appreciate it over the years. 7

Bitter Creek (Bernie Leadon)
Lead – Leadon
A good song, and a very good fit for Leadon’s voice. The track keeps hinting that it wants to go somewhere else, but it never does. 7

Doolin-Dalton/Desperado (reprise) (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / JD Souther / Jackson Browne)
Lead – Henley
I like Doolin-Dalton and I like Desperado. Individually they are excellent songs. So together they must be amazing, right? Well… not really. It’s a case of the whole not being as great as the sum of its parts. Stilll good, but this mash-up is not as strong an end credit sequence as I had hoped for. 7

Overall: 71%
This could have ended up all kinds of wrong, but instead, Desperado is a definite improvement over their debut album. At least a couple of the songs on offer are right there in the conversation for the best tracks that the Eagles ever released.