TRIBUTE: David Lindley

TRIBUTE: David Lindley

The first time I saw David Lindley – the American multi-instrumentalist who has died at the age of 78 – was in December 1976 at the Glasgow Apollo. He was there playing in Jackson Browne’s band. I can vividly recall him delivering a rousing jig and reel on his violin in a sterling effort to get the audience up on their feet and dancing in order to try and keep us all warm on what was a bitterly cold winter’s night in that huge cavernous venue. 

David Lindley’s association with Jackson Browne had started more than four years earlier and he plays on Browne’s For Everyman album from 1973. His sprightly electric guitar on ‘Take It Easy’ and the most beautifully understated slide guitar on ‘These Days’ are amongst his prominent contributions to that record.  If anything, Lindley’s input on Late for the Sky from the following year is even more impressive. His guitar work on the album’s imperious title track is simply stunning. 

David Lindley was then to step centre stage on Browne’s 1977’s multiplatinum album, Running on Empty, where he plays an indelible lap steel solo on the album’s title track and shares lead vocals with Browne on the hit cover version of Maurice Williams’ ‘Stay’.

David Lindley on the Acoustic Stage at Glastonbury Festival, 27th June 2010

Beyond his work with Jackson Browne, David Lindley had previously been a member of the late ’60s American psychedelic folk-rock outfit Kaleidoscope, played on Leonard Cohen‘s 1967 debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, gone on to be a member of Terry Reid’s band in the early ’70s, and then made significant contributions to recordings and live performances by Warren Zevon (who was the support act at that Glasgow Apollo show in 1976), his cousin Linda Ronstadt, Curtis MayfieldDolly PartonGraham NashDavid CrosbyBruce SpringsteenRy Cooder, and many more major artists besides.

I was to see David Lindley once more in concert, this time in 2010 at the Glastonbury Festival where he was reunited with Jackson Browne. It was a personal thrill to hear them again perform ‘Late For The Sky’ – with David Lindley on acoustic guitar – and end what was a wonderful set with a rousing version of ‘Take It Easy’ where Lindley’s sparkling fiddle added to the song’s great impetus.  

Photos: Simon Godley

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