Also available in a 3-pack with CELEBRATE ME HOME and KEEP THE FIRE.
Disregard the self-styled epic title track, a seven-and-half-minute indulgence that may be a bid for artistic credibility yet leads nowhere and doesn't have much to do with what follows. Nightwatch is, by and large, a more focused affair than his first. Granted, his first holds a mood better, a slice of great late '70s soft rock, but this has more pep and hooks, from the sprightly "Easy Drive" to a cover of Billy Joe Royal's "Down in the Boondocks" or, especially, the warm Stevie Nicks duet "Whenever I Call You Friend," which brought Loggins his first solo hit. These signal that this rocks a bit harder than its predecessor, which is true -- while "Down 'N Dirty" may not be filthy, even with its harmonica, it does hit harder than anything on its predecessor (which, admittedly, is on a relative scale). This does wind up as one of his stronger records -- and it was his biggest hit -- but it also feels more like a collection of moments, moving from originals to covers and back again. Not necessarily a bad thing, since this is professional soft rock at its finest, but in comparison to the seductive Celebrate Me Home and the tour de force of High Adventure, Nightwatch pales slightly. (By the way, what led Loggins to credit himself as Ken Loggins throughout the album credits?) ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine