Willie Nile's debut album was a crackerjack rock & roll record flawed by a thin production from Roy Halee that didn't let the guitars cut or the drums pound as they should. Nile seemed to realize this, as he opted to co-produce his second LP with Thom Panunzio, and together they gave Golden Down a much harder and more specious sound than Nile had his first time in the studio. However, Nile seriously overcompensated on Golden Down -- the opening track, "Poor Boy," booms out with the gravity of one of Bruce Springsteen's more grandiose moments, though the results play more like John Cafferty and get things off to a less than impressive start. Most of Golden Down suffers from a mix that goes for an epic-scale approach that overwhelms the material, though when it works, the results are impressive. "Grenade" is one of the best rockers Nile ever committed to wax, and "Hide Your Love" is tough and fiery stuff. But "Les Champs Elysees" sounds like a throwaway compared to the other eight songs, and it's significant that the album's most affecting song is also its quietest, the simple but heartfelt "I Like the Way." There are still some worthy songs on Golden Down, and Nile is in spirited form throughout, but this isn't the great rock & roll record fans were hoping for after his promising debut.
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AllMusic Review by Mark Deming