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Linda Ronstadt - Linda Ronstadt (Remastered)
By Jim Moulton

After reviewing Emmy Lou Harris's first two albums this year and another CD called Timeless, this record kept coming to mind even though I had not heard it since the eighties.

In the early to mid seventies, Linda Ronstadt made some stunning country albums, very much like early Emmy Lou Harris. This record has some very country material for the most part and also more contemporary songs recorded in the old way. None of the songs on this album are included in any of the three different Ronstadt Greatest Hits CD's.

I was fortunate enough to see Linda Ronstadt live in 1973 at a small coffeehouse near Philly. Incredible intimate performance with Andrew Gold on guitar, Sneaky Pete Glasgow on steel and a drummer and bass player. Needless to say, a night I will never forget.

I did not have my old vinyl copy anymore which was released in January of 1972. So I had to get one online which turned out to be easy on Amazon. It was not released on CD by Capital until 1995 so the sound quality is just incredible, better than I remember. Capital does a fine job of remastering it's CD releases. The record was originally produced by John Boylan. Sounds as good as the quality of Rhino's "Very Best Of Linda Ronstadt."

Some of the musicians here include "Sneaky Pete" Glasgow and Buddy Emmons on the old timey style pedal steel, a strong factor in the sound of this record. Don Henley (Eagles) on drums. Glenn Frey (Eagles) on guitar. Mike Bowden on bass. Gib Guilbeau on fiddle (excellent fiddle throughout). Ronstadt on tambourine. Herb Pedersen on Nashville guitar (six string acoustic with lighter strings tuned an octave higher). They do not use this anymore, gives a great texture to the sound. 

Ronstadt's vocals are stunning, but I do not remember if Nashville cared, she didn't. I was not a fan of Nashville music when I started listening to Linda Ronstadt, though I was familiar with country music, being from Tennessee.

"Rock Me on The Water" (Jackson Brown), a country gospel tune opens up the disc on a slow syrupy pace with just a great song, very good melody and chorus with some great hooks and very thought provoking lyrics. Great steel and fiddle.

Ronstadt sings three classic country songs better than I have ever heard them done. She sings a live version of "I Fall To Pieces" (Cochran, Howard). Ronstadt lives these songs and with the old fiddle and steel, just incredible.

"Crazy Arms" (Mooney, Seals) is an acoustic ballad seething with emotion and JD Souther singing backup vocals. Sneaky Pete is incredible on the steel. The production and mix is incredible and Guilbeau adds some just great old timey fiddle.

Cash's "I Still Miss Someone" is just plain the best that I have ever heard this song done. Great backup vocals, more great fiddle by Guilbeau. 

Another standout track is her reading of Livingston Taylor's "In My Reply" - This ballad sends chills up my spine, great lyrics.

"I Ain't Always Been Faithful" (Anderson) - another great, upbeat classic country song with great lyrics and melody. "I have not always been faithful, I always have been true".

There is a total of ten tracks (three are live). For a short time in history, Ronstadt was as good a country singer as anyone around, this album proves it. I challenge you to buy it or at least sample it and be blown away by some real emotive, rich stone cold, country music. So glad that I got it again to hear, in fact the first CSO reader that e-mails me, I will send the review copy so you can hear it. Just send your address to
Jim Moulton.

Buy It Now!

Related Links:
www.ronstadt-linda.com - This is an unofficial site, but a good one.  

To visit Jim Moulton's website click here

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