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The Best Of Linda Ronstadt - The Capitol Years
Review By Jim Moulton, CSO Staff Journalist

There have been two greatest hits albums, plus a couple of years ago, Rhino released a "Very Best Of Linda Ronstadt" which covered a lot of territory. 

Capitol snuck this two disc collection out this summer, a very smart idea. It is basically her four Capitol albums in full plus five really nice bonus tracks and boy, does it sound great, Capitol mastering genius Ron McMaster, did a stellar job comparable to Rhino work or possibly better. They also remixed the songs before they were mastered in 24 bit stereo (hi-definition sound). Linda sounds awesome, every instrument is audible and tonally great.

Her first country record after leaving the Stone Poneys was "Home Grown, Hand Sown", produced by Chip Douglas (Monkeys, Turtles). A combination of real country songs and still some Stone Poney influence, but a great listen.

She picked Elliot Mazer to produce her second solo album with Capitol, "Silk Purse". Mazer was recommended to her by Janus Joplin. 

Mazer produced "Silk Purse" in Nashville with a lean sound of some top flight studio players called "Area Code 615". Has songs like "Lovesick Blues", "Life is Like a Mountain Railway", with a more real country sound though her first album I thought was pretty Nashville country for the time period. A song called "Long, Long Time" on "Silk Purse" put her on the charts at #25 and gave her a Grammy nomination. What really strikes me is how different this song sounds than the rest of the album. It sounds lush and has strings, so different than the sparse country on the rest of the album. Love the production and tightness of this studio band.

Ronstadt ran into John Boylan at the Troubadour in LA where she performed sometimes. He put together a backup band for her in '71 ,including Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner and Bernie Leadon (later to become the Eagles). After honing their sound onstage, this bunch went into the studio to record her self titled "Linda Ronstadt" (72), which has always been one of my favorites. Boylan gets the best sound quality of any of the four Capitol albums. Some real country stuff, "Crazy Arms", "I Fall To Pieces", and "I Ain't Always Been Faithful". Boylans' pick "Rock Me On The Water" (Jackson Brown) was this album's hit.

About this time I saw Linda Ronstadt at the "Main Point" in Philly, a small coffee house which sat about one hundred. She had Andrew Gold on guitar and "Sneaky Pete" Glasgow on steel with her. A real memory, sitting about twenty feet from her while she blew away the audience.

Linda had a management change in the middle of her next album "Don't Cry Now" (moving to Asylum records). Peter Asher moved in to help finish it. This album had songs from her first country album on it (I guess to fill it out.)

They owed Capitol one more album, so Asher (James Taylor) produced "Heart Like A Wheel", which propelled her career with "Your No Good" being her first #1 hit single, "When Will I Be Loved" a #2 hit. This album really sounds polished and Ronstadt has evolved into a very refined, emotive country rock singer.

A real beautiful booklet comes with the set which is full of pics and has the Album covers. This is a brilliant idea and it is done very well. Linda was really on a creative move during these years. When Ronstadt moved on to Big Band music, I was disappointed, but she has had a full life of music and just released a new disc this year with Ann Savoy "Adieu False Heart". I would say this is easily the best of all best of Ronstadt Material.

Imprint - Capitol
Summer - 2006


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Disc: 1 
1. Baby You've Been On My Mind 
2. Silver Threads & Golden Needles 
3. Bet No One Ever Hurt This Bad 
4. A Number And A Name 
5. The Only Mama That'll Walk The Line 
6. The Long Way Around 
7. Break My Mind 
8. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
9. It's About Time 
10. We Need A Whole Lot More Of Jesus (And A Lot Less Rock & Roll) 
11. The Dolphins 
12. It Won't Be Easy (outtake from session; previously unreleased) 
13. Lovesick Blues
14. Are My Thoughts With You? 
15. Will You Love Me Tomorrow 
16. Nobody's 
17. Louise 
18. Long Long Time 
19. Mental Revenge 
20. I'm Leavin' It All Up To You 
21. He Darked The Sun 
22. Life Is Like A Mountain Railway 
23. He Darked The Sun (Nashville Version-outtake from session;previously unreleased)
Disc: 2 
1. Rock Me On The Water 
2. Crazy Arms 
3. I Won't Be Hangin' Round 
4. I Still Miss Someone 
5. In My Reply 
6. I Fall To Pieces
7. Ramblin' Round 
8. Birds 
9. I Ain't Always Been Faithful 
10. Rescue Me 
11. Can It Be True (b-side to "I Fall To Pieces" single-previously unreleased on CD) 
12. Long Long Time (Live @ The Troubadour 1971) 
13. Kate (Live @ The Troubadour 1971) 
14. You're No Good Listen Listen 
15. It Doesn't Matter Anymore 
16. Faithless Love
17. The Dark End Of The Street
18. Heart Is Like A Wheel 
19. When Will I Be Loved 
20. Willin' 
21. I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You) 
22. Keep Me From Blowing Away
23. You Can Close Your Eyes 

Related Links:
www.ronstadt-linda.com - This is an unofficial site, but a good one. 
CSO Review of Linda Ronstadt and Ann Savoy: Adieu False Heart
CSO Review of  Linda Ronstadt (Remastered)


To visit Jim Moulton's website click here

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