on April 10, 2014
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways ! My first album of Linda Ronstadt included Don't Cry Now, Sail Away and Silver Threads. The following year Ronstadt would make Heart Like A Wheel and became the household name she is today. Throughout my youth I searched for everything Ronstadt: Stony Pony albums, concert tickets, the Back In The USA picture disc with Ronstadt lacing up her roller skates. But the one thing I remembered clearly was that the cover of this new "Duets" CD was the inside sleeve of that first album. It's still as striking today as it was in the early 70's.
Linda's duets have always been highlights...classics. Yes, the Aaron Neville songs still shine even if they are a bit overplayed. But it's some of the hidden gems that make for a fantastic CD that will be played over and over. Hasten Down The Wind, one of my all time favorite tracks sounds as beautiful today as when it was first recorded for the album by the same name. Equally beautiful is Prisoner in Disguise.
Some will argue that the most beautiful duet ever done by Linda was "Heart Like A Wheel" with harmonies by Kate and Anna McGarrigle. Sadly that song is not on this collection. To be honest....sadly...this isnt a two CD collection since Linda's duets are THAT GOOD that it warrants a 2nd CD.
Here's hoping Rhino is listening....
on April 12, 2014
One can't help but feel that the new Linda Ronstadt DUETS compilation from Rhino Records is both a vindication of her greatness, and a bittersweet reminder of that same greatness. Its release comes in the same week that Linda gets inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; and at the same time, we all know that there won't be anything else brand-spanking new from Linda because her voice has been forever silenced by her Parkinson's condition.
What this compilation reminds us all that Linda was an ultimate collaborator with a lot of great people, whom she had a way of making better without overshadowing them with her four-octave voice. The case for this is evident in the rustic Americana sound that is on the first six tracks: "Adieu False Heart"; "I Can't Get Over You"; "Walk Away Renee" (with Ann Savoy); "New Partner Waltz" (with Carl Jackson, from the 2003 Louvin Brothers tribute album LIVIN', LOVIN, LOSIN'); "I Never Will Marry" (where Dolly Parton harmonizes, from Linda's 1977 mega-Platinum album SIMPLE DREAMS).; and the a capella bluegrass standard "Pretty Bird" that she recorded in 2003 with Laurie Lewis, but which never got released up to now. And we also get her good pal Emmylou Harris (who helped induct Linda into the Rock Hall) harmonizing on her take on the Hank Williams classic "I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You", which was one of the many tracks that made Linda's 1974 album HEART LIKE A WHEEL one that every female country and roots-rock singer sought to emulate.
Elsewhere on this heartfelt compilation, put together by Linda and long-time manager/producer John Boylan, Linda showed why that collaborative gene in her was a big reason she earned the respect of those around her. Don Henley harmonizes on the title track of her 1976 album HASTEN DOWN THE WIND; while J.D. Souther helps out on the title track of 1975's PRISONER IN DISGUISE (a song that Souther himself wrote). James Taylor helps out on the old Ike and Tina Turner hit "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine" (from 1982's GET CLOSER); she sings with Frank Sinatra on the standard "Moonlight In Vermont" (from the 1994 Sinatra compilation DUETS II); and for "Sisters", she sings with the Divine Miss M, Bette Midler. And then there are the two big hits from 1989-1990 that she did with Aaron Neville; and her 1986 duet with James Ingram, "Somewhere Out There", from the 1986 Spielberg animated film AN AMERICAN TAIL.
Of course, some cynics are bound to argue that including the Aaron Neville and James Ingram duets here is very schmaltzy, but I'm afraid that's their problem, and not Linda's. Everything here is one of many reminders of why Linda's legacy looms large over the American pop music landscape of the last fifty years, and not even her Parkinson's condition has taken that away. One can only hope more long-unreleased material by Linda comes forth from the Rhino vaults now that she is enshrined in Cleveland. In the meantime, DUETS will most certainly do.
on April 9, 2014
Linda Ronstadt began her journey int eh late 1960's with the Stone Poneys, and after Heart like a Wheel, she became the star she deserved to become. Her forays into punk "mad Love", opera, "pirates of Penzance" for which received a Tony nod, her Latin recordings, and all of her vast catalogue of music surpasses almost all female vocalists except maybe Striesand.
on this Cd, she amazes once again, I had not heard duets with Better Midler and Frank Sinatra, and a few other rare gems.
This is amazing for any occasion. very romantic and contemplative. THIS IS MUSIC!
this is an aside, directed to the reviewer who gave her music 5 stars and insulted her and President Obama on this site. you are a moron to be using this to vent and disrespect Ms. Ronstadt and the President on this site. you should be ashamed.
on April 10, 2014
Although I was not familiar with a couple of the artists who sing with Linda on this album, ALL tracks are excellent, and several have been big hits. Recording quality is super, Linda's voice is beautiful, and the selections are really good. An interesting retrospective. Love it!
on April 19, 2014
I grew up in the seventies listening to artiste like The Carpenters, Elton John, Fleewood Mac, The Bee Gees, ABBA, and The Eagles, While I knew that The Eagles started off as Linda's back up band in the seventies I never gave her music much attention. Upon hearing the sad news of her medical condition, which prevents her from singing anymore, I did some research and found that I knew most if not all of her hits from the 70's up to the 90's. I discovered her vocal range and her ability to relate so much emotion in her songs is fantastic .Her career covered a lot of diverse styles of music from Southern California Rock to Country, Rock n Roll, R n B and Spanish.This has lead me to believe that Linda Ronstadt has been one of the most understated singers of all time.
This new CD "Duets", is a welcome compilation but it is a small refection of the real artiste Linda Ronstadt is, since it only showcases mainly her country style with some of her bigger hits with James Ingram and Aaron Neville. Maybe a Part 2 maybe released in the future. However the quality of this CD is superb, Linda's vocals are clean and are up front during the entire CD.
While all these duets are gems that you would find yourself listening to again and again, some of the standout cuts for me are - apart from the big hits with Aaron Neville and James Ingram, I Cant Get Over You - Ann Savoy, Pretty Bird - Laurie Lewis, and Prisoner in Disguise - J.D.Souther.
I recommend this CD for real fans and also for people like me who needed to rediscovery Linda Ronstadt.
on April 13, 2014
What immediately becomes obvious when you listen to "Duets," the "new" album by country icon Linda Ronstadt, is that this record is a gem-studded showcase for how she bridged multiple genres and styles during her 40+ year-career, as well as the wow! factor it generates when you realize how in that period she collaborated with most of the biggest names in music on the planet.
With the exception of "Pretty Bird", a previously unreleased duet with Laurie Lewis, the other fourteen tracks were originally released between 1974 and 2006. Sadly, due to suffering from Parkinson's disease, which has left her unable to sing, Linda Ronstadt won't be releasing any new material, although she did choose the tracks and organized the sequencing of the "Duets" album herself.
The "Duets" album starts with three tracks from the 2006 "Adieu False Heart" collaboration with Cajun singer Ann Savoy, Linda's final studio album: the folk minstrelsy "Adieu False Heart," the mournful ballad "I Can't Get Over You" and a stunningly beautiful, spare rendition of the classic "Walk Away Renée." Then we move into country territory with the bluegrass "The New Partner Waltz," a duet with Carl Jackson, the folksy "I Never Will Marry" with Dolly Parton, the acoustic "Pretty Bird," an a-cappella duet with bluegrass musician Laura Lewis, and the Hank Williams country classic "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)," a boisterous duet with Emmylou Harris.
Then we move to Southern California country-rock with songs like "Hasten Down The Wind," with subtle harmonizing by Don Henley, the doleful ballad "Prisoner In Disguise," a vocal twosome with J.D. Souther, and the funky rocker "I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine," which couples her with James Taylor. Next we switch to the soulful "Don't Know Much" and "All My Life," both duets with Aaron Neville, and the sweeping R&B-laced crooner "Somewhere Out There," which teams her up with James Ingram. The album closes with the jazzy swinger "Sisters," a duet with Bette Midler, and the string-swathed, jazzy double act with Frank Sinatra, "Moonlight In Vermont."
"Duets" is a great album. But I would be remiss if I didn't mention there are some omissions from her vast duets-oeuvre that made me wish they had made this a 2-disc set. Especially as it was a sore point for Linda Ronstadt that they could only fit so many tracks on this CD. There's nothing from her Mexican recordings, or from her 1999 duet-album "Western Wall" with Emmylou Harris, nor her collaborations with iconic artists like Johnny Cash and Neil Young, to give a few examples. Anyway, I sure hope these other collaborations will be released on a Duets - Volume 2 in the near future.
on October 26, 2014
I have the original records, and CD reissues. This album extracts even more fidelity from the tapes. Linda's voice sounds great, and the dynamics are close to lifelike. The one 'new' song sounds much better if you add long reverb ("church" setting); otherwise the song sounds rather choppy. Recommended even for those who have previous CD reissues of Ronstadt's work.
on May 12, 2014
I have lots of Linda Ronstadt music and came across this duets that got by me somehow didn't know it existed so I had to buy and it's beautiful.Very sad that Linda can't sing anymore so it's great to remember how talented her career was for so long and the variety of music she did this duets is total proof.
on April 12, 2014
I love the CD "Duets" by Linda Ronstadt. I love all the songs on the album but there is one song that is very special to me. I highly recommend the Album. Linda's voice is so sweet and pure. I hope, they will put out some of her singles that were played on radio but were never put on albums.