Customer Reviews: Bluebird
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on January 12, 2004
Emmylou Harris' 1989 album BLUEBIRD is not an album that should be looked over. You'd be missing some of her best material. If for any reason, buy this album for the beautiful ballad "A River For Him", which she penned herself. This is one of my all time favorite Emmylou songs, and it showed early on that she is a great songwriter, something she proved with later releases in her career when she had more of a hand in the songwriting. She does a magnificent cover of Johnny Cash's "I Still Miss Someone". The album opens with "Heaven Only Knows", which is a great song to open the album with. "Love Is" is a nice uptempo song that would have been a good single. Her cover of John Hiatt's "Icy Blue Heart" is haunting and beautiful. "Lonely Street" and "Heartbreak Hill" are other great songs, the latter is another one she helped write. Overall BLUEBIRD is a great album that shouldn't be missed, some of her best ballads on here. The album closes with the beautiful sentiment on "If You Were A Bluebird". Don't miss this album!
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Emmylou's classic period began with her major label debut album, Pieces of the sky, and ended with her 1980 bluegrass album, Roses in the snow. After that, her subsequent albums for Warner were of a high quality but not generally of the classic standard set by those early releases. However, this may be the best of Emmylou's later albums - it certainly deserves to be considered alongside the early albums.
This album relies heavily on covers - nothing new there - but there are some great originals too. Heaven only knows (written by Paul Kennerley), A river for him (written by Emmylou) and Heartbreak hill (written by Paul and Emmylou) are all excellent songs.
The covers include You've been on my mind (Rodney Crowell), Icy blue heart (John Hiatt), Love is (McGarrigle sisters), No regrets (written by Tom Rush, a cover by the Walker brothers made the UK top ten in 1976), Lonely street (originally a country hit for Kitty Wells and an American pop hit for Andy Williams), I still miss someone (Johnny Cash) and If you were a bluebird (Butch Hancock).
This album contains a great mix of up-tempo songs and ballads. Because it was released along after her classic early period but before her change of direction that began with Wrecking ball, this album often gets forgotten, but if you enjoy Emmylou's early albums, you should also enjoy this one.
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on March 8, 2004
The Sopranos Season 5 premier "Two Tony's" has created buzz for a song that was released in 1989. The song is Heaven Only Knows by Emmylou Harris and it is found on this album. Overall, I think the album is good, and Emmylou is one of those artists that does not get the commercial success she deserves. I guess it took the monster poularity of the Sopranos to lend this album newfound glory in sales. As I type <March 8, 2004>, this album is #27 on the Amazon bestseller list. What a feat for a 1989 release. Good stuff. Thanks to David Chase and the rest of the Sopranos crew for making this album a hit again.
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on July 30, 2002
What a treat this CD is. It has everything an Emmylou Harris fan could possibly want, some rich cover songs, some inspiring songs, self penned songs and more. She wrote "A River For Him", which to me is the standout of the album. She expresses heartbreak so poetically and beautifully, and sings it so heartbreakingly. As well on BLUEBIRD she covers a few tracks. Johnny Cash' "I Still Miss Someone", which is so beautiful, and Andy Williams' "Lonely Street". She duets with Bonnie Raitt on the John Hiatt penned "Icy Blue Heart", about the games and tricks of love. The album closes with "If You Were A Bluebird", a beautiful emotive song about everlasting love. Other highlights include "Heaven Only Knows", "Love Is", and "Heartbreak Hill", but with any Emmylou album, you can't lose, especially when its BLUEBIRD.
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on August 8, 2000
I own a number of Emmylou's albums but this is the one I cherish most of all. The opening song,'Heaven Only Knows', sets up the CD wonderfully and every song is sung with a depth of sensitivity and emotion unmatched in so many other singers. It's hard to pick out the best tracks as each one has so much within it and I truly believe that this album has to be listened to as a complete package but 'Icy Blue Heart', 'You've Been On My Mind' and 'No Regrets' are unmissable.
This is possibly the most 'downbeat' of Emmylou's albums, dealing as it does with loss and pain ('I Cried A River', 'I Still Miss Someone', 'You've Been On My Mind', 'Lonely Streets')but this may be just what makes it so breathtakingly spectacular.
Buy it and be amazed.
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on July 9, 2002
Each time I play this CD I am amazed all over again at the range of superb songs from outstanding writers that Harris selected for Bluebird. This is all about love -- its infinite pleasures and heartbreak -- and seven of the ten cuts (a pretty skimpy amount I think) are off the chart excellent. From Heaven Only Knows through Tom Rush's No Regrets -- although in the lyrics it is immediately clear there are plenty of regrets from a lover who couldn't find a way to make the love that should have lasted stay -- the first five songs top those of any country or alt-country CD I have heard. I especially like the contrast of John Hiatt's barroom bleak Icy Blue Heart ("she came on to him like a slow moving cold front/His beer was warmer than the look in her eye") immediately followed by the giddiness of the McGarrigle sisters's Love Is ("Love is a shiny car/Love is a steel guitar... and my personal favorite "Love is your blue suede shoes"). Lonely Street and I Still Miss Someone are too oft-recorded for even Harris to bring much fresh to them, but the CD closes superbly with her own A River for Him and Butch Hancock's If I Were a Bluebird, a pairing that reprises the Icy Blue Heart/Love Is duality. The last lyric promises "if I was a highway I'd be stretching, I'd be fetching you home..." and then the pedal steel, the mandolins, and Emmylou's ethereal harmony sailing in the background do exactly that. It's perfect.
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on November 23, 1999
BLUEBIRD is one of my favorite Emmylou Harris albums (along with LUXURY LINER, BLUE KENTUCKY GIRL, and THE BALLAD OF SALLY ROSE). It is a fantastic album, with terrific arrangements, and Emmylou Harris' gorgeous voice. It is a great album to listen to in the car, or sit down and relaz with. "Heaven Only Knows" is the best album opener she's had in a long time. "You've Been On My Mind" is a powerful ballad. "Icy Blue Heart" deserves a medal, a great duet with Bonnie Raitt. "Love Is" is a great uptempo number, with beautiful harmonies. "No Regrets" and "Lonely Street" are sad songs for the century, updates of classics, and brilliantly performed. "Heartbreak Hill" show Emmylou's great songwriting talents. She delivers a beautifully arranged version of the classic "I Still Miss Someone". "A River For Him" is a treasure. Emmylou's moving song, is the perfect jewel for this sensational album. "If You Were A Bluebird" is also amazing, again her brilliant arrangements, and fascinating voice shine. BLUEBIRD recreates the magic of the ballads of the unavailable THIRTEEN, and adds better polish and sound. Songs like "When I Was Yours", and "Just Someone I Used To Know" would fit perfectly on this album. BLUEBIRD is outstanding, with ten beautiful love songs on an amazing album, with the legendary voice of Emmylou Harris. It is a classic Emmylou Harris album, no arguements.
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on April 28, 2006
If one were to ask most people, not to mention professional critics, what their favorite few Emmylou CD's were, I suspect this one would rarely make the list (I could be wrong, of course). But I were forced to take only one of them to a desert island with me, this one would no doubt be it. Why? Is it because its purely musical virtues surpass those of her other CD's? No, although I'd definitely say that it's the near equal of her best in that regard. What it's really about is an atmosphere, a spirit-- ethereal but with a breathing human heart-- that suffuses this body of songs from beginning to end, accompanied by a resonant fullness that echoes in one's depths long after the music has concluded.

Speaking of conclusions, the title track at the end of this CD, Butch Hancock's already fine "Bluebird", undergoes an outright musical and spiritual transsubstantiation in the hands of Emmylou and her band. Its instrumental coda is especially unforgettable, releasing the song and this entire body of music into blue infinity-- like a bird soaring into a desert mountain sky, crossing invisible thresholds and leaving the world of time and events far behind ...
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on January 26, 2000
Out of all the Emmylou Harris albums I have, this one is my very favorite! Nobody sings a ballad like Emmylou! Whenever I need to relax after a busy day, this is the CD I search for. If you do not have this in your collection, please pick it up. You will not be sorry! If I could choose one word to describe this album, I would simply say "BEAUTIFUL"
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on July 10, 2001
Bluebird has everything that Emmylou does best: covers of country classics, country interpretations of songs from outside the genre, and her own compositions that are just as timeless as the oldies she tackles.
Emmy's taste in songs is amazing. She has a reputation as a collector of great songs, and maybe the care she spends in seeking out songs is why she sounds as if she owns every song she sings.
She duets with Bonnie Raitt on Icy Blue Heart, a John Hiatt song about the cynical games of love. She covers an old Cash song, I Still Miss Someone, and makes it her own. She sings Rodney Crowell, the McGarrigle sisters and Tom Rush with the same asuredness.
And then there's the last cut, If You Were a Bluebird. What a beautiful emotion for Emmylou to leave us as she sings this song about love and the conviction of knowing your love is true and lasting.
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