Monday, 21 July 2014

"Hand Sown…Home Grown / Silk Purse / Linda Ronstadt” by LINDA RONSTADT (2014 Beat Goes On 2CD Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...


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"...The Long Way Around..."

This stunning 21 July 2014 (UK released) 2CD set gives us Linda Ronstadt's three albums on Capitol Records between 1969 and 1972. There's a lot to get through so here's the details for Beat Goes on BGOCD 1156 (Barcode 5017261211569)...

Disc 1 (61:35 minutes):
1. Baby You've Been On My Mind
2. Silver Threads And 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 `n' Roll
11. The Dolphins
Tracks 1 to 11 are her debut solo album "Hand Sown...Home Grown" - released March 1969 in the USA on Capitol ST-208 and September 1969 in the UK on Capitol E-ST 208

12. Lovesick Blues
13. Are My Thoughts With You?
14. Will You Love Me Tomorrow?
15. Nobody's
16. Louise
17. Long Long Time
18. Mental Revenge
19. I'm Leavin' It All Up To You
20. He Dark The Sun
21. Like Is Like A Mountain Railway
Tracks 12 to 21 are her 2nd album "Silk Purse" - released March 1970 in the USA on Capitol ST-407 and August 1970 on Capitol E-ST 407 in the UK

Disc 2 (31:47 minutes):
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. Faithful
10. Rescue Me
Tracks 1 to 10 are her 3rd album "Linda Ronstadt" - released January 1972 in the USA on Capital SMAS-635 and April 1972 on Capitol EA-ST 635 in the UK

The outer card wrap is now a feature for Beat Goes On and gives the whole shebang a very classy feel. The chockers 24-page booklet features detailed histories by noted musicologist JOHN TOBLER with reproductions of the original liner notes, period photos and musician credits. The sound quality is truly superlative (Andrew Thompson 2014 remasters - tapes licensed from Universal) - incredibly clean and alive. Fans will love this.

The first two LPs have the feel of an artist trying to hit that sweet spot somewhere between Traditional Country and Country-Rock and not quite getting there. Her voice is fabulous on Randy Newman's "Bet No One Ever Hurt This Bad" and Mickey Newbury's "Are My Thoughts With You" - the same on Paul Siebel's "Louise". She goes full fiddle country with the bitter Mel Tillis post relationship classic "Mental Revenge" and vocal Americana on "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway". The sound quality is superb throughout - vocal, Dobro and mandolin.

"Rock Me On The Water" opens her 1972 album and this Jackson Browne cover (from his "Saturate Before Use" 1972 debut album) is the first real sight of a template that would serve her for decades to come - covers of great Rock songs by quality songwriters known and unknown. I love the keyboard slink of "I Won't Be Hangin' Round" (an Eric Kaz song) and "In My Reply" is a rare take on a Livingston Taylor song (James Taylor's brother). The whole album is everything the first two should have been.

But better than that - her 3rd self-titled album is famous for being an early Country-Rock classic and for bringing together THE EAGLES who were at the time dispersed between the bands SHILOH and LONGBRANCH PENNYWHISTLE while doubling -up as Ronstadt's touring band. Randy Meisner, Don Henley, Glenn Frey and Bernie Leadon play and harmonize of six of the tracks and would release their debut album later that year with Ronstadt's blessings. Other notable contributions to the record are Herb Pedersen on Banjo and National Steel with Sneaky Pete on Steel Guitar. Three of the songs on Side 2 are `live' - the Hank Cochran classic "I Fall To Pieces", a truly beautiful cover of Neil Young's "Birds" and a boppin version of Fontella Bass's 1965 Checker Records Soul Classic "Rescue Me" (which finishes the album on a high).

I've really enjoyed re-hearing these records - and especially in such wonderful clarity and with liner notes by someone who knows what's what.

Yet another top quality remaster/reissue by Beat Goes On - and I can only hope they can get access to her Asylum Records catalogue and deliver it with the same sonic results.

This review is part of my SOUNDS GOOD Music Book Series. One of those titles is CLASSIC 1970s ROCK - an E-Book with over 260 entries and 2450 e-Pages - purchase on Amazon and search any artist or song (click the link below). Huge amounts of info taken directly from the discs (no cut and paste crap). 


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