Back in the early 70's, I saw Linda Ronstadt sing at the legendary Capitol Theatre in Passaic. The bill was McKendree Spring, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles. Those were the kind of shows at the Capitol. Double and triple bills of incredible acts. Every week.
It was after her stint with the Stone Poneys but still in her country-rock period, when she looked and acted like a rocker chick fronting a band. Back then, there weren't a lot of them and I took joy every time I saw a woman up on stage holding court.
It's easy to forget all these years later just how big an artist she was. Covers of Time, Newsweek, six times on the cover of Rolling Stone, Eleven Grammy Awards, an Emmy Award and thirty studio albums... that kind of says it all. She was the biggest female music act at the time.
Eventually she left the world of rock and recorded Mexican songs, as well as Standards. She did them all wonderfully. Although she did write, she wasn't known as a songwriter, but man could she choose a good one. She interpreted some of the best of the day: Karla Bonoff, Warren Zevon, JD Souther, Andrew Gold, Bob Dylan, Goffin-King and Willie Nelson, to name a few.
Let's have a taste.
First up, a song written by the great, late Lowell George of Little Feat. The ultimate truck driver's anthem.
All attitude and voice, I love everything about this song and video. Written by Clint Ballard Jr., it's off the Heart Like A Wheel album.
"You're No Good"
The first song I heard Linda Ronstadt sing in Spanish was on Hasten Down The Wind, which is probably my favorite album of hers. The song is beautiful and powerful, especially when she throws in a verse in English to set it off.
"Lo Siento Mi Vida"
Usually if you decide to cover a song by Roy Orbison, you will lose every time. There aren't many vocalists able to compete with the velvet sound of Roy Orbison singing.
Then there's Linda Ronstadt taking on "Blue Bayou."
Written by Karla Bonoff and off Hasten Down The Wind, I should have included it in this week's No Strings Attached Twisted MixTape. Karla did it good on her album, Linda did it better.
"Someone To Lay Down Beside Me"
I could easily list another ten songs... or more. But I will end this with a Warren Zevon tune. While we all know Warren wrote some interesting and wonderful songs like "Werewolves Of London," and "Lawyers, Guns And Money," he could also write a beautiful ballad. As with every other song she has covered, Linda's interpretation is perfect.
"Hasten Down The Wind"
An incredible body of work, an incredible voice. Linda Ronstadt.