Review by David Bowling
Linda Ronstadt’s recent induction into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame was bittersweet as she was unable to perform because of her being afflicted with Parkinson’s disease.
She was a superstar of the 1970s and 1980s selling tens of millions of albums and singles and charting dozens of times on the pop and country charts. She changed careers a number of times including a successful three album series with Nelson Riddle and His Orchestra and then exploring her Latin roots.
In conjunction with her entering The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, an album titled Duets has just been released. The tracks are culled from her performances with a number of musical partners down through the years. It is in many ways a niche album. It may not be the best of her material but it brings together her work with other people into one place for the first time.
“Hasten Down The Wind” (Don Henley), “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still In Love With You)” (Emmylou Harris), “Sisters” (Bette Midler), “I Will Never Marry” (Dolly Parton), and “Moonlight In Vermont” (Frank Sinatra) are all good examples of her ability to combine her voice with others of various styles, plus they hold up surprisingly well with the passage of time.
Possibly the gem of the album is an acapella bluegrass type performance of “Pretty Bird” with Laurie Lewis.
Duets may not be the best place to start when exploring the Ronstadt legacy but it can quickly become a guilty pleasure as it presents an often over looked part of her career.