Classic Linda Ronstadt – Just One Look
1. You’re No Good
2. Tracks of My Tears
3. Heat Wave
4. Someone To Lay Down Beside Me
1. Just One Look
2. How Do I Make You
3. Hurt So Bad
4. I Can’t Let Go
5. Get Closer
1. Don’t Know Much (feat. Aaron Neville)
2. Winter Light
3. A River For Him
4. Heartbeats Accelerating
5. Anyone Who Had A Heart
This 2015 remastering of Just One Look was a big surprise for me. To start with, I don’t often like “best of” albums. Second, this isn’t the kind of music I think of when I think Linda Ronstadt. She was one of the most popular singers around when I was in my late teens and early twenties. She put together a string of platinum-selling albums and Top 40 singles. That’s the music I think of when I hear the name, Linda Ronstadt: her kind of rock/pop music and then my favorites, her recording with Nelson Riddle.
I didn’t realize her roots were in the Los Angeles country and folk-rock scenes. Heck, I didn’t even know Los Angeles ever had a country scene. I thought that was in Bakersfield. Still, this is a collection featuring some of Ms. Ronstadt’s most memorable songs. It is a 3LP album with material pulled from her first big commercial breakthrough – her cover of Michael Nesmith’s Different Drum – all the way through to her 1993 album Winter Light.
I’d call it a sort of a best-of album. It’s not an all-encompassing best-of album; it does include many of her most recognized hits including “You’re No Good,” “Blue Bayou,” “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” “It’s So Easy,” and the title cut “Just One Look.” I started by saying it was a surprise. That surprise came in two forms: music and sound. I found this to be some of the best recordings I have heard from Rondstadt. Many of the songs have a naive, light-hearted sound that just made me happy. The pressing and the sound were much better than I expected. So, I highly recommend this LP.
Dave Brubeck, The Dave Brubeck Octet
Dave Brubeck, piano
Cal Tjader, vibraphone
Paul Desmond, alto saxophone
David van Kriedt, tenor saxophone
Dick Collins, trumpet
Bob Collins, trombone
Jack Weeks, bass
William O. Smith, clarinet
1. The Way You Look Tonight
1. How High the Moon
This album was originally released on Fantasy in 1956, then reissued on OJC in 1984. For me, this LP was like finding old family pictures I hadn’t seen before. They might not be perfect, but they let me in on the emotions and experiences I had not yet known.
It was kind of fun to read the liner notes and see how full of himself Brubeck was. He announces that between 1946, when some of these tunes were recorded, and 1956, when the tapes were first “reissued” on LP, “very few released recordings” have “more musical importance” than the Octet. Also, there is a nearly seven-minute rendition of “How High the Moon.” It is narrated to show how jazz works, as the band plays the song over and over in short segments.
This LP is about the music and the performances, though. Hearing this dynamic group made me happy. The music has an abundance of tonal color, and the orchestral work is superb. I especially liked the contrast between the swinging “The Way You Looked Tonight” and the sophisticated string and horn playing on “Schizophrenic Scherzo” that could almost be called chamber music. One of the real treats is getting to hear an early Paul Desmond, William O. Smith and Cal Tjader playing together.
What about the sound quality? By 1956, when the LP was released, even Brubeck had second thoughts about the sound quality of some of the numbers. If you can only enjoy recorded music when it sounds superb, then this LP isn’t for you. If you’re the kind of person who can enjoy some great period jazz broadcast on a really good period console radio, then this is for you. If you like Brubeck, Desmond and Tjader then it will be a rare treat to hear some of their early – – and in my opinion, some of their best – work, and you should pick up this LP.
Steve Martin & Edie Brickell: So Familia
1. So Familiar
1. I Have You
Steve Martin has been a man of several careers. When I hear his name, I’ll always think of him as a “Wild and Crazy Guy” from his SNL skit back in the late seventies.
Yes, I can remember seeing him play the banjo back in the mid-seventies, but that was as part of his standup comedy routine. Then I read his biography and discovered that some people actually thought he could play the banjo. I was surprised, but then I begin to hear him on satellite radio and even once or twice on TV. S0, I thought ok, I’ll give him a try.
Let me tell you whoever those people are; they were right. Martin and Brickell’s LP Familia is superb. I had heard of Edie Brickell but had never owned any of her music, but this LP is a really good bluegrass album. The music is great; the sound is very good and I’m glad I bought it. I probably will buy another one of Martin’s albums. What a surprise and also a real recommendation.
Copy editor: Laurence A. Borden
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