Linda Ronstadt, "Simple Dreams" 40th Anniversary Edition (Rhino).
To be blunt, it seems like the 40th or 50th anniversary of some pop music wonder is happening at least every other week these days. This one, reissuing a new remastered edition of Linda Ronstadt's "Simple Dreams" with three new live songs from a 1980 concert performance, is more meaningful than most. Parkinson's disease has silenced Ronstadt and reduced to almost zero the possibility of another Ronstadt record. So everything she recorded is that much more precious.
This one exemplifies why fellow musicians love her records so much. It's not just that pop country voice, big as a barn or that impeccable taste in WHAT to sing or the musicians who loved accompanying her, it's the undeniable fact that when Linda Ronstadt sang a song it STAYED sung. No, of course, she wasn't quite right to sing Randy Newman's "Sail Away" (on another Ronstadt record) but no one will ever forget her doing it. On this disc, she sings the gender-specifically male song "Carmelita" by Warren Zevon and you'll never forget that either. Or, obviously, the big hit from the disc, Roy Orbison's "Blue Bayou." But when you get to Ronstadt getting Dolly Parton to sing both harmony and counterpoint on "I Never Will Marry" you're in all-time classic American music territory. Ten years later the two would bring Emmylou Harris into the mix to record the beloved "Trio."
Some all-time classic Ronstadt here from a singer whose recorded work tragically seems to be over.
4 stars (out of four)