Monday, May 18, 2020

Under The Influence: Greatest Hits Volume 1

I'm a stickler for the rules provided me for challenges and this one said nothing about 'best of' collections.  This was difficult enough as I really dislike making definitive lists like this, but I am thankful that I don't have to rank them.  Anyhow, this was possibly among the first couple cassettes I ever owned.  I think there were 3 purchased tapes -- one yet to be listed and a Star Wars Christmas -- as well as several recordings off of the radio.  I pulled Mom aside this week to ask her why she bought me this collection.  She said that she just thought they were good songs.  You can't get more to the point than that.  It was derided as a collection at the time as Linda Ronstadt was just hitting her stride and seemed to be too soon to release a retrospective.  More than 7 million have sold in the U.S. alone which, to me, means they were wrong.

Ronstadt's recordings set a high bar for female vocalists for me.  I believe that is reflected in my crates of CDs as I have leaned towards the bluesy pipes of an Alison Moyet and fewer songbirds like Linda.  I would also note the early part of Ronstadt's career was stylistically in flux.  Hear the banjo and fiddle on "Love Is A Rose"?  Well, the b-side to that was the Pop/Dance hit "Heat Wave" which is also on here.  (After 1984, I couldn't hear "Heat Wave" without "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" invading in my head.)  Then you have the R&B influence on "You're No Good."  "Different Drum" and "Long, Long Time" will always be peak moments on this collection.  So many great renditions of classic songs here as well.  What I'd like to really say is that, if an artist or album is going to make an impression on you and influence your musical tastes, it needs to fill a void or surpass a prior favorite.  This one did.

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