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Reviews: Linda Ronstadt: What's New

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Reviews: 2

Review by threerandot May 10, 2012 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
In 1982, it was Linda Ronstadt's dream to record an album of songs from The Great American Songbook. She approached Nelson Riddle, the only one she felt would be right to help her make the album become a reality. Riddle worked diligently with Linda and the result is this wonderful showcase of songs.

These are the kinds of songs that were part of the hit parade before the rock music explosion of the 1960's, which pretty much wiped out these kinds of songs from being part of the charts any longer.

All of these songs are beautifully performed by Ms. Rondstadt whose voice is more than up to the challenge. Linda has a range and depth to her voice that will surprise those who have never heard her sing these types of ballads before. This is a dreamy album of torch songs that is just right when you are in the mood for something soft and sophisticated.

The sound is impressive, especially in surround which wraps and envelopes you in a warm and open space. The sound is lush and involving and I must say the surround mix by George Massenburg, who engineered the original album is beatifully balanced and warm. With this surround mix, it's like hearing this album for the first time.

Linda sings with great conviction and honesty. With this album Linda had finally become a fully mature artist who was willing to open herself to the material and show her vulnerability. She later recorded two more albums with Riddle, Lush Life (1984) and For Sentimental Reasons (1986), such was the success of What's New, which went on to sell over 2 million copies.

The packaging is also impressive, with notes from an interview with Rondstadt not included in the original vinyl LP, as well as some nice photos and the lyrics to each track.

"In rock n' roll we're all supposed to stand there and try to look hip and tough, and I was tired of that. So this was a more reasonable voice and attitude. I think this is my most authentic voice, and finally it came out." - Linda Ronstadt

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Review by Discspinner May 27, 2012 (1 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This SACD is an OK experience for me and could have been a lot better if there was better song variety. I found it to be a bit plodding after a while. It needs some toe tappers to go with the wrist cutters. Linda's voice dominates the mix, perhaps a bit too much.

The orchestration doesn't seem now to be as contrary/cool as it did in 1983 perhaps because Linda opened our ears a little with these recordings and some of us have since sought out older recordings of these classics.

The MC sounds sounds good but lacks the revelatory moments some remasters have. Out of all the great Warner's catalog, I am curious how this one was released on sacd so quickly. I like it but it seems like a second tier choice versus other artists.

I am glad I own it and will listen to it occasionally, but it's too relentlessly slow for more frequent listens.

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