|LINDA RONSTADT: Don't Cry Now|
|RECORDING OF SPECIAL MERIT|
|Performance: Purely lovely|
Ah, Linda, Linda, when are you going to take me away from all this? I mean that in a musically metaphorical sense, of course, and I must say she almost did it this time. In fact, had not producer J.D. Souther (whose work on the sound-recording aspect of it is first-rate) imposed three of his own fairly weak songs into the program, I might not be here now at all. There are a few other trifles that nag me, too: Linda's interpretation of one of my favorites, Randy Newman's Sail Away, is clipped and lacking in irony, and I'm still not very impressed with Rick Roberts' Colorado, no matter how it's sung. The Newman song, though, is hurt by an approach that helps most material, and I'm fair agog at the rest of the album. Linda's tendency- unless she's swinging with a country tune like the classic Silver Threads and Golden Needles- is to underplay the drama of a song. This not only gets around the pomposity of forced dramatics that is built into many songs, it not only creates a subtler, more effective kind of drama, but it allows her to pay more attention to her phrasing, which is simply delicious. Silver Threads establishes that, if she declared herself a full-fledged country singer, Linda would be one of the best. The other really outstanding cuts are of Eric Kaz and Libby Titus' Love Has No Pride and, particularly, Neil Young's I Believe in You. There are no very weak cuts, except for the cold ones (mostly liverwurst) I toss to the cat to get him to keep cranking the phonograph so I can hear the record again.