Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Linda Ronstadt - 'Round Midnight (1986)

Note: these releases were originally purchased as LPs, later replaced by this 2 CD compilation.

"If the darling of a rock singer cooing on standards is no longer a novelty, blame Ronstadt for doing it so well over the course of three rich servings."
-Billboard magazine, October 4, 1986

A two disc set that contains three albums: What's New (1983), Lush Life (1984), and For Sentimental Reasons (1986), released in October 1986, just in time for holiday shopping (box sets were also available on LP and cassette). All recordings of pop standards from the "American Songbook" with arrangements by the legendary Nelson Riddle. If the purpose of these albums was to introduce a new generation to these songs and the work of Riddle, they did. And delightfully so. This stuff led me to dive into Nelson's Ĺ“uvre and I'm still diving.

Now, thirty years on, I like these recordings even more than I ever have. Headphones recommended.

'Round Midnight peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #124
What's New peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #3
Lush Life peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #13
For Sentimental Reasons peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #46

Tracks:  In my book, Ronstadt owns all these tunes (with the exception of Lush Life, which is owned by Johnny Hartman) so there's no skipping, just two hours of pure bliss. Riddle's arrangements have no peer; people should just accept his arrangements as definitive. My favorites from disc 1 are What's New, Someone To Watch Over Me, What'll I Do, When I Fall In Love, and Skylark.  From disc 2: You Took Advantage Of Me, Can't We Be Friends, Bewitched Bothered & Bewildered, and Straighten Up And Fly Right. 

Personal Memory Associated with this CD:  The unique hat box cover of the Lush Life vinyl (below). The fact that my close high school friends all got into these recordings at age 17. Being featured trumpet soloist with my high school jazz band on an arrangement of What's New (there's a recording of that performance hidden around here someplace; it's better to keep it hidden).  It wasn't mine, but I know more than a few people for which this was their first CD acquisition.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Original Album Series (2012)

1 comment:

  1. This is such good stuff, a stylistic left turn after the relative commercial failure of Get Closer in 1982. Yes it was a gold selling album but it peaked at number 31 on the Top 200.

    Pretty sure this was the first CD I ever bought for my Mom, too. Think it was $30 maybe more. She loved it.