Archive for Linda Ronstadt

Rock Moment: The Day The Music Died

Posted in Rock Moment with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 3, 2012 by 30daysout

Repost: Published in 2009, still of interest today.


To this day, people still mourn the musical talent who died in a plane crash in the early morning hours of Feb. 3, 1959.  A small airplane, carrying rock stars Buddy Holly, J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson and Ritchie Valens, crashed only minutes after taking off from Mason City, Iowa, in a snowstorm.

The three had just played the “Winter Dance Party” and were heading to the next stop in Fargo, North Dakota.  Richardson was 28, Valens was 17, and Holly was only 22 years old.   Richardson, from Beaumont, Texas, was already a proven commodity with not only his own hits, but songs buddyhollyhe wrote – “Running Bear” for Johnny Preston and “White Lightning” for George Jones – becoming hits as well.  Valens influenced such later acts as Los Lobos and Los Lonely Boys and was the subject of a 1987 hit movie.

But perhaps the greatest loss was Buddy Holly – he was certainly one of the most original musicians ever, and a monumental talent in rock and roll.  In only two short years he had grown powerful enough to control everything he wrote and recorded and at the time of his death he was planning to produce music for other artists as well as his own.  Holly was the iconic rocker, the first to perform as the leader of his own band and the first to employ the now-standard singer/guitarist/bassist/drummer lineup.

If he had lived, perhaps Holly would have faded away or would have deteriorated like Elvis into a paunchy embarrassment playing Vegas casinos.  But I don’t think so.  You see what Buddy Holly could have been when you look at great artists who have survived and thrived over decades – artists with great integrity like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen.

Even though he had a relatively short musical career, and even though he was only 22 years old at the time of his death, and more than 50 years after his plane nosedived into a snowy Iowa cornfield, Buddy Holly remains one of the most important artists ever in rock and roll.

YouTube: Buddy Holly & the Crickets performing “Peggy Sue” in 1957

MP3: “Rave On” by Buddy Holly

MP3: “Not Fade Away” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets

YouTube: “American Pie” by Don McLean

MP3: “Buddy Holly” by Weezer

YouTube: “Rock Around With Ollie Vee” from The Buddy Holly Story biopic

Review: “San Patricio,” The Chieftains & Ry Cooder

Posted in Review with tags , , , on March 11, 2010 by 30daysout

The first few songs on the brilliant new album San Patricio are the musical equivalent of opening a surprise gift on Christmas Day.  A delicate Mexican flavored tune happily strummed on guitars suddenly takes on the flavor of an Irish reel, and singers in Spanish begin this unique musical journey.

This album is by the revered Irish band the Chieftains, known for their evocative instrumentals and all-star collaborations (The Long Black Veil, and the Christmas album The Bells of Dublin), and roots music curator and stellar guitarist Ry Cooder.  San Patricio tells the musical story of Irish immigrants who left their homeland during the Potato Famine of 1845 to begin a new life in America.  Some were drafted into the U.S. Army, fighting in the Mexican-American War only to encounter the same sort of injustices they left behind in Ireland.  Thus was born the San Patricio Battalion — Irishmen fighting alongside Mexicans against Americans.

The music on San Patricio (Spanish for “St. Patrick”) is continually astounding and engaging – guest singer Linda Ronstadt lends her tequila-clear voice to “A la Orilla de una Palmar,” to contrast the husky bolero “Luz de Luna” sung by 91-year-old ranchera singer Chavela Vargas.  Cooder’s weathered voice and shimmering guitar enhance “The Sands Of Mexico,” and even Oscar-nominated Irish actor Liam Neeson turns up, talk-singing on the stirring “March To Battle (Across The Rio Grande).”  The cast of guest performers includes legendary arranger Van Dyke Parks, Mexican singer Lila Downs, Moya Brennan from Clannad and Latin Grammy winners Los Tigres del Norte.

San Patricio is more than a musical history lesson or a curiosity for the NPR crowd.  It’s a treasure chest of surprising and engaging music and a tribute to the brilliance of Chieftains leader Paddy Moloney, who came up with the idea for this project more than 15 years ago.  It’s a great album, also perfect for St. Paddy’s day.

MP3: “La Iguana” (featuring Lila Downs)

MP3: “The Sands of Mexico” (featuring Ry Cooder)

The Chieftains official website

Ry Cooder fan page

Valentine’s Day

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2009 by 30daysout


Have  a good day, both you and your loved one.   

MP3: “Valentine” by Nils Lofgren (w/Bruce Springsteen)

MP3: “Heartbeat” by Denny Laine (w/Paul McCartney)

MP3: “Two Hearts” by Graham Nash (w/Carole King)

MP3: “Hearts Against The Wind” by Linda Ronstadt (w/J.D. Souther)

MP3: “Wavin’ My Heart Goodbye” by the Flatlanders (w/Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Butch Hancock)

MP3: “Valentine’s Day Is Over” by Billy Bragg

MP3: “Love Stinks” by the J. Geils Band

MP3: “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” (Promo version) by Bob Dylan

MP3: “Cupid” (live) by Sam Cooke

MP3: “Let’s Get It On” by Marvin Gaye


Lost Classics! Michael Nesmith

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , on December 30, 2008 by 30daysout

Mike Nesmith, in the Monkees

In 1970, after the breakup of the Monkees, singer/guitarist Michael Nesmith set out to carve his own solo career in music.  Along the way, he took a country-rock detour that proved to be his most successful period as a solo artist.  Hooking up with a group dubbed the First National Band, Nesmith cut four albums with the band for RCA in 1970-71.

The second First National Band single, “Joanne,” went to No. 21 on the pop charts in 1970.  Followups including the near pure-country “Silver Moon” and the rocker “Nevada Fighter” were nowhere near as successful.  As a songwriter, Nesmith had some songs performed by the Monkees (“Propinquity,” “Listen To The Band”) and a few of his other compositions were hits for other people (“Different Drum” for Linda Ronstadt, “Some Of Shelley’s Blues” for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band).

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Review: “The Stranger: 30th Anniversary Edition,” Billy Joel

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 21, 2008 by 30daysout

In 1977, Billy Joel’s career was floundering. He had recorded four albums with no hits and Columbia Records was thinking of dropping him. So he decided to meet with the greatest producer of all time, George Martin (The Beatles. Enough said). Martin liked Joel’s material, but wanted to use studio musicians. Joel wanted to use his band, so it didn’t work out.

He then set up a meeting with Phil Ramone, who Joel said, produced a lot of records that he liked. He invited him to his concert at Carnegie Hall in early June, 1977, and as they say, the rest is history.

Joel and his band went into the studio in July and finished The Stranger in late August. Nobody knew it would be his breakthrough album, as Joel puts it, “we just liked what we had done.” The first single off the disc was “Just the Way You Are.”

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