Thursday, November 27, 2014

Linda Ronstadt - Lush Life

This month marks the thirtieth anniversary of Lush Life, the thirteenth studio album from Linda Ronstadt. It was also the second in a trilogy of jazz albums she did with bandleader and arranger Nelson Riddle. This multi-Platinum album spent twenty-six weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 13. It also went to number 100 in the UK, number 38 in New Zealand, number 35 in Canada, number 32 in Australia, and number 8 on the US Billboard Jazz chart.

Side one begins with “When I Fall in Love”; as the second single Ronstadt’s rendition went to number 24 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. The original version appeared in the 1952 film One Minute to Zero. I like the arrangement on this one with the jazz guitar and light percussion.

“Skylark”, the album’s first single, reached number 101 on the US Billboard singles chart, number 12 on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, and number 5 on the Canadian Adult Contemporary chart. The original song was first made popular in 1941.

“It Never Entered My Mind” first appeared in the Rodgers and Hart musical Higher and Higher in 1940.

“Mean to Me” was first recorded in 1929. Her a girl asks her love why he treats her the way he does.

“When Your Lover Has Gone”, composed in 1931, first appeared in the James Cagney film Blonde Crazy. This version features a smooth and sultry sway to its rhythm.

Frank Sinatra first recorded “I’m a Fool to Want You” in 1951.

Side two opens with “You Took Advantage of Me”, a popular song from 1928. After a number of slower tracks that closed out side one, this one has an up-tempo, popping beat.

“Sophisticated Lady” began in 1932 as an instrumental by Duke Ellington. Words were added later by Mitchell Parish.

“Can’t We Be Friends?” was written in 1929 and appeared in the Broadway musical The Little Show.

On “My Old Flame”, a woman reminisces about a former love even though she can’t necessarily recall his name. She now wonders what has become of him.

“Falling in Love Again” comes from a 1930’s German composition by Friedrich Hollaender. The English lyrics were written by Sammy Lerner. The opening accompaniment on this one has a music box quality to it. It then spins out into a sweet jazz swing.

The album closes with the title track “Lush Life”. Written in the 1930’s by Billy Strayhorn, it has been covered by many artists including Nat King Cole, John Coltrane, Jack Jones, Donna Summer and Natalie Cole to name just a few.

Lush Life is a very mellow record that brings to mind a simpler time. Back in 1984, this was not the type of music I was heavily into. Still, it reminds me of growing up and watching shows like Lawrence Welk with my grandparents, where the singers often dipped into the classic catalog of American standards like Linda Ronstadt has done here.

For more from Linda Ronstadt, click here.

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