April 20

Linda Ronstadt is a bona fide superstar. From humble folk/folk rock beginnings, she helped usher in the laid back California sound of the Eagles and filled arenas and record stores with fans. Her mid and late 70s songs highlighted much of the soundtrack of my youth.

Her earlier stuff wasn’t played much once out of the Top 40, but Capital Records kindly put out a compilation of Stone Poneys and pre-Heart Like a Wheel stuff under the title Different Drum:

This was a bit of a middle finger cash in from Capital, as Ronstadt was jumping ship to Asylum after her next album fulfilled her contract. No Ronstadt penned tunes here, but a good mix of great writers are interpreted.

It’s been 30 years since I’ve listened to this LP and it really hasn’t aged well. The songs are great and Ronstadt’s voice is as powerful as I remember, but the quality of the recordings themselves is disappointing.

I can’t remember when I started to become so offended by dullness and compression of recorded music. Maybe the dynamics of (most) CDs beginning in the 80s and my live music antics in the 90s have ruined me for these “made for AM radio” pop recordings?

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