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It’s been a very busy 12 months for Linda Ronstadt. Last summer she revealed she had Parkinson’s disease and is already unable to sing due to its effect. A few months later she began to promote her autobiography, Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir, granting a substantial number of media interviews. Oh, and did I mention she was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame this year.
Then just this week, President Obama awarded her a National Medal of Arts and Humanities. At the ceremony, the President said “I told Linda Ronstadt I had a crush on her back in the day.”
Today’s SotW is a Ronstadt song that you all may know, but one that I only recently discovered this year. “I Won’t Be Hangin’ Round” is my new favorite. It’s from her 1972, third solo album titled simply Linda Ronstadt (which I have a copy of) but I only really “heard” it for the first time on a various artist record called Country Soul Sisters. I’ve since learned it’s also on another compilation disc called Delta Swamp Rock Sounds From The South: At The Crossroads Of Rock, Country And Soul.
“I Won’t Be Hangin’ Round” was written by Eric Kaz who also wrote a couple of my favorite Bonnie Raitt songs (that Ronstadt also recorded) – “Cry Like A Rainstorm” and “Love Has No Pride” – among many others.
Ronstadt was fond of covering soul hits on her albums. “Heatwave”, “Just One Look” and “Rescue Me” come to mind. But even though she belted them out with credibility, she still sounded like a white girl singing soul covers. On “I Won’t Be Hangin’ Round” Ronstadt attains a truly soulful performance. The gospel infused background vocals provided by Merry Clayton, Diane Davidson and Miss Ona lend some authenticity to the sound, but it would be unfair to Ronstadt to imply that’s the only reason the performance works. She nails it.
The recording also benefits from the support of the Muscle Shoals house band including Barry Beckett on keys, Weldon Myrick on slide guitar and Roger Hawkins on drums. Those boys know a little bit about soul music.
Enjoy… until next week.