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Linda Ronstadt - Hasten Down The Wind - Original Master Recording CD Cover
Image © Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab 2009

Reviews of Linda Ronstadt
Original Master Recordings:
Don't Cry Now (2007)
Prisoner In Disguise (2008)
Hasten Down The Wind (2009)
Simple Dreams (2010)

Image © allstarpics.net 2009


(22 August 2009) Few artists approach their work with the grace and dignity of Linda Ronstadt. For more than four decades, she has remained one of the most beloved singers of our generation. One of the first artists to spawn our interest in female vocalists in the early 1970s, her career is a virtual testament to the idea that nothing quite lifts the human spirit like a good song. With an impresario's ear, and a voice that resonates with a haunting gift-like quality, she's crossed all genres, always defying expectations as to what a pop record should be.

Linda Ronstadt has released 29 albums and 60 singles, contributed to 11 compilation albums and has had four No. 1 singles. Wikipedia presents an outstanding biography and an equally astounding view of her full discography. Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs Original Master Recording of Hasten Down The Wind (UDCD 783, 2009) delivers the "ultimate listening experience" to Linda's timeless 1976 classic.

Ronstadt made her pop debut in 1967 with the Stone Poneys. It was soon after that she began working with Neil Young. "I sang backup on a lot of his records. He'd call up and say 'I'm making a record, come on down.' He had a recording studio on this ranch. We'd record all day and end up with so much stuff I'm still not sure what made it on to the records." Few knew in those early days that both artists would go on to rewrite pop history. With seven Grammy awards and over 50 million albums sold to her credit, Ronstadt says the only formula she's ever lived by is an undying allegiance to the slow craft of songmaking. With a platinum track record, it's obvious the workmanship has never wavered. Her love for the art of recording helped her form a long standing partnership with legendary engineer George Massenburg, whom she proudly calls a "friend as well as a musical guiding light."

"What I've always done is set myself in a traditional genre and tried to be completely faithful to what the genre demands," says Ronstadt. Whether it be rock, country, pop, or stylistic ventures in big band music, jazz, opera, Broadway standards or Mexican and Afro-Cuban music, Ronstadt has worked with an incredible dedication to her craft. Her albums reflect her virtuosity, overall style and tremendous vocal prowess. Photographers have captured evocative photographs of Linda Ronstadt for many years.

Hasten Down The Wind is Linda Ronstadt's tenth studio album and her fourth record to achieve platinum status. Mobile Fidelity has been setting the audophile standard for thirty years. Their 2009 Original Master Recording is presented on a Ultradisc II 24KT Gold CD. The twelve tracks were mastered at MSFL in Sebastopol, CA by Rob LoVerde on the Gain 2 System™. As with all of Mobile Fidelity's Linda Ronstadt albums, Hasten Down The Wind is also released in the GAIN 2™ Ultra Analog 180g LP format. The luxurious gatefold cardboard sleeve of the special limited edition includes a color booklet with full lyrics. The album cover presents one of the sexiest images of Linda Ronstadt ever published.

Hasten Down The Wind opens with Ronstadt's stunning 1976 single "Lose Again." And from the beginning of this Original Master Recording, as with their others, it is abundantly evident that MFSL's treatement of Linda's recordings is nothing short of tremendous. Her vocal work, backed with country styled arrangements, plays wonderfully on this release. "The Tattler" achieves its country-styled arrangements from the fiddle playing. Linda's voice glides atop the arrangements and forms part of the texture in backing harmonies joined by Kenny Edwards and Andrew Gold. Her vocalise at the song's conclusion is spine-tingling. The tender ballad "If He's Ever Near" is delicately delivered and mastered exquisitely in this recording. Ronstadt is joined by backing vocalists Karla Bonhoff and Wendy Waldman.

Linda drew significant attention at original release and subsequently for her rendition of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day." While the track didn't chart as high as one might expect at the time, it's longstanding use by cover bands and extensive radio play is a testament to both the original recording artist and Linda Ronstadt. A longstanding favorite track is the ballad "Lo Siento Mi Vida," with lush vocal harmonies by Ronstadt, Edwards and Gold and steel guitar parts. The hymn "Rivers of Babylon" is superbly performed by the same trip.

The album's title track is a sensually delivered ballad. Don Henley provides backing vocal work beneath Linda's sensually delivered crystalline lead. The album's stunning "Give One Heart" was surprisingly never memorialized with a single. Linda's soaring vocal lead is backed by rhythmic arrangements and stunning harmonies by album producer Peter Asher as well as Andrew Goldand Herb Penderson and her own layers. Sung alongside backing choral vocals by Pate Henderson, Becci Louis and Sherlie Matthiews, Linda's powerful voice delivers "Try Me Again."

Ronstadt's superb treatment -- blending jazz and country sounds perfectly -- of the Patsy Cline track "Crazy" is delicately reproduced by MFSL on this original master recording. This classic tune became a wedding reception classic following Linda's rendition presented here. A choir comprised of Gerry Garrett, Jim Gilstrap, Clydie King, Pat Henderson, Ron Hickland, Becci Louis, Sherlie Matthews and Bill Thedford, supports Linda's stunning lead vocal in the richly produced hymn "Down So Low." The album concludes with the hit single "Someone To Lay Down Beside Me." Linda is again supported with backing vocal work by Karla Bonhoff and Wendy Waldman.

Before "country" found its own section in the record stores, Linda Ronstadt effectively blended pop, rock and country in her own format. She is joined on the album by Karla Bonhoff, Don Henley and Wendy Waldman, artists who have also risen to fame. Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs have done Linda Ronstadt's work proud with their Original Master Recording of Hasten Down The Wind. Bravo!

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