Picture this: all instruments were made into a table surface. The guitar, piano, fiddle, drums, etc were all just connected to make a rather jagged and smooth surfaced table. Now take a bottle of red wine and slowly pour it over this odd structure slowly, use as many bottles as you want.
According to Charles Baudelaire “One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.” I chose to frequently get drunk with music and Ronstadt’s voice is the most expensive red zinfandel you can purchase.
In 1973 Ronstadt released Don’t Cry Now. She was 27 when this album came out, which is surprising. Her voice had the maturity of an older adult, yet it still possessed hints of vulnerability. I believe that Ronstadt’s voice is one of the best voices of the 20th and 21st century. It is high, yet low, it’s soft yet hard. Her voice encompasses a wide array of adjectives of which I cannot list and would also make this post more like a grammar lesson.
For the most part, this is an album of ballads and soft rock songs, with a hint of country. The first stand out track is “Love Has No Pride.” The song explains situations in which one would have a sense of pride, yet how one has none when it comes to a certain someone. Rondstadt’s vocals slowly glide over this tune effortlessly. It is followed with the heavily country “Silver Threads and Golden Needles.” This song is classic and when it is done the right way an artist can never go wrong. She did no wrong.
The title track “Don’t Cry Now” is a song everybody can relate to. This song explains where everyone will find themselves at some point. Everyone experiences loneliness, being taken for granted, being emotionally or physically strapped, etc. Although the songs theme is quite somber, I interpret it as giving encouragement. One must get up, wipe their tears, and walk on. This song was also written by J.D. Souther of whom Ronstadt was later romantically involved with.
Side B opens with “Sail Away.” This is a great homage to the essence of being an American and wanting every person to experience this freedom, satisfaction, and happiness. Later, Ronstadt crones “Everybody Loves a Winner.” I couldn’t help but connect it to Cabaret’s “Maybe This Time,” but it is far from it. This song just comes from the loser’s point of view and there is no maybe.
The best track on this whole album is Ronstadt’s classic rendition of the Eagle’s “Desperado.” This has to be one of the best recordings not only of Ronstadt’s career, but in the history of recorded music. Her vocals sound effortless and lonely as she encourages the desperado to come to their senses. This is pure vocal beauty.
Recently, Ronstadt has released that she has Parkinson’s disease and cannot sing a note. This is a heavy punch to the music world and proves that talent can often be limited, but never taken for granted. She’s made us drunk many times, and hopefully she’ll be able to serve another glass one of these days.