Happy Friday, friends! It’s looking a lot less like winter out there, and morning light is working hard to get through the haze as I sit by the window writing. I appreciate the sun’s work as our orbit spins us closer to it for spring and summer. It’s a perfect day for a beautiful song sung by three of music’s all-time treasures.
Recently, my sweety and I watched a documentary on Linda Ronstadt’s career and life so far. Ronstadt’s voice was remarkable during her career; I didn’t know until recently that she had to stop performing due to deterioration of her voice, reportedly as a result of a degenerative condition similar to Parkinson’s disease. Her condition first appeared in 2000 and by 2011 she had retired from making music. One of her last songs was a collaboration with The Chieftains (whose union with The Rankin Family was featured here on February 4, 2020).
I remember Ronstadt being a huge hit in the rock world in the 1970s, though she spanned several genres in those years and beyond, including pop, country, Latin, and light opera. Aside from today’s song, the only material I have of hers is the 1978 long-play record, Living in the USA. I recall her appearing on numerous TV shows when she was at her peak in performing, recording and touring. She was the most successful woman in popular music at that time. What a life that must have been, on tour playing to massive crowds!
The USA cover art of Ronstadt in roller skates reminds me of my youth when roller skating made a big comeback, and there were I think two newer rinks in the suburbs in addition to the old, wooden-floored one in Winnipeg’s downtown. I spent many a Saturday in the newer one in Fort Garry with friends and may have had a date or two to go there (though dating as one who didn’t get his driver’s licence until 19 was a bit interesting… if it wasn’t a double-date with a driving friend, it was awkward).
Anyway, today’s song came later in Ronstadt’s career. After we watched the documentary, Sweety had her iPad out and was looking for Ronstadt’s trios with Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. After several attempts to make it happen, the trio recorded albums in 1987 (Trio) and 1999 (Trio II). “After the Gold Rush” is on the second volume. It’s a lovely song by Neil Young; his recording of it is superb, though this version with the harmony of the three beautiful voices makes it quite magical.
In 2016, Rhino Entertainment released the two previous CDs, plus previously unrelated material in a three-CD set, The Complete Trio Collection, a deluxe version with 41 tracks. Having bought today’s song on iTunes, I’ve got my eye on the other 40.
Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy.
Here’s the official video from the “Trio II” playlist on Linda Ronstadt’s YouTube channel: