Q - 8/00, p.1213 stars out of 5
- "...[Her] most successful album ever....continuing the commercial mix of classic and contemporary songs with stylish production values....emphasizing her great talent as an exponent of other people's work..."
Mojo (Publisher) - 7/00, p.128
"[She] is captured here at the pinnacle of her mid-'70s success....a 10-track collection of hand-picked country-rock covers..."
Personnel: Linda Ronstadt (vocals, acoustic guitar); Dan Dugmore (acoustic guitar, steel guitar); Waddy Wachtel (acoustic, electric & slide guitars, background vocals); Mike Auldridge (dobro); Charles Veal (violin); David Campbell (viola); Dennis Karmazin (cello); Don Grolnick (organ, Clavinet, electric piano); Steve Forman (marimba); Richard Feves (acoustic bass); Kenny Edwards (bass); Rick Marotta (drums, percussion); Peter Asher (percussion, background vocals); Herb Pederson, Larry Hagler (background vocals).
Also available with PRISONER IN DISGUISE on 1 cassette.
Personnel: Linda Ronstadt (vocals, background vocals); Peter Asher (vocals, guitar, percussion, background vocals); Richard Wachtel (vocals, guitar); J.D. Souther (vocals, acoustic guitar, background vocals); Don Henley (vocals, drums, background vocals); Herb Pedersen, Larry Hagler, Kenny Edwards (vocals, background vocals); Dolly Parton, Jim Gilstrap (vocals); Dan Dugmore (guitar, electric guitar); Mike Auldridge (guitar, dobro); Waddy Wachtel (electric guitar, background vocals); Charles Veal (violin); David Campbell (viola); Dennis Karmazyn (cello); Don Grolnick (piano, Clavinet, keyboards); Andrew Gold (piano, clavichord); Clarence McDonald (piano); Steve Forman (marimba, percussion); Richard Feves (double bass); Mike Bottis, Rick Marotta (drums); Pat Henderson, Karla Bonoff (background vocals).
This was the fourth in a series of hit albums Linda Ronstadt made in the mid-seventies, starting with HEART LIKE A WHEEL. Like its predecessors, SIMPLE DREAMS is a rich collection of pensive folk ballads, pop with country leanings, and good old rock & roll. Her skill in navigating this rootsy terrain is exemplary, taking her from the swagger of her cover of The Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice" to the sweet whisperings of the acoustic "Maybe I'm Right." This record also features some of her most enduringly popular hits, such as "Blue Bayou" and "Poor Poor Pitiful Me."
The rousing opening track, Buddy Holly's "It's So Easy" featuring her trademark growl, along with "Tumbling Dice" and the playful "Poor Poor Pititul Me," give the record moments of electrifying energy. It's the ballads, however, that comprise the majority of the tunes. Included are two traditional songs, "I Never Will Marry" (featuring Dolly Parton) and "Old Paint," both given simple but lovely arrangements by Ronstadt herself. The melodramatic "Sorrow Lives Here" is almost a hint of what is to come in the form of her collaborations with Nelson Riddle. Her artistry is perhaps best demonstrated in "Blue Bayou;" the shift from the quiet and husky verse to the yearning wail that is the chorus is nothing short of breathtaking.