Personnel: J.D. Souther (vocals, guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, drums, background vocals); Chris Hillman (vocals, guitar, mandolin); Richie Furay (vocals, guitar); Linda Ronstadt (vocals, background vocals); Glenn Frey (guitar, electric guitar, background vocals); Danny Kootch (guitar, electric guitar); Al Perkins (guitar, steel guitar, dobro); Dan Dugmore (guitar, steel guitar); Ned Doheny (guitar, background vocals); Billy Joe Walker, Jr., Danny Kortchmar, James William Guercio, Josh Leo, Waddy Wachtel (guitar); Andrew Gold (electric guitar, piano, electric piano, background vocals); Joel Tepp (harp); Charles Veal (violin, viola); John Wittenberg, Robert Dubow (violin); Gib Guilbeau (fiddle); David Campbell (viola); Dennis Karmazyn, Ray Kelly (cello); Earl Dumler (flute, oboe); Paul "Blind Man" Harris (flute, keyboards); Don Menza (alto flute); David Sanborn (alto saxophone); Roy Poper (flugelhorn); Vincent DeRosa (French horn); Don Grolnick, David P. Jackson (piano); Steve "Golde" Goldstein, Randy McCormick (keyboards); James E. Bond, Stanley Clarke (double bass); Jim Gordon (drums, percussion); Ron Grinel, Gary Mallaber, Jim Keltner, Rick Marotta, Russ Kunkel (drums); Joe Lala (percussion); Don Henley, Peter Asher (background vocals).
Audio Mixers: Val Garay; Bill Cooper.
Liner Note Author: Garth Cartwright.
Recording information: American Recorders, Los Angeles, CA; Caribou Ranch, Nederland, CO; Pacific Recorders, San Mateo, CA; The Sound Factory, LA; Wally Heiders, Los Angeles, CA; Warner Bros. Recording Studio, North Hollywood, CA.
Author: Jeff Coffin.
J.D. (for John David) Souther was never a front-runner during the peak of the L.A. singer/songwriter boom of the '70s and '80s, but he was never far from those who were. His songwriting for one-time lover Linda Ronstadt and for the Eagles, which evolved out of Ronstadt's backing band, provided them both with some fine material (including the Eagles' "Heartache Tonight," "Best of My Love," and "New Kid in Town"), and as one-third of the underrated Souther-Hillman-Furay Band with ex-Poco frontman Richie Furay and original Byrds member Chris Hillman, he was briefly in the spotlight as a performer. Souther also recorded four solo albums, two of which charted but didn't really establish him as a major force, but until now his representation on CD has been slim. This British compilation draws from all four of those solos and Souther-Hillman-Furay, and reveals Souther to be a smart craftsman of up-tempo country-rock and ballads. "If You Have Crying Eyes," a duet with Ronstadt, is typical, driven by a shimmering acoustic guitar, Souther's plaintive lead vocals, the pair's close harmonies, and tight backing from an orchestra's worth of support musicians. The title track, by the SHF band, is a spirited tune from 1974 filled out by pedal steel guitar and Joe Lala's crisp percussion, and "You're Only Lonely," Souther's best known solo song, pays a respectful tribute to his fellow Texan Roy Orbison without really mimicking him. ~ Jeff Tamarkin