Hummin' To Myself

Linda Ronstadt

Verve, 2004

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Hummin’ To Myself was released by a then 58-year-old Ronstadt during November of 2004 and is probably her last solo studio release due to her Parkinson’s disease. It was a return to the pop/jazz formula that had served her so well on a trio of albums with The Nelson Riddle Orchestra during the 1980s. Here, however, she eschews a big band and works with a small ensemble to support her interpretations of songs from The Great American Songbook.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

As with many of her late career albums, it found moderate commercial success. It only reached number 166 on The Billboard Magazine Top 200 Pop charts but did debut at number two on their jazz charts.

Her voice has remained intact during the course of her long career and has no detectable deterioration here. It retains its power, tone, and purity as it takes a stroll through some of the great pre-rock standards.

All in all, it is an acceptable album with a number of excellent performances interspersed between some average ones, which was typical of her later releases.

The best of the lot are primarily centered on her vocal skills. “Tell Him I Said Hello” is a smooth ballad with a beautiful vocal. “Never Will I Mary” is a jazz swing tune and the final notes are some of the best she has ever recorded. “Cry Me A River” is a cover of the old Julie London ballad that she gets just right. “Miss Otis Regrets” was an interesting song choice for her, as it is a dark ballad that spins a depressing story and is a nice counterpoint to the rest of the material.

On the other hand, “Till Be Seeing You” is an average cover and adds nothing to the original. “I’ve Never Been In Love Before,” “Get Out Of Town,” “I Fall In Love Too Easily,” and the title song all fall into the average range, which means nothing bad, but nothing memorable either.

Hummin’ To Myself is the final chapter in one of the most successful pop careers in music history. It settles into the average range but deserves a listen for presenting the last notes of a significant career.

Rating: C+

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