Hasten Down The Wind

Linda Ronstadt

Asylum, 1976


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Hasten Down The Wind was a transitional album for Linda Ronstadt. The year 1976 found her poised between the country/pop sound of Heart Like A Wheel and her move toward a more rock sound (which would flower on Livin’ In The USA).

This release has an elegant beauty to it, as the ballads and slower songs play to her vocal strengths. She used a number of new songwriters for the material, which includes three Karla Bonoff-penned tunes plus compositions by Tracy Nelson and Warren Zevon selected by Ronstadt and producer Peter Asher. She also stepped forward and co-wrote two of the tracks. The album was embraced by her fan base as it went to number three on the pop charts and topped the country charts in The United States.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

While most of the album focuses on laid back and gentle material, the one track which is up-tempo pop/rock is excellent as Ronstadt romps through the old Buddy Holly classic “That’ll Be The Day.” She fills in the sound and her vocal would look ahead to the next phase of her career. It would become another in a long line of hit singles for her.

Ronstadt’s style is similar to Karla Bonoff, a fact that’s very apparent in her interpretation of “Lose Again,” which has some nice piano in support of her vocal, and the poignant “Someone To Lay Down Beside Me.”

The gem of the album is her haunting interpretation of the title song, which was written by Warren Zevon. His songs always contain a depth plus some interesting twists, and Ronstadt takes this one and makes it her own. Farther down the track list, the old Patsy Cline hit “Crazy” receives a simple but booming vocal and was a top ten country hit for Ronstadt in 1976.

Her own compositions were interesting but not outstanding. “Lo Siento Mi Vida,” which was sung in both Spanish and English, reached back into her own family roots and looked ahead to her Spanish-language albums of the future. “Try Me Again” was written with long time bandmate Andrew Gold and is credible pop.

Hasten Down The Wind would win the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance. It is mostly a tender, back-to-basics release and as such holds up well over 45 years later.

Rating: A-

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