by David Chiu
On her own recordings, Linda Ronstadt is a tremendously gifted solo artist. But when she works with other talented singers – including Dolly Parton, Don Henley, Frank Sinatra, and Bette Midler – the results are just as special and magical. This new collection Duets, which recently came out on the eve of Ronstadt’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, showcases those collaborations from the last 40 years – going back to 1974’s “I Can’t Help It (If I’m Still in Love With You)” with Emmylou Harris, through 2006’s “Adieu False Heart” and a cover of the Left Banke’s “Walk Away Renee” with Ann Savoy. In between are some of the big memorable hit duets with James Ingram on “Somewhere Out There” and Aaron Neville on “Don’t Know Much “ and “All My Life,” as well as pairings with old friends J.D. Souther on “Prisoner in Disguise” and James Taylor on “It’s Gonna Work Out Fine.” The set is graced with a previously unreleased duet with Laurie Lewis on Hazel Dickens’ “Pretty Bird” – in this a capella setting, one could really hear how the two voices blend so well. Then again, when you have Ronstadt involved in any collaboration, how can it not work?