This is the companion album to the volume I reviewed last week. It basically gathers Linda’s most salient recordings at the time when her sound began diversifying in earnest. As I explained at the end of my review of Elvis Costello’s “Extreme Honey”, when that happens an artist might not make the best choices as regards which songs he or she ends up performing, and the way these are recorded. That was the case with Linda’s albums throughout this particular period, and as such this compilation has the merit of bringing the very best from those years that could be termed a bit spotty.
The album bears some hard-rocking numbers in the form of “How Do I Make You” and “Can’t Let Go”. The latter is a song which was made popular by The Hollies, as it is another song: the tender “Just One Look”. The album likewise includes covers of Buddy Holly’s “It’s So Easy” and Chuck Berry’s “Back In The USA”, both songs that (at the very least) equal the original renditions.
Other covers include “Blue Bayou” and “Tumbling Dice”. I like these versions, but I must admit that (in both cases) better live renderings exist.
Besides, a young Warren Zevon contributed “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me”, and the album closer is the powerful “Someone To Lay Down Beside Me”, a song that rivals previous compositions like “Long, Long Time” in terms of emotional intensity.
If you read the review of the previous volume, you already know the way I feel: it is out of the question to get one volume and not the other… but if you had to choose, I would advice you to go for “Greatest Hits I”. I wouldn’t sleep easy on it, because it means you would be deprived from a phenomenal set of recordings. It is just that the first volume would fuel your interest even more than this particular album. That is why I would go for it. Then, buy this one. I can guarantee no person “can’t let go” of Linda if he or she becomes acquainted with her like that. She is such a unique performer that I feel your introduction to her music must be as focused as possible, and that is the best way I can think of doing it. What do other fans think? Please, do let us know in the comments!
Would I recommend purchase of this compilation: Yes (but buy Volume I first)
Do I feel like digging deeper into her catalog after listening to it: Yes