Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thoughts on Linda's book, the McGarrigles, and knitting

This is my review of Linda Ronstadt's autobiography that I also put up on goodreads (the photo is on my Ravelry page):

I was a huge Linda Ronstadt fan through my young adult years. I will confess to being more of a rock n roll fan that a ballad fan. The heartrenching ballad does little for me. I love her loud versions of "Poor Poor Pitiful Me" and "Tumbling Dice."

This book is a story of her albums and career with little mention of former lovers etc etc, other than a tip of the hat to Jerry Brown. I love that she protects her children's privacy by barely mentioning them, and her Parkinson's disease diagnosis goes unmentioned. Good for her.

What she describes that I think is very important was her ability to follow her art in the way her soul (and not the music industry) wanted her to go, and her understanding that she was lucky to do so. I have not listened to her work with Nelson Riddle to any extent, or to her exploration into Mexican canciones. I did however sample a bit, and the beauty of her voice and development of her vocal technique in her post California country rock scene recordings is just stunning.  What was also a bit surprising is how incredibly well read and intellectual she is (sorry Linda, I just didn't know).

I loved the paragraphs about the McGarrigle Sisters who I also still listen to but also never saw live. My friend Susan has, and had them autograph a CD for me! . Linda says about them " They wrote heart music, indeed... Onstage their sibling dynamic made one think of unseparated litter mates. In the audience, it felt like we had entered their living room unannounced and discovered them squabbling, working out harmonies, or sweeping up after a boisterous party. They wore odd clothing, even by show business standards. Canadian are quite different from Americans and I have always though that, where clothing is concerned, they are more invest in quality , while we are more invested in glamour. This can make their tweeds and hand knitted sweaters (things I adore) seem stodgy".

And of course as a knitter (I knew she was one) was her discussion of knitting "Kate Taylor had taught me how to knit woolen socks on five needles and I told her about the pattern of hearts that I had plotted on graph  paper." In an interview with the Washington Post she briefly commented on what a loss her inability to knit now that she has Parkinson's Disease.

Linda also has strong respect for the home sewn garment, her Mother sewed clothes for her until she was a young adult.

I really enjoyed this. Her favorite quote is from Flaubert:   “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” 


  1. I love her albums with Nelson Riddle, and her turn as Mabel in "Pirates of Penzance"! Didn't know she was a knitter -- thanks for sharing! -- Jeanne

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