Picks and Pans Review: Which Way to Main Street
In 1969 a quartet of promising songwriters called Bryndle coalesced in Los Angeles and recorded an album. It was never released, but all four composers have gone on to make their mark. Kenny Edwards is a longtime member of Linda Ronstadt's band; Andrew Gold counts among his credits the gold hit Lonely Boy and Nicolette Larsen; and both Karla Bonoff and Wendy Waldman have flourished. Both these L.A. ladies have distinctive sounds and a penchant for writing love-gone-wrong songs. This is Bonoff's third collection, and once again it's produced by her old pal Edwards. She lets her melancholia lapse into hangdog ballads at times, but she can get away with it because of her affecting soprano and knack for breaking things up with lovely soft-rock melodies. This is Waldman's sixth album, but her first since 1978. She's opted for a style that's tougher than that which marked her delightful 1974 Gypsy Symphony LP. While this is not exactly a "concept" album, the songs fall mostly under the umbrella theme of an independent (but vulnerable) woman coping with modern romance. On Does Anybody Want to Marry Me she sings plaintively: "I feel the time slipping by/ I feel like a river running down to the sea/ Don't let that river run dry." Waldman knows exactly where she is going, and has a crack team of players including Peter Frampton on guitar to help her arrive in fine style. Rough rockers like Heartbeat may startle some of her old fans, but there are some nice samples of more characteristic material too, such as Lovin' You Out of My Life.
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