Out buying music today in an effort to wash the day out of my head, I stumbled across A Tribute to Nicolette Larson. While best known for her cover version of Neil Young’s Lotta Love, Larson was one of the premier backup singers of her time. I first remember hearing her on Neil Young’s classic Comes A Time and I remember looking at the liner notes (this was pre-CD’s) to find out who ‘the voice’ was. It was Nicolette Larson. I had the opportunity to see Larson back-up Linda Ronstadt during the famous Ronstadt/Eagles/Jackson Browne/ JD Souther benefit concerts (tickets: $20) for Jerry Brown when he ran for president. Larson was the tiny one with the hair and the big but not showy voice. In the time of the gifted singer/songwriter she provided heft and soul to the California sound.
Anyway, they threw a little benefit concert in her name a year after she passed away to benefit the UCLA Children’s Hospital, and they have finally released the recording to CD. Bonnie Raitt, Jackson Browne, Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, and others performed and the quality of the performances is excellent. Highlights include Bonnie Raitt’s gorgeous version of Love Has No Pride, a very fine Up On The Roof by Carole King, a ragged but heartfelt cover of Lennon & McCartney’s In My Life by Crosby, Stills and Nash, and Even Cowgirls Get The Blues with the absolutely perfect Emmylou Harris backed up by Ronstadt, Mary Kay Place, Rosemary Butler, and Valerie Carter.
Proceeds from the sale of the CD go to The Nicolette Larson Pediatric Endowment, Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, and the David geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
You can read more about the concert and Nicolette Larson here and if you go and read the guestbook you might get a little kick in the heart from the first post.
Meanwhile, in other benefit CD’s, I listened to the Higher Ground Hurricane Benefit Relief Concert CD today, and while I’m a huge Cassandra Wilson/Diana Krall fan, the only song on it that floated my boat was Norah Jones’ cover of Randy Newman’s I Think It’s Going To Rain Today. I know people like to slag Jones for being unreasonably popular, but this is a beautiful version of one of Newman’s best songs. You can download it on iTunes.
I’d say something about the Arctic Monkeys Whatever People Say I Am Thats What I Am Not but I only got to listen to it once before it got passed around at work. I expect to have it back next week, but you’ll probably be tired of hearing about them by then.
Lastly I picked up Rabbit Fur Coat by Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, which you are unlikely to hear anywhere since it doesn’t fit in anyone’s format. Lewis, who fronts Rilo Kiley, has both a terrific voice and great style and the Watson Twins provide stellar back-up vocals. Rise Up With Fists!! is particularly good. It’s encouraging to see a young artist take a chance like his after a little success. She’s no Neko Case (who is) but she’ll definitely do until next week.
Oh yeah. Morningwood’s Jetsetter is the best single so far this year. Bite me. I like it.