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John David Souther

John David Souther – 2016 (Omnivore)

Reviewed by Larry Stephens

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CDs by John David Souther

J. D. (John David) Souther is best known to the masses for his hit "You're Only Lonely." He enjoyed another hit, a duet with James Taylor, "Her Town Too." Despite his talent as a singer, his greatest critical success has come as a songwriter, co-writing "Best of My Love, "Heartache Tonight" and "New Kid In Town" for the Eagles. Linda Ronstadt covered 10 of his compositions, and the list goes on. Along the way he was recording his own albums. though they failed to create as much interest as the covers of his music did.

"John David Souther," released in 1971, had 10 tracks including "Run Like a Thief" and "How Long," both covered later by other artists - in some instances decades later (Bonnie Raitt and the Eagles respectively). As you listen to tracks like "Some People Call It Music," "It's The Same" and "Out to Sea" you have to wonder why they didn't catch the imagination of listeners in '71. Souther's style shares many of the same qualities as the Eagles. Listening to the intros of some of the tracks cause listeners to say, "yeah, The Eagles," and then they realize it's Souther. It's music that's easy to listen to, easy to understand the meaning of the songs. Some music is harder to decipher than Aztec drawings, but not the tracks here. The reissue added seven bonus tracks: one alternate version ("Kite Woman") and six demos. The demos give you a glimpse of the path a song takes from the artist's pen to the album masters used to make the final product.

While Souther's success as an artist is more limited than his songwriting hits, it's not for want of ability. His music is good listening and hopefully these reissues will create a new interest in his music.