John David Souther

Black Rose – 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. Three of Souther's first four solo albums are the subject of reissues.

Five years after his 1972 self-titled debut, "Black Rose" was released. Top-notch musicians were used and top-selling artists Art Garfunkel, David Crosby and Don Henley and Glenn Frey of the Eagles add their voices to the cuts. "Simple Man, Simple Dream," "Faithless Love" and "I Can Almost See It" may strike a chord with Linda Ronstadt fans because these are 3 of 10 Souther compositions that she covered through the years. The latter is presented as a demo on this CD, but all three are excellent. The one element that remains inexplicable in the music business is luck. There are many songs that were cut by excellent artists, and one version was a hit while the other is forgotten. Both were quality recordings, but one rode luck to the top. That seems to have been the fate of many Souther vocals. Once again, the original album is bolstered by bonus tracks.

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.