One of Linda Ronstadt's key songwriters and the composer of several huge hits by The Eagles, songwriter John David Souther was an early innovator in LA's slick, studio-oriented country-rock scene. Souther had a long songwriting partnership with Glen Frey, co-creating Eagles hits such as "Best Of My Love," "Heartache Tonight," and "New Kid In Town." He sang several duets with Ronstadt, and sang with James Taylor on the hit single, "Her Town Too." Souther's biggest success as a solo artist came with in 1979 with the Top Ten hit, "When You're Only Lonely." Generally recognized as one of the great craftsmen of the '70s pop scene, Souther helped define the sleek, silky style of the Southern California sound. Here's a quick look at his work...
J.D. Souther "Border Town: The Very Best Of J.D. Souther" (Salvo, 2007)
Longbranch Pennywhistle "Longbranch Pennywhistle" (Amos, 1969) (LP)
A pre-Eagles Glenn Frey and songwriter John David Souther formed this late-'60s duo, playing gigs in the nascent SoCal country-rock scene... Backing them was a ton of top talent such as guitarist James Burton, steel player Buddy Emmons, fiddler Doug Kershaw and newcomer Ry Cooder... I haven't heard this one yet, but I sure am curious...
J. D. Souther "John David Souther" (Asylum, 1972)
(Produced by J.D. Souther & Fred Catero)
J. D. Souther/Chris Hillman/Richie Furay "The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band" (Asylum, 1974)
(Produced by Peter Asher)
J. D. Souther/Chris Hillman/Richie Furay "Trouble In Paradise" (Asylum, 1975)
(Produced by J.D. Souther)
J. D. Souther "Black Rose" (Asylum, 1976)
J. D. Souther "You're Only Lonely" (Columbia, 1979)
Sweet stuff! Of his records, this is one of the best... Most of the tracks on here are favorites in my repertoire, particularly the upbeat "The Moon Just Turned Blue" and the mopey, broken-love ballad, "If You Don't Want My Love," which is one of the rare, masterful triumphs of cheesy overproduction -- whiteboy soul packed with enthusiasm and immediacy. Oh, yeah -- the title track also hit the Top Ten Pop charts... That's why you used to see so many copies of it floating around on vinyl. Great record, still stands up.
J. D. Souther "Home By Dawn" (Warner Brothers, 1984)
J. D. Souther "If The World Was You" (MRI, 2008)
Souther returns to the studio after a prolonged hiatus, and longtime fans may find this record pretty satisfying... Some of the songs are willfully goofy and indulgent, but mostly his sense of mournful romanticism and his pop craftsmanship are intact. Latin American and Caribbean/New Orleans motifs are woven into many of the songs... Nothing on here really spoke to me, but it's certainly in line with his earlier work, and worth a spin if you're a Souther devotee.
J. D. Souther "Natural History" (Entertainment One, 2011)
Hick Music Index