Good morning and welcome once again to Breakfast On The Blog. This morning I’d like to introduce you to an old friend, one whom, although I don’t know her personally, has traveled along with me for some forty odd years and been part of the soundtrack to my life. When I lived in Virginia back in the 1970’s I used to go out cruising to the department stores like Woolco, K-Mart and a number of others and sift through their 3 for a dollar, .99 cent or $1,99 cut-out album bins and come home with a pile of LPs. One Saturday afternoon I brought home a cut-out album called Constant Companion by a singer songwriter whose name was Ruthann Friedman. I put it on the turntable and immediately fell in love with its fine music. The songs are intricate intimate acoustic excursions that take the listener on a journey into the mind, heart and spirit of the songwriter. An excellent guitarist with a unique vocal delivery, Ruthann’s songs seep into the listener’s psyche like honey in hot herbal tea, a rich sweetening of the soul and senses.
“Looking Back Over Your Shoulder” from Constant Companion
Ruthann, who was born in the Bronx and grew up in the San Fernando Valley, north of Los Angeles is perhaps best known for writing the Association’s 1967 hit song “Windy” (which she wrote while living in David Crosby’s basement). Her work with Van Dyke Parks, Tandyn Almer and Peter Kaukonen, her friendships with the Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe McDonald and Janis Joplin all led up to the recording and release of her solo album Constant Companion on Reprise Records in 1970. It has been reissued (finally) on CD by Water Records and can be bought through any of the major online retailers. Two other compilation CDs, Windy – A Ruthann Friedman Songbook and Hurried Life : Lost Recordings 1965-1971, have also recently been issued containing a lot of previously unreleased material. I highly recommend all three.
“Windy” from Hurried Life : Lost Recordings 1965-1971,
But what I really want to tell everyone about is Ruthann’s latest release, which came out in the fall of last year and is titled Chinatown. After a long hiatus of not preforming and recording, Ruthann has returned with a masterwork. Beautifully structured songs, intriguing arrangements and her fine lyrics and vocal delivery all add up to what I consider to be one of the best albums to come out recently. She has rediscovered her muse (though I doubt that it was ever really missing) and delivered an inspiring set of songs, as good as if not better than her previous work. Available from Wolfgang Records, it can also be found at the major online retailers. And Ruthann, should you happen to catch these comments, please keep up the good work. Like fine wine you just keep getting better as the years go by…
The link below will take you to the official video from Chinatown by Ruthann Friedman.
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