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4.7 out of 5 stars15
4.7 out of 5 stars
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This 1999 collaboration between Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt is more folk rock than country in its unique atmospheric sound. It opens with Loving The Highwayman, where the two share lead and harmony vocals. Written by Emmylou, Raise The Dead has her on lead, harmony and electric guitar on a moving tribute to Hank Williams and Bill Monroe.

They lovingly interpret Rosanne Cash's Western Wall, whilst 1917 is a slow melancholy ballad with some lines sung in Latin. The tempo picks up a bit on He Was Mine, a gorgeous display of interweaving voices, and on Sweet Spot, which is a type of brooding rock ballad. For me, the highlight of the album is definitely this evocative cover of Sisters Of Mercy. The simple arrangement does not stray too far from Cohen's original, but the harmonies are exquisite as are the backing vocals by Canadian folk legends Kate and Anna McGarrigle.

The next track, Falling Down is in the big rock ballad mould and is followed by the lilting Valerie, a gripping song of the road. Another highlight of the album is the Sinead O'Connor song This Is To Mother You that gets a fragile and tender treatment. Emmylou's composition, the mostly acoustic All I Left Behind, is very poetic and moving. The album concludes with Bruce Springsteen's Across The Border, a beautiful song of transcendence and hope.

Western Wall is a masterpiece in its execution, but requires some getting used to for devoted fans of Emmylou. Unlike all of her work, from Pieces Of The Sky to Stumble Into Grace, this album entirely lacks Emmylou's characteristic soulful expression. I award it four stars only in comparison to the best of Harris' work; as a folk rock album, it certainly belongs in the five star league next to the work of artists like Richard and Linda Thompson, the McGarrigles and Lucinda Williams.
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on 10 July 2010
I walked into a small old-style record shop in July 2010 looking for inspiration. Nothing is happening musically of note of late and then I heard it, whisping over me like a gentle breeze from the in-store PA. Two delightful and recognisable voices but together? this can't be !! I asked and was reassured that it was a duet album from Linda and Emmylou. I bought it immediately and played it consistently for almost 2weeks non-stop. I embraced it immediately but it took a little time to love...Cohen's 'Sister of Mercy' and Sinead O'Connors 'This is to Mother you' are sweetly sublime. Cash's 'Lost Highway' and 'Springsteen's 'Across The Border' are also excellent. Actually, not one bad moment on this one....Buy it! and don't wait as long as I did !
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on 26 June 2010
I bought this as a long term admirer of Linda Ronstadt and had heard little if any of Emmylou Harris's music. On first listening, there were one or two tracks that immediately stood out such as 'Loving the Highway Man' and 'Raise the Dead' probably as they were more up tempo. The remaining tracks didn't make too much of an impact. However after listening to the CD more and more the other tracks have grown on me. To me, this is always a sign of good music. My favourites are 'Falling Down' (has a dramatic and strident 'wall of sound' accompaniment), '1917' (beautifully evocative and I would have liked the latin chorus at the end to be much longer) and 'Raise the Dead' but all the other tracks are really enjoyable with perhaps, for me, 'Western Wall' being the weakest. This is a MUST to buy. Sit back and listen to over and over again, as I have done. I am now looking at getting other Emmylou Harris CDs.
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on 10 September 2001
The first five tracks blew me away, "Loving the Highwayman" is simply stunning, Emmylous voice on "Raise the Dead" is delightful. The quality tails off a little until "Sisters of Mercy" then once more until the finale "Across the Border". I admire Springsteen's ballads, for me this is one of the best of them, and the interpretation is breathtaking. Even during the less interesting tracks the voices are spellbinding.
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on 30 October 1999
Superb accoustics and vocals on this new album. The most striking track is 'Loving the HighwayMan' which the listener will find they must repeat again and again. It is an absolute knockout. There are so many excellent tracks I will not highlight any others. Definitely one of the best Cds of 1999. Signed: Mr N. Hamilton
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on 10 December 2014
Of my collection of 4,000+ albums this stands within the top 10 favourites. The quality of the song selection, production and the blessing of having two of the greatest voices in music history singing together equates to a sublime album. I can not decide which is my favourite track but would recommend you listen to 1917 if you have any doubts before purchasing. A flawless rendition of perfect songs that will stand the test of time.
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on 2 February 2016
I love this album , have done for many years , quality production and great mix of musicians on this album . I've given it to many friends and they all love ti.
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on 4 December 2015
Very enjoyable collection of excellent songs. Good delivery service.
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on 5 September 2014
Ronstadt and Harris, another great album
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on 18 May 2016
2 voices in perfect harmony, brilliant.
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