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Fabulous Friday: "Blue Bayou"

I'm finishing my tribute to Linda Ronstadt with my favorite song of hers, "Blue Bayou." The melody of this song has an unusual geography. Please allow me to outline it:


It starts with four notes at the bottom of her range, let's call them 1, 2, 3, 4. Her voice is quiet and a little husky. The first eight lines of the song, those are the only four notes she sings - - the hamonies change around her, but she sticks to those four notes.


Then at "I'm goin' back someday" (1:02 in the video below) she goes up an octave and her voice is powerful and insistent. She's singing the same four notes (1, 2, 3, 4) in a higher register, with a slightly different contour. On the words "fishing boats" (1:23), she goes one note higher (5!), and it's got an impact. Then at the end of the verse, "if I could only see" (1:29), she fills in the missing notes, the notes in between those two poles, and her voice is tender and wistful.


Same story with the second verse. And at the very end, she adds a high note, let's call it 6 in my numerology. It's sweet, lovely, extraordinary. Great songwriting by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson, and a stellar performance by Ronstadt.



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