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Wendy Waldman

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Wendy Waldman emerged from the same Los Angeles scene as Karla Bonoff, Andrew Gold, Linda Ronstadt, and J.D. Souther. She first recorded as part of the group Bryndle (with Bonoff, Gold, and Kenny Edwards), and when they disbanded in the early '70s with only one unreleased album to their name, she was signed by Warner Bros. Her sound was typical of singer/songwriters of the period (she played piano and acoustic guitar), although her earliest work boasted more experimental flourishes than most. Waldman's father, Fred Steiner, was a Hungarian/American composer, and her mother, Shirley, a professional violinist; it was clear she had been schooled in a wide variety of musical styles. Waldman's first success came when Maria Muldaur recorded two of her songs, "Mad Mad Me" and "Vaudeville Man," on her self-titled 1972 album. She was particularly skillful at writing blues-based tunes, with unexpected Gershwin-esque and orchestral twists, and her first two albums, Love Has Got Me and Gypsy Symphony, were extremely strong and critically favored. But none of her releases sold more than 25,000 copies, and she never made a chart appearance. After the failure of 1982's Which Way to Main Street, she moved to Nashville and ultimately proved a stronger commercial prospect as a non-performing songwriter, particularly in 1991 when Vanessa Williams enjoyed enormous success with "Save the Best for Last." In 1995, Bryndle re-formed for one album and she toured both with them and as a solo artist. ~ Charles Donovan

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