Remarkable Early Linda Ronstadt Album
Matt Coker | Davis, CA, USA | 01/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I draw the dividing line between Linda Ronstadt's early work at around 1971. While the LINDA RONSTADT album (1972) features a solid blueprint on the sound and style she would build her 1970s classics on, SILK PURSE is much closer to the later Stone Poneys and her first solo album. It also happens to be one of my favorite Linda Ronstadt albums.
SILK PURSE displays a heavy country sound in the arrangements and vocals, but the character is definitely unique, reflecting neither the Nashville Sound of late-1960s country nor the rock influence in much of the country-rock movement. Two of the album's best defining features are Linda Ronstadt's confident, powerful, and beautiful vocals, and the incredible arrangments that surround each of the songs. "Lovesick Blues" leaps out of the speaker with a stunning vocals start. The song has been recast as an uptempo rocker, though the fiddles are especially prominent. Her vocals also start "Are My Thoughts With You," which continually builds both musically and emotionally during the song. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" is one of the best songs on the album, and one of my favorites. The arrangement is superb, opening with a ringing guitar sound, and featuring a brilliant vocal performance. The track melds both girl group, country, and great pop, and the result is a remarkable success that is above describtion. I've never understood why this song hasn't been featured on a Linda Ronstadt CD compilation (last was RETROSPECTIVE (I really miss that collection) in 1977, unless you count the small Capitol compilations from the 1980s (which aren't listed in her discography). Linda Ronstadt's vocal performance is the best feature of many of these songs, especially "Nobody's" written by Gary White. Gary White duets on "Louise," which features only an acoustic guitar, but delivers a powerful performance. One of Linda Ronstadt's greatest recordings is "Long Long Time," which resulted in her first solo hit ("Different Drum" was credited to the Stone Poneys) and her first Grammy nomination. The song is perfect, the arrangement of pedal steel, fiddle, harpsicord, and bass create a sound the is unbelievably emotional. Linda Ronstadt's vocal is powerful beyond the use of words, and the devastating lyrics bring new meaning to the term "sad song". The song has been recorded a few times since, but no version comes close to this gorgeous classic. "Mental Revenge" is considerably lighter, and the song is very entertaining, with her vocal delivery, arrangement, and lyrics that aim ill-wishes at the unfaithful partner from a former relationship. "I'm Leaving It All Up To You" was a pop hit in the early 1960s, but Linda Ronstadt ups the emotional quotient significantly, turning in a spectacular country recording. "He Dark The Sun" ranks with "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and "Long Long Time" as my favorite recordings from this album. It was originally "She Darked The Sun" in bluegrass form on the first Dillard & Clark album (written by Gene Clark and Bernie Leadon). This recording rests largely on the soulful power of Linda Ronstadt's voice, Bernie Leadon contributes the harmony vocal, and the arrangement frames the vocal performance. Its worth a second listen everytime I play the disc. "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway" is reminiscent of an Appalachian spiritual, sung in harmony with the Beechwood Rangers. Its a unique way to conclude this immensely satisfying album. SILK PURSE is filled with spectacular performances, great arrangments, and unique songs. The critiques on the quality of all the songs really isn't that big a problem; I like those songs on the early albums which made up in emotional power whatever was missing on paper. SILK PURSE is an amazing album, probably the one I play most often, which is a very different experience from HEART LIKE A WHEEL, LIVING IN THE U.S.A. or, SIMPLE DREAMS. Highly recommended."
HUGO | HOUSTON, TEXAS United States | 10/21/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It's great that they've reissued her early solo period - pre-1974 Superstar status - albums, once again on Cd, if, at least on "imports". I have all the mid-90's Stone Poneys/Early Solo Lps to Cd reissues, which were bought up quite quickly and are worth a rock queen's ransom these days. Now that I think about it, as I did at that time also, WHY did they not include those several scattered off album recordings as "BONUS TRACKS" on these early "solo reissues" which never appeared on her albums?!!! Tracks such as: "CARNIVAL BEAR" & "SHE'S A VERY LOVELY WOMAN" - to name but a couple of her occasional "outings" for movie soundtracks and off to the side projects she was involved in. I adore this woman and her entire recorded output - as millions of others still do, but, some of the non-album "45"s I collected on vinyl(minus the "live bootlegs Lps")have never been reissued on Cd. WHY??? CAPITOL RECORDS: You guys need to 'get it together' and reissue a THOROUGHLY COMPREHENSIVE "LINDA RONSTADT ANTHOLOGY"[which will include all non-Lp recordings & rarities] in a much more detailed fashion than that 1976 "RETROSPECTIVE" double Lp(which by the way, still yearns to see itself on CD!)- she gave you a # 1 album, HEART LIKE A WHEEL, after all, as well as the most celebrated(by modern Country artists)blueprint album in Country-Pop-Rock history!"
I don't care for country......
Robert C. Hufford | Hopewell, VA USA | 09/09/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"....but I'll make an exception for Linda. Linda Ronstadt has been a vocal presence for 40 years, singing all kinds of music; this 1970 classic from her "country" years catches her voice at its peak [and her picture when she could make a sexy album cover].
This is an album of "covers", each sung so well as to make it Linda's own. All are well done, but honors go to "Lovesick Blues", "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?", and "I'm Leavin' It All Up To You". And very special honors to "He Dark The Sun". The album has been kind of superseded by "The Best Of Linda Ronstadt: The Capitol Years", a two CD collection of her first four records, with bonus tracks. Thank you, Capitol. Still, this is the original....
Linda's politics nauseate me; as an American, citizen, she's entitled to them [as you are entitled to let politics influence your music buying]. Personally, I don't like to mix music with politics; that's one reason that I can give this five full stars. Her voice is as great as ever; listen to this, and find out how a great singer sounds before she's a legend."