Silk Purse (Linda Ronstadt album)

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Silk Purse
Silk Purse.jpg
Studio album by Linda Ronstadt
Released March 1970
Genre Country
Length 28:26
Label Capitol, Nashville Country
Producer Elliot F. Mazer
Linda Ronstadt chronology
Hand Sown ... Home Grown
Silk Purse
Linda Ronstadt

Silk Purse is the second solo album by Linda Ronstadt, released in March 1970, a year after the release of her first solo set, Hand Sown ... Home Grown.[1] It was recorded at Woodland Recording Studios in Nashville, the only Ronstadt album recorded in the country music capital, and it was produced by Elliot Mazer, who had previously worked with Richie Havens, Gordon Lightfoot, James Cotton, Rufus Thomas, Chubby Checker and Frank Sinatra[2] and who had been recommended to Linda by her friend Janis Joplin.


The album featured songs in a more traditional country setting. Ronstadt later remarked that Nashville Country is very different from California Country. This album was also different in style and sound from Ronstadt's previous Folk Rock work with the Stone Poneys.

Silk Purse includes interpretations of Hank Williams' rendition of "Lovesick Blues" and Mel Tillis' "Mental Revenge" and a version of the bluegrass traditional song "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway." Ronstadt also included a remake of the Gerry Goffin and Carole King "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" that had been recorded by The Shirelles in 1962, and a harmony duet with Texan Gary White on the Paul Siebel ballad "Louise," later covered by Bonnie Raitt.

Included as well was a recording of a song White himself wrote, and Linda had to persuade her record company to get the ballad "Long, Long Time" on the album, which in due course, proved to be Linda Ronstadt's first chart single. After its recording, Capitol Records executives attempted to dissuade Ronstadt's from picking songs, like Long Long Time, which they considered too Country, even though Ronstadt had been attracted to ballads such as this and Heart Like A Wheel, which she later recorded. Nonetheless, the intensely passionate Long Long Time was a major hit, reaching #25 in Billboard and #26 in Cash Box. It earned Ronstadt her first Grammy Award nomination in 1971.

Following the release of this album, Linda formed a backing and touring band that she used for her next album. Her new group consisted of Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner, and Don Henley. These musicians synced so well on stage, they later formed The Eagles.[3]


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars[4]
Robert Christgau B[5]
Rolling Stone (mixed)[6]

Three months after the album's release, Rolling Stone's Alec Dubro reviewed Silk Purse in the magazine's June 25 issue. "Some of the material is raw imitation and some is more original, but none is very far from the soul of the singer," Dubro wrote. "It is Linda Ronstadt's voice that makes this record; she endows the songs with a feeling that she has shown since the first Stone Poneys' album, and she has developed her Country style considerably since her last album."[6] Lester Bangs of Penthouse also reviewed the album: "Linda Ronstadt's vocal style is like her physical presence: brimming with passion and vulnerability, tremulous, yet possessed of a core of absolute strength."[7]

Music critic Robert Christgau commended Ronstadt for her choice of tunes but noted "only occasionally—"Lovesick Blues" and "Long Long Time" are both brilliant—does she seem to find Kitty Wells's soul as well as her timbre."[5]

Though released in March, Silk Purse did not debut on the Billboard Top LPs chart until October 1970, spending 10 weeks on the chart and peaking at a disappointing #103.[8] This came on the heels of the late-summer showing of the single "Long, Long Time," which peaked at No. 25 on the Hot 100 singles chart.[9] That recording earned her a Grammy Award nomination in early 1971 for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Female, but lost to Dionne Warwick for "I'll Never Fall In Love Again.[10]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Lovesick Blues"   Cliff Friend, Irving Mills 2:07
2. "Are My Thoughts with You?"   Mickey Newbury 2:47
3. "Will You Love Me Tomorrow"   Gerry Goffin, Carole King 2:27
4. "Nobody's"   Gary White 2:56
5. "Louise"   Paul Siebel 3:25
6. "Long, Long Time"   Gary White 4:21
7. "Mental Revenge"   Mel Tillis 2:46
8. "I'm Leaving It All Up to You"   Don "Sugarcane" Harris, Dewey Terry 2:21
9. "He Darked the Sun"   Gene Clark, Bernie Leadon 2:40
10. "Life Is Like a Mountain Railway"   Traditional/Arr,: Elliott Mazer, Linda Ronstadt 3:24


  1. ^ Linda Ronstadt Album and CD releases.
  2. ^ "Elliot Mazer credits". Allmusic. Retrieved January 31, 2011. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Silk Purse - Linda Ronstadt". Allmusic. Retrieved January 31, 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Christgau, Robert. "CG: Linda Ronstadt". Robert Christgau. Retrieved January 31, 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Dubro, Alec (June 25, 1970). "Silk Purse". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 10, 2013. 
  7. ^ Bangs, Lester (October 1972). "Silk Purse > Review". Penthouse. 
  8. ^ Linda Ronstadt Top Pop albums.
  9. ^ Linda Ronstadt Album and Single chart positions
  10. ^ Linda Ronstadt Grammy Awards