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
Producer Elliot F. Mazer
Linda Ronstadt chronology
Hand Sown ... Home Grown
(1969)Hand Sown ... Home Grown1969
Silk Purse
(1970)
Linda Ronstadt
(1972)Linda Ronstadt1972

Silk Purse is the second studio album by Linda Ronstadt, released in March 1970, a year after the release of her solo debut, 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 was produced by Elliot Mazer, who had previously worked with Richie Havens, Gordon Lightfoot, James Cotton, Rufus Thomas, Chubby Checker and Frank Sinatra.[2] Mazer was recommended to Linda by Janis Joplin, who she knew from the local night clubs.

History[edit]

The album features songs in a traditional country music setting. Ronstadt later remarked that "Nashville Country is very different from California Country."[citation needed] This album, like its predecessor, was also different in style and sound from Ronstadt's previous Folk Rock work with the Stone Poneys.

Silk Purse includes interpretations of the Hank Williams song "Lovesick Blues" and Mel Tillis's "Mental Revenge," and a version of the traditional song "Life Is Like A Mountain Railway." The album also features a remake of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?" – the Gerry Goffin-Carole King song recorded by The Shirelles in 1961 – and a harmony duet with Texan Gary White on the Paul Siebel ballad "Louise," later covered by Bonnie Raitt.

White's most significant contribution, however, was a ballad that Linda had to persuade her record company to include on the album – "Long, Long Time," which in due course proved to be the singer's first charting single as a solo artist. After it was recorded, and despite Ronstadt's obvious affection for the material, Capitol Records executives attempted to dissuade her from picking more songs like "Long, Long Time," which they considered too country.[citation needed] Nonetheless, her intensely passionate reading of the song made it a major hit, reaching #21 in Record World magazine, #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, and #26 in Cash Box. It earned Ronstadt her first Grammy nomination in early 1971.

Following the release of Silk Purse, Ronstadt formed a backing and touring band that she also used on her next, self-titled album. Her new group consisted of Glenn Frey, Bernie Leadon, Randy Meisner and Don Henley. The musicians synced so well on stage, they later formed The Eagles.[3]

Reception[edit]

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 also reviewed the album in Penthouse, writing: "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 that "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 200 LP chart until October 1970, spending 10 weeks on the chart but peaking at a disappointing No. 103.[8] This came on the heels of the late-summer performance of the "Long, Long Time" single, which peaked at No. 25 in Billboard and No. 26 in Cash Box.[9] The single earned her a Grammy nomination in early 1971 for Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Female, but lost to Dionne Warwick's "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; arranged by Elliot Mazer and Linda Ronstadt 3:24

Personnel[edit]

  • Gary White - vocals on "Louise"
  • The Beechwood Rangers - accompaniment on "Life Is Like a Mountain Railway"
  • Kenny Buttrey, Adam Mitchell, Elliot Mazer, Norbert Putnam - arrangements
  • Elliot Mazer, Fred Catero, Howard Gale, Lee Hazen, Wayne Moss - engineers

References[edit]

  1. ^ Linda Ronstadt Album and CD releases.
  2. ^ "Elliot Mazer credits". Allmusic. Retrieved January 31, 2011. 
  3. ^ http://hitparadehalloffame.com/eagles/
  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