Linda Ronstadt’s third self titled solo album would effectively close the first phase of her career. By the time Don’t Cry Now was released two years later in 1973, her sound would be much smoother and honed to a degree, leading to her greatest period of commercial appeal.
Linda Ronstadt continued her trend of gathering an eclectic mix of material from which to interpret. The sound was not as country oriented as her previous release, Silk Purse, but was rather more of a pop/country fusion. Many of the songs themselves had a country background, as did the instrumental backing, but her powerful voice was pure pop.
Three of the tracks were recorded live with members of the Eagles providing support and all give a good example of her concert style before she became a superstar. Patsy Cline’s classic country hit, “I Fall To Pieces,” was a perfect vehicle for Ronstadt’s vocal. Neil Young’s “Birds” received a nice and gentle interpretation as well. She even managed a credible pop rendition of Fontella Bass’ R&B hit, “Rescue Me.”
Straight country songs such as “Crazy Arms” and “I Still Miss Someone” suffered a little from underproduction while Livingston Taylor’s “In My Reply” and Eric Andersen’s “I Ain’t Always Been Faithful” proved just a difficult match for her style. The most interesting track was the old Leadbelly/Woody Guthrie tune, “Ramblin’ Round,” which may seem an odd choice but she moved it over into her pop comfort zone.
Overall Linda Ronstadt is somewhat unpolished and finds her not quite settled on a style. While it may not have the consistent level of quality that her next group of releases would attain, it does contain several excellent performances which foreshadowed some of the best crafted albums in pop history. It remains one of the lost albums in her long and distinguished career and is more interesting than it is essential.