From page 94 of Classic Rock Magazine March 2004
When asked which of her early albums she rated, Linda Ronstadt once revealed: “I hate them all. I don’t particularly care for the sound of my voice.” Such a comment reveals a certain paranoia, as her evocative singing is the sole aspect of her recordings that has remained imposing throughout her career. ‘Hand Sown Home Grown’
( ★ ★★★ ★ ) was her debut release following her departure from the folkdriven band Stone Poneys, and was the first signal of her craving to record more country-tinged material. A whimsical version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Baby You’ve Been On My Mind’ captures this transition well, but the remaining tracks are horribly dated.
‘Silk Purse’, from 1970, ( ★ ★★★ ★ ) is similar stylistically, but the songwriting is far more robust. It was on ‘Linda Ronstadt’ ( ★★★★ ★ ) that her work became truly cohesive. With The Eagles as her backing band, Ronstadt runs through songs such as ‘In My Reply’ with composure, and the contrast with her later MOR records is drastic. ‘Heart Like A Wheel’ ( ★★★★★ ) continues her
move towards a Grammy-winning mainstream, and consequently lacks rawness.
Ultimately these albums invalidate the negative misconceptions about Ronstadt created by her variable 80s albums. Rich Wilson