Hand Sown...Home Grown

Linda Ronstadt

Capitol, 1969


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Early 1969 found Linda Ronstadt leaving her previous band The Stone Poneys behind and embarking upon a solo career which would become one of the most commercially successful in music history. She would, over time, record dozens of albums, placing 36 of them on the national charts in the United States. Her singles, which charted consistently, received massive airplay during the seventies and eighties. Her success has garnered Ronstadt 11 Grammy Awards, over 100 million albums sold, and recognition as one of the premiere female artists of her generation.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250


Hand Sown …Home Grown was her first solo album, released in March of 1969. It was not an auspicious debut, as it sold less than 20,000 copies and failed to crack the top 200 album charts in the States. What it did do, though, was establish her hybrid country/rock sound which she would hone to perfection during the next few years.


The album is comprised of an eclectic group of songs, helping to establish her as an interpreter of other songwriters’ material. While the album would produce no enduring performances, when taken as a whole, it comes across as a solid effort 50 years later.


She tackles two Dylan tunes with good results. “Baby You Been On My Mind” and “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” are interesting interpretations as Ronstadt’s powerful vocals give them a different feel than the originals. The best tracks are her gentle renditions of Fred Neil’s “The Dolphins” and old bandmate Ken Edwards’ “The Long Way Around.” Randy Newman’s “Bet No One Ever Hurt This Bad” served as a perfect vehicle for her to just cut loose and let her voice soar.

Linda Ronstadt toured constantly during this period of her career, opening for such acts as Jackson Browne, The Doors, and Neil Young, building a fan base which would stay with her through the years.


Hand Sown … Home Grown may not be her best album and probably doesn’t even rank in the top 10 of her impressive catalog. Still, for the initial release by one of the superstars of American music, it still makes for a nice listen.

Rating: B

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