The Linda Ronstadt who returned to the studio in 1973 after a two-year hiatus was a far different artist than in the past. The resulting album, Don’t Cry Now, was slick, smooth, and powerful. It would remain on the American album charts for over a year and enable her to earn her first gold record award.
Three different men produced the tracks. Long-time producer John Boylan was on board as was musician John David Souther who also wrote three of the album's songs. More important was the debut of Peter Asher who would go on to produce and provide guidance for much of her most popular and best work.
While elements of her country style remained, the music was fused with a soft-rock sound. “Love Has No Pride” made for a minor hit for her at the time, but her emotional performance enabled it to become one of her signature songs and it has graced many of her compilation albums down through the years.
Another minor hit was a remake of “Silver Threads and Golden Needles,” which had appeared as a country cover on her Hand Sown … Home Grown album. Here it emerges as a pop/rocker and just percolates along.
I have always appreciated her interpretation of “Desperado.” The Eagles original version is one of the best and most respected songs in music history. Ronstadt’s rendition is not as mournful but her pop, female vocal makes the song interesting and memorable, remaining one of the better covers of this often-recorded tune.
She and J.D. Souther were very close at the time and he donated three of the album's ten tracks. “I Can Almost See It,” which leads off the album, features a creative harmonica sound that intertwines with her vocals to set the tone for what will follow. The title song and “The Fast One,” while not outstanding are both solid.
There are a couple of other highlights. Ronstadt paints a wonderful musical picture with her take on The Flying Burrito Brothers' “Colorado.” She also gives a strong interpretation of Neil Young’s “I Believe In You.”
While there would be stronger albums to come, Don’t Cry Now is very good and can be considered as the first modern release of her career and as such would set the stage for her best work.