The Stone Poneys released their second studio album only six months after their first, yet it was a far different work. While their self-titled debut had rendered folk in the Peter, Paul and Mary tradition, Evergreen, Volume 2 was folk rock that served as a preview of many of Linda Ronstadt’s early solo releases. Also gone, for the most part, were the shared harmonies. Ronstadt’s voice was featured as her talent and vocal prowess made her the focal point of the group.
The album also produced their only hit song. “Different Drum,” written by Monkees member Mike Nesmith, reached number 13 on the American pop charts in November of 1967, becoming a signature performance for Ronstadt. It also signaled the beginning of the end for the band as it proved she had evolved beyond the confines of the group process. Dealing with the eternal conflict of lovers as one wants to settle down while the other (in this case, the narrator) wants freedom, the song remains late sixties pop/rock at its best.
“Back On The Street Again” is another smooth vocal performance by Ronstadt. The Sunshine Company would give the song a similar arrangement and take it into the American top forty.
Also worth mentioning is the two-part title song. “Evergreen Part One” features the group harmonies that dominated their first album. “Evergreen Part Two” is an instrumental—including the sitar work of Kenny Edwards—which is best described as psychedelic and fitting well within the music of the late sixties.
There are several other highlights. “December Dream” includes strings, harpsichord and Ronstadt crooning over the top. “Toys In Time” and “Autumn Afternoon” were written by group members Bob Kimmel and Ken Edwards but, again, sung by Ronstadt.
Evergreen Vol. 2 is Linda Ronstadt’s coming-out party with her voice, as a formidable instrument, taking center stage for the first time. The Stone Poneys would quickly disintegrate as she would soon embark on one of the most successful careers in pop music history.