Linda Ronstadt met and performed with Bob Kimmel while in high school and after a semester of college moved to Los Angeles to form a band with him. Lead guitarist Kenny Edwards quickly joined and after playing the local club circuit, they adopted the name The Stone Poneys. They were quickly signed to the Capitol label and released their self titled debut album in January of 1967.
At this point they were basically a folk group and their initial album reflected that style. While Ronstadt would quickly become the focal point of the band, this album is a group affair. Kimmel and Edwards wrote seven of the ten tracks and the vocals are shared with a great deal of harmonizing.
The album was a commercial failure upon its release, but in 1975 it was reissued after Ronstadt became a star and would reach the lower regions of The American pop charts. Its lasting impact remains in the fact that it was the debut of one of the most popular female pop/rock artists in American music history.
“Meredith” shows what a competent folk group they actually were as they employ Peter, Paul and Mary type harmonies. Fred Neil’s classic folk tune “Just A Little Bit Of Rain” is presented in a traditional manner as their clear harmonies again dominate the track.
Ronstadt steps forward on a number of tracks and it is quickly apparent she has a voice that is extraordinary. “All The Beautiful Things” may be a short song, but it shows that she has a voice which can soar to places that few female vocalists can visit. Her performance on “Train And The River” makes you want to hear more which in many ways would become the impetus for her solo career and the resultant death of The Stone Poneys. “Wild Loving” and “Orion” also contain hints of the solo greatness which would soon follow.
Looking back over the 43 years since its release, it pales next to her solo work and even when comparing it to The Stone Poneys second album. Still it is an interesting indoctrination into the career of Linda Ronstadt and remains a pleasant, if nonessential, slice of mid-sixties folk music.