Prisoner In Disguise
For 1975’s Prisoner in Disguise, Linda Ronstadt reunited with the team that was so successful on Heart Like a Wheel, led by producer Peter Asher and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Gold. She returned to her favorite songwriters (Lowell George, J.D. Souther, Anna McGarrigle), and though many of those works had already been recorded, Ronstadt had a way of gilding the lily. Songs like Neil Young’s “Love Is a Rose” and Little Feat’s “Roll Um Easy” almost sound like demos next to Ronstadt’s versions. Among the album’s highlights are “Silver Blue” and the title song, two J.D. Souther originals that are perfectly tailored to the uninhibited romantic longing of Ronstadt’s voice. At a time when female roles were sharply delineated, she proved it was possible to have real feelings and also have fun. Her sweetened romps through two Motown classics (“Tracks of My Tears” and “Heat Wave”) lead directly into “Many Rivers to Cross,” which morphs Jimmy Cliff’s poignant song into a hymn of empathic feminism. It’s not hard to see why singers such as Trisha Yearwood have cited Prisoner in Disguise as a key influence.