Prisoner in Disguise

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Prisoner In Disguise
Prisoner In Disguise cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 16, 1975
RecordedFebruary–June 1975
StudioThe Sound Factory, Los Angeles, California
GenreRock, country rock
LabelAsylum, Rhino
ProducerPeter Asher
Linda Ronstadt chronology
Heart Like a Wheel
Prisoner In Disguise
Hasten Down the Wind
Singles from Prisoner in Disguise
  1. "Love Is a Rose"
    Released: August 1975
  2. "Heat Wave"
    Released: September 1975
  3. "Tracks of My Tears"
    Released: December 1975

Prisoner In Disguise (1975) is Linda Ronstadt's sixth solo LP release and her second for the label Asylum Records. It followed Ronstadt's Multi-Platinum breakthrough album, Heart Like a Wheel, which became her first of three #1 albums on the Billboard album chart in early 1975.


Ronstadt chose songs from friends and songwriters such as James Taylor, Lowell George of Little Feat, J. D. Souther and Anna McGarrigle as well as one written and originally recorded by Jimmy Cliff and an interpretation of Dolly Parton's "I Will Always Love You". The album features string arrangements by David Campbell. Among the guest musicians, Emmylou Harris joined Ronstadt on the standard "The Sweetest Gift".

The original vinyl album release was a gatefold design, and the center section featured a photo of various sheets with written lyrics to the songs, most of which were in the original songwriters' own handwriting.

Trisha Yearwood cited Prisoner in Disguise as an inspiration, bringing the album to her producer at the start of her career saying, “This is the kind of music that I want to make."[1]


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Record GuideB[3]
Rolling Stone(mixed)[4]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[5]

Steve Simels in Stereo Review's December 1975 issue described Ronstadt's singing on Parton's "I Will Always Love You" as "absolutely gorgeous, full-bodied and intense".[6] The album peaked on the Billboard album chart at #4,[7] it also reached #2 on the country album chart,[8] and has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

"Heat Wave", a rockified re-make of the 1963 hit covered by Martha and the Vandellas, peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Its B-side, a countrified version of Neil Young's "Love Is A Rose", generated its own airplay and peaked at #5 on the Hot Country Songs chart.[9]

The double-sided hits "Tracks Of My Tears", a re-make of a 1965 hit by the Miracles, and "The Sweetest Gift", an older country standard then most recently recorded by the Seldom Scene,[10] also made it to the Country singles chart, peaking at #11 and #12 respectively in early 1976. "Tracks" also peaked at #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #4 on the adult contemporary songs chart. An album track composed by Lowell George, "Roll Um Easy", was very popular on the burgeoning AOR (album-oriented rock) format.

Track listing[edit]

1."Love Is a Rose"Neil Young2:46
2."Hey Mister, That's Me Up on the Jukebox"James Taylor3:56
3."Roll Um Easy" (featuring Lowell George on slide guitar)Lowell George2:58
4."Tracks of My Tears"Warren "Pete" Moore, William "Smokey" Robinson Jr., Marvin Tarplin3:12
5."Prisoner in Disguise" (featuring J. D. Souther on harmony vocals)J. D. Souther3:54
6."Heat Wave"Lamont Dozier, Brian Holland, Eddie Holland2:46
7."Many Rivers to Cross"Jimmy Cliff4:05
8."The Sweetest Gift" (featuring Emmylou Harris on harmony vocals)James B. Coats3:00
9."You Tell Me That I'm Falling Down" (featuring Maria Muldaur on harmony vocals)Carol S. Holland, Anna McGarrigle3:17
10."I Will Always Love You"Dolly Parton3:00
11."Silver Blue" (featuring J. D. Souther on harmony vocals)J. D. Souther3:03
Total length:35:57



  • Herb Pederson – banjo on "Love Is a Rose"
  • Jim Conner – harmonica on "Love Is a Rose"
  • Nigel Olsson – drums on "Roll Um Easy"
  • Lowell George – slide guitar on "Roll Um Easy"
  • David Kemper – drums on "Tracks of My Tears"
  • Danny Kortchmar – electric guitar on "Tracks of My Tears"
  • Emmylou Harris – acoustic guitar, harmony vocals on "The Sweetest Gift"
  • David Grisman – mandolin on "The Sweetest Gift"
  • Glen D. Hardin – piano on "The Sweetest Gift"
  • James Taylor – acoustic guitar on "You Tell Me That I'm Falling Down"
  • Maria Muldaur – harmony vocals on "You Tell Me That I'm Falling Down"
  • Ed Black – electric guitar on "I Will Always Love You"
  • Don Francisco, Julia Tillman Waters, Maxine Willard Waters, Pat Henderson, Andrew Gold, Herb Pederson, Kenny Edwards – backing vocals


  1. ^ "100 Greatest Women / #8 Trisha Yearwood". Retrieved 2012-12-15.
  2. ^ Allmusic review
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: R". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 12, 2019 – via
  4. ^ "Prisoner in Disguise".
  5. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Christian Hoard (2004). The Rolling Stone Album Guide. New York City, New York: Simon and Schuster. p. 701. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  6. ^ "Album Review / Linda Ronstadt- Prisoner in Disguise". Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  7. ^ "Linda Ronstadt Top Pop Albums". 1946-07-15. Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  8. ^ "Prisoner in Disguise > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-03-05.
  9. ^ "Linda Ronstadt Top Country Singles". Retrieved 2012-03-06.
  10. ^ "Act Two". Allmusic. Retrieved 2012-03-05.