Usually when we write about Linda Ronstadt on this site, we are describing one of the great covers she recorded during the course of her career. Many of her biggest hits and best-known songs are covers. When I saw that country singer Alice Wallace had recorded a cover of “Long, Long Time,” I was surprised to learn that it was actually first recorded by Ronstadt. However, one could surely make the argument that it’s a cover too. In her memoir, Ronstadt said that she decided to record the track after hearing its writer Gary White play it in New York City.
“Long, Long Time” became the breakout single from Ronstadt’s second solo album, 1970’s Silk Purse. Ronstadt’s arrangement included a simple acoustic guitar fused together with a heavy amount of strings. Listening to the song in 2020, it does not feel dated, only now it would probably be classified as Americana.
Wallace is a country singer who, like Ronstadt, has a sound that is more rooted in the Golden State than in Nashville. On her 2019 album Into The Blue she comes across more like a contemporary of Ronstadt’s than an artist separated by several decades. This is no accident, as she recently told Wide Open Country: “My parents had a lot of incredible singers playing in the house growing up – Emmylou Harris, Bonnie Raitt, Dolly Parton – but Linda’s voice was the one I could really hear myself in.”
Wallace recently released “Long, Long Time” as a single. The introduction to her version is similar to the original, so much so that I had to listen to both tracks a few times just to differentiate them. Once Wallace starts singing, though, the track becomes more distinct as her voice is deeper and lower than Ronstadt’s. She extends the track by a full minute and carefully emotes the song’s heartfelt lyrics about love obsession. “Cause I’ve done everything I know to try and make you mine/And I think I’m gonna love you for a long long time.” With the cover, Wallace effectively pays tribute to her idol, but does not do too much to make the song her own.
Click here to listen to more covers by Linda Ronstadt.