Linda Ronstadt / Stone Poneys

2:10 Train

Composed by Linda J. Albertano / Tom Campbell

Song Review by

The Los Angeles '60s folk-rock scene was crowded with burgeoning singer-songwriters, some of whom never became too well known or had too much of their work recorded. Two of them were Tom Campbell and Linda Albertano, who penned "2:10 Train," recorded by the Stone Poneys with Linda Ronstadt on lead vocals on their debut album. A lot of young White singer-songwriters schooled in folk tried to write folk-blues songs in the 1960s, and often they sounded unduly derivative or immature, as if they were writing about heavy worldly-wise topics they had yet to fully experience. "2:10 Train" is an excellent exception, using the imagery of leaving on a train -- common to so many folk and blues songs -- as one that marks the end of a romantic relationship. Although Ronstadt was herself quite young when she sang it, she did so with reasonable conviction, though it was really the knowing world-weariness of the song itself that carried the day. As performed by the Stone Poneys, though, this wasn't a folk song; it was folk-rock, albeit folk-rock of the milder sort, with curling, slightly questioning acoustic guitar riffs serving as the track's engine. It wouldn't be known for about 25 years, but another version of the song was cut around the same time by the Rising Sons, the Los Angeles folk-rock band featuring both Taj Mahal and Ry Cooder. The Rising Sons issued only one single before breaking up, and "2:10 Train" wasn't on it. But when an entire CD of Rising Sons material was issued in the early 1990s, it did include their version of "2:10 Train," recorded in May 1966, though not released at the time. The Rising Sons use a slightly bluesier arrangement than the Stone Poneys did, with a harmonica, and the vocal has far more of a world-weary tone than Ronstadt's. Although no one made it a hit, the song certainly did the rounds, as it was also recorded in the '60s by singer-songwriter Steve Gillette, folksinger Carolyn Hester, and obscure L.A. folk-rock group the Gentle Soul.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Stone Poneys Featuring Linda Ronstadt 1967 Capitol 3:20
Stone Poneys Featuring Linda Ronstadt/Evergreen, Vol. 2 2008 Raven 3:23
blue highlight denotes editor's pick