Thursday, June 7, 2012

Bonnie Raitt Appreciation Day

Bonnie Raitt is the real deal. I've known this for a long time, though for a stretch in the 80s---1983, the year after "Green Light," her fantastic record made with Ian McLagan's Bump Band through 1988, the year before her fantastic comeback "Nick Of Time," to be exact---Miss Raitt lost her mojo, found drugs and alcohol, and like everyone, stayed fucked up long enough to ignore Culture Club, Dead Or Alive and the Thompson Twins.

As I made my way through her catalogue last weekend, aside from noticing that almost all of her albums have horrible artwork---I mean really, look at some of these up close--

---I had a better time discovering that almost all of her releases were solid; brilliantly crafted collections of folk, rhythm and blues, soul and rock and roll. All of them, right on through her most recent release "Slipstream," find Bonnie Raitt adding her touch of class to everything from American standards and hits of the day to country blues and southern funk. Pick anyone of her first six records and Miss Raitt will wow you with her grossly underappreciated slide playing and her near-perfect voice.

I think Bonnie Raitt is taken for granted. She's always been here, doing what she does best on a consistent basis. As one reader commented while discussing the new Neil Young record:

At least Neil is out there and trying things. Unlike many of his generational peers he is not relying on rehashed templates over and over...

This may be true. And while I'm not silly enough to put any one of Bonnie's greatest records up against any of Neil's greatest, I do believe that by sticking to what one knows best, as Bonnie has for so many years, the end result is a far more satisfying musical experience.

Here is a ZIP of the Syracuse show pictured at the top of the page. It's not an uncommon tape, so you may have heard it. But it's stellar. Bonnie, pure.


buzzbabyjesus said...

Man, those are some bad album covers.
She's all that musically, though.

Chris Collins said...

She really does have some of the worst album covers of all time. What is up with that??

Chris Collins said...

Why do Bonnie's art directors hate her so??


Thanks Sal -- great stuff.

Either that is the quietest crown in history or there are about four people in the audience. Crazy!


Of course I ment to say CROWD not CROWN.

Ken D said...

I think a large part of the problem with Bonnie's album covers probably comes from the marketing department and their "conventional wisdom." Just about any time you have an attractive female solo act, the go-to, tried-and-true cover is to get the "glamour shot" and slap the title on somewhere. And if the photography is boring like on many of Bonnie's covers there's not too much a designer can do. (Or they could do something really bad like "Home Plate.") Still, there are a few pretty good covers: "Taking My Time," "Luck of the Draw," and "The BR Collection." Good photography, skilled typographics on those.

I just did a quick Amazon search for the covers for Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Judy Collins, and Emmylou Harris. There are a few good covers but a lot of sameness. They show a lot more time spent on makeup than design...
The one one beautiful female whose covers consistently rise above the others is Norah Jones. Makes me wonder if she has input on the designs.

Thanks for the concert file too!

charlie c. said...

Thank you Sal! The missus will thank you even more so . . . I do kinda like the Slipstream package, moreover. Jazzfest set was a hoot also! Saw her at NJPAC which is a multitiered, wedding cake kind of an affair. When she saw the crowd looming above her, without missing a beat, she quipped: "Glad I got my roots done!"

Kodak Ghost said...

Great concert – have listened to that for some time – must dig out my other early Bonnie Raitt material- I have a tape somewhere of her from the Jabberwoky Club which predates this concert. Remember she was only 22 when she made this. Her vocal phrasing and guitar work (especially the early slide stuff) shows a maturity well beyond her tender years! She also always had an ear for a great song – or songwriters – Jackson Browne, Joel Zoss (Too long at the fair), Eric Kaz etc., And I still love the track she did with John Lee Hooker - dripping sex at every turn.

bglobe313 said...

1. Thanks for mentioning an UNDER-appreciated music artist. Not coincidentally (I think) she is a woman.

2. Gawd awful record covers, agreed thoroughly.

3. When I lived in Somerville, MA it was said a house just over the line in Cambridge had been the Bonnie Raitt house. Seemed to make sense, and then at some point years later she pretty much confirmed it with a detailed location description in an interview.

Thanks again,


bglobe313 said...

Oh, and for Ken D., I think you are 100% correct both on the cause of the bad covers for B.R. and the other attractive women you list AND re: Norah Jones. Gawd, her covers could make me fall in love with her AND they are not embarrassing.