Give 'em Somethin' to Talk About, Bonnie Raitt

 

 

 

 

Bottleneck-style guitar player. Blues singer. Bonnie Raitt. To put it simply, I love her. For a long while when I was singing in bands I tried to emulate her. Not an easy task. Bonnie turns 61 years old on November 8th. Her career has had its ups and downs but she’s never left my cd rotation.  Every now and then something doesn’t feel quite right and I realize it’s time for some Raitt. 

 

 In 1993 I saw Bonnie in concert and she gained mad respect from me that day. Her ease on stage, soft confidence, wailing guitar, and emotional vocals held their own place on a bill with Neil Young, Simon & Garfunkel, Melissa Ethridge, Warren Zevon, Heart, and Sammy Hagar & Eddie Van Halen.

 Angel From Montgomery( written by John Prine)- In a 2000 interview Raitt stated: "I think 'Angel from Montgomery' probably has meant more to my fans and my body of work than any other song, and it will historically be considered one of the most important ones I've ever recorded. It's just such a tender way of expressing that sentiment of longing - like 'Hello In There' - without being maudlin or obvious. It has all the different shadings of love and regret and longing. It's a perfect expression from [a] wonderful genius." (*)

Bonnie released her first album in 1971 and quickly impressed musicians as they noted her strong guitar skills—bottleneck blues was an unusual style for women then and even now it is not the common style for female guitarists. Critical acclaim abounded, but getting her music out into the mainstream proved to be the challenge. It wasn’t until 1977 when she covered Del Shannon’s Runaway that she had a popular following.

Runaway

 

Many album releases came and went without much fanfare: The Glow (1979),Green Light (1982), Nine Lives (1986). During this time Bonnie struggled with a drug and alcohol addiction that plagued her for years. She credits the death of Stevie Ray Vaughn as the catalyst that caused her to sober up.

 

Bonnie talks about her life as a musician.
 

Then Nick of Time was released in 1989. Her collaboration with producer Don Was made all the difference. Twenty years and ten albums later all of a sudden she was an overnight success. She swept the Grammies in 1990 and again in 1991 after her album Luck of the Draw hit it big. In 1994 she picked up two more Grammies for Longing in Their Hearts.

 

 

Something To Talk About -A combination of elements in this song helped place it on  Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart, the Mainstream Rock chart and the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
 I'm in the Mood (with John Lee Hooker)- Bonnie's mad respect for the bluesmen that inspire her have led to some amazing collaborations. Personal connection: I've spent a few evenings in John Lee Hooker's Boom Boom Room Club in San Francisco's Fillmore district. Great live blues. 
Pride and Joy- Her tribute to Stevie Ray. I'm sure he's smiling down on her. Bonnie dedicated her Luck of the Draw album to Stevie Ray. 
Love Has No Pride- with Crosby, Stills, & Nash. Originally released on Linda Ronstadt's album Don't Cry Now, the song was a hit for Bonnie Raitt in 1974.
The importance of keeping blues music in the public eye has been a passion for Raitt. In an effort to help out blues pioneers  she co-founded the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 1988, which works to improve benefits, both financial and in terms of critical recognition for R & B musicians. Paired with her busy activist lifestyle Bonnie Raitt seems to be happy and focused all while making the music she loves in her 61st year. Happy birthday, Bonnie!
(*)Interview from:  Women Changing the Face of Music: Bonnie Raitt
Performing Songwriter, 1/1/00
by Lydia Hutchinson
 (image from bing.com)

Views: 176

Comment by Mary Lois Adshead on March 22, 2015 at 1:27pm

He did accept her music eventually. I for one loved his too!

Comment by Kenneth Sibbett on March 22, 2015 at 1:37pm

No one does it like you. You are the best at putting up the best rock and blues music that has ever been recorded. Bonnie has always been a favorite of mine and she can play the bottleneck with anyone who plays it. Great post as always Smootch~~

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