Sunday, April 8, 2012

Right Down The Line

Bonnie Raitt
Redwing Records
Five Scoops of Bosco

Reviewed by Allen Bacon, The Daily Bosco

When it comes to nine time Grammy Winning Blues lady Bonnie Raitt, the low slung slide guitar specialist, she will always have a special place in my heart.

One of the reasons is that she obliquely hails from my hometown of Fullerton, California. She is the daughter of the late legendary singer/actor John Raitt. So she gets an honorary membership into our hometown.

The other reason is that she comes from a group of Southern California-Sound Rock musicians/writers that always seemed to hang around my hometown in the 1960's before they became famous. Jackson Browne and Glen Frey were also part of that group.

As a side note...before I get to review Ms. Raitt's latest: Her father, who is on the Fullerton High Wall of Fame and who appeared in such movie/musical favorites as Oklahoma and The Pajama Game, will always remain one of my all time favorites. It was the elder Raitt that came back to his Alma Mater shortly before his death in 2007 to teach a master class at the Fullerton High Academy of the Arts. My son was performing in a musical at the time at Plummer Auditorium. Mr. Raitt was in attendance with his wife. Both of them sought my son out after the show to personally tell him how much they enjoyed his performance. I will never forget that. But I digress.

It has been a tough seven years for Bonnie Raitt since her last album Souls Alike was released.

During that time she lost both of her parents, her brother and her best friend.

Because of this fact, I was struck by the irony surrounding the very first song I heard off the new album Slipstream (which is officially released on Tuesday April 10) which is a reggae-fied version of the Gerry Rafferty Classic "Right Down The Line".

Rafferty, also passed last year leaving behind a body of work that is simply unforgettable. Raitt's version of the ex-Steelers Wheel frontman's song, in my opinion, is stronger and showcases her full-throated vocals and guitar playing which have not lost a beat even as she approaches her mid- 60's.

But before that song, right off the bat on this album, we are treated to a funky, energized and totally danceable "Used To Rule The World" written by Randall Bramblett. I have this simple test...If I can get into a song right away, that means it's great. I love this song and would have worn the grooves off the album if it was on vinyl.

Raitt's version of "Million Miles," one of two songs she covers here from Bob Dylan (the other is "Standing In the Doorway"), highlights the song's deep blue moods with her signature choppy guitar licks.

Album co-producer Joe Henry adds a song co-written with Loudon Wainwright III called "You Can't Fail Me Now". The song is a slow, soulful number sung beautifully by Raitt.

Link and Listen to the new Bonnie Raitt album "Slipstream" in Bosco Radio: Arts and Entertainment: Music under "First Listen" Powered by NPR. The link is in our sidebar.

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