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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on 16 March 2017
Great voice but too many diff themes
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on 29 May 2017
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on 19 August 2003
Hearing Bonnie Raitt's music, you'd swear her roots were somewhere in the Mississippi Delta - not, of all places, Southern California. And indeed, the red-haired, freckled daughter of Broadway star John Raitt ("Oklahoma!") fit in badly with the crowd of teenagers who listened to the Beach Boys and other representatives of the so-called "California music," went to the beach and learned how to surf; whereas Bonnie "didn't get tanned and ... lived in the canyon," as she recalls in her biography written by Mark Bego, "Just in the Nick of Time." But by that time, she had already found solace in music: "That was my saving grace. I just sat in my room and played my guitar," she remembers. One day she heard a Newport Folk Festival recording entitled "Blues at Newport '63," featuring John Lee Hooker, John Hammond, Brownie McGee, Mississippi John Hurt and other members of the blues's all-time elite. And Bonnie was hooked: "I tell you, once you get exposed to the blues, you can't get enough."
Thus, it was only natural that she would soon be found more frequently in the Cambridge, MA, blues and jazz clubs than in the hallowed halls of Radcliffe College, where she had enrolled to master in African studies. Before long she had an agent, and began to open for her idols Junior Wells, Arthur Crudup, Buddy Guy, John Lee Hooker and ultimately her mentor, Sippie Wallace, and met singer-songwriters and future soulmates Jackson Browne and James Taylor. In 1971 she was offered her first recording contract. And from her self-titled debut to 2002's "Silver Lining," her over three decades-long career is one of the most amazing examples of personal growth, combined with stellar musicianship and an active voice for society's victims and underprivileged and again and again, for women's rights; even if it would take the music industry until 1989's triple Grammies for the Capitol Records release "Nick of Time" to officially recognize Bonnie Raitt's achievements.
This collection, released shortly after her Grammy-winning album, chronicles all stages of her career until then, drawing on the nine albums she had released on Warner Records before changing labels. It features all-time classics such as "Give It Up or Let Me Go," "Love Me Like a Man," "Willya Wontcha," "Love Has No Pride" (one of her earliest signature songs), her intensely personal interpretation of Randy Newman's "Guilty" (which still cuts so close that she doesn't perform it live as regularly as other songs), the Tex-Mex ballad "Louise," her Al Green-inflected version of Jackson Browne's "Runaway," her hard-driving recording of Bryan Adams's "No Way to Treat a Lady" ("I sing a lot of songs for women who've 'had it,' and this is a powerful dose of that feeling," she comments on the album's liner notes), a rare 1976 live duet with Sippie Wallace on her mentor's "Women Be Wise," and an the Grammy-winning 1985 live duet with John Prine on "Angel From Montgomery," written by Prine but now a signature song for Bonnie Raitt as much as for him.
Much more than a "best of," this is a very personal collection of songs by the singer whose very first female role model was "Gunsmoke"'s red-headed, independent Miss Kitty (Amanda Blake); who learned to successfully compete with boys and men from early childhood on ("I just couldn't stand the way girls got the second best of everything," she recalls in "Nick of Time"), and who now donates the revenue from sales of her signature model Fender Strat to her own project for inner city girls. It amply showcases her feeling for the blues and her extraordinary talent as a guitar player: she is one of the few women who have mastered the bottleneck guitar, a feat she achieved even before her first recording contract, and her slide guitar skills are matched (if that) by only the best in the business.
Bonnie Raitt is rightfully considered part of the all-time elite of blues musicians, and recognized as a peer by the artists she once admired from afar. This album contains excellent examples of her cooperation with many of those artists, who appear on her records again and again - the list almost reads like a blues and rock music "who is who." There are, for example, Junior Wells (harp on "Finest Lovin' Man"), Freebo ([fretless] bass on almost every track and tuba on "Give It Up or Let Me Go"), A.C. Reed (sax on "Finest Lovin' Man"), John Payne (sax on "Give It Up or Let Me Go"), T.J. Tindall (e-guitar on "Under the Falling Sky"), Paul Butterfield (harp on "Under the Falling Sky"), Lowell George (slide guitar on "I Feel the Same" and "Guilty"), Bill Payne (keyboards on "I Feel the Same," "Guilty," "(Goin') Wild for You Baby" and "No Way to Treat a Lady"), Steve Gadd (drums on "What Is Success"), Will McFarlane (e-guitar on "My First Night Alone Without You," "Sugar Mama" and "Runaway"), John Hall (e-guitar on "My First Night Without You" and "Sugar Mama") Jai Winding (keyboards on "My First Night Alone Without You" and "Sugar Mama"), Joe and Jeff Porcaro (percussion on "Sugar Mama"), Norton Buffalo (harp on "Runaway"), Rosemary Butler (backing vocals on "Runaway" and "No Way to Treat a Lady") Waddy Wachtel (e-guitar on "(Goin') Wild for You Baby"), Bob Glaub (bass on "(Goin') Wild for You Baby"), Ricky Fataar (drums/percussion on "Willya Wontcha"), Michael Landau (guitar solo on "No Way to Treat a Lady"), Nathan East (bass on "No Way to Treat a Lady") and countless others.
Intimidated by her mother's skill as a pianist, Bonnie Raitt exchanged keys for steel strings when she was barely eight years old. She later did return to the piano, though, and even if she may not be Martha Argerich (or, for that matter, Marjorie Haydock Raitt), her true gift shines through even there. But even if she had never learned to play anything but guitar ... listening to this album, I doubt we would seriously be missing anything.
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on 21 December 2002
I'm an unashamed blues fan, and for me 'I Feel The Same' (featuring Little Feat's Bill Payne and Lowell George on acoustic & electic piano, and pedal steel guitar) and 'My First Night Alone Without You' are quite simply so drenched with emotion that if you don't like them you haven't got a soul. There are many other great tracks, but just buy this album, listen to those two, and be overwhelmed, not by screaming, but by raw yet polished emotion. Totally classy, BUY IT!!!
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While Bonnie's later albums, beginning with the Grammy-winning Nick of time, brought Bonnie greater commercial success, her earlier music should not be ignored. This compilation provides a selection of Bonnie's recordings from those early years.
Bonnie's roots are in the blues but she could also sing rock, pop, folk and country when she chose to. You won't find any country music here - you'll have to buy the Urban Cowboy soundtrack to hear Bonnie sing country - but all the other influences are to be found somewhere in this collection.
The tracks are taken from the albums Bonnie Raitt (Finest lovin' man, Women be wise), Give it up (Give it up or let it go, Under the falling sky, Love me like a man, Love has no pride), Taking my time (I feel the same, Guilty), Streetlights (What is success), Home plate (My first night alone without you, Sugar Mama), Sweet forgiveness (Louise, About to make me leave home, Runaway), The glow (The glow, Going wild for you baby), Green light (Willya wontcha) and Nine lives (No way to treat a lady). Angel from Montgomery, which originally appeared on Streetlights, is here as a duet with John Prine, his vocals having been overdubbed specially for this collection.
It is clear from the above that the compiler particularly likes Bonnie's second album, Give it up, as four of its tracks are included here. It's a great album but I think the inclusion of so many tracks might deter a few people from buying it. I would have dropped one and included a second track from Green light (preferably Baby come back) or -even better - one of the tracks from Urban cowboy - instead. Still, everything here is of a very high quality.
I must make special mention of Runaway, Bonnie's cover of Del Shannon's sixties classic. Which Del recorded it as an up-tempo rock'n'roll song, Bonnie recorded it as a bluesy ballad, making it almost unrecognisable compared to the original. Such dramatic changes to a song don't always work, but this one is pure magic.
The accompanying booklet is particularly noteworthy, containing descriptions of all Bonnie's albums from which tracks are taken, together with comments about the songs selected. Bonnie contributed to the liner notes.
This is an outstanding compilation covering the first half of Bonnie's career. More recently, another compilation (Best of) has been released covering the second half of her career. Furthermore, most of Bonnie's original albums are easy to find. If you end up buying all of Bonnie's albums, you will find that she is a very expensive lady (but well worth the price). In the meantime, this collection provides an ideal introduction to Bonnie's music.
As ever with compilations, it is easy to argue about track selection, but this provides a good overview of the period covered and will hopefully tempt a few people to explore further.
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on 29 September 2002
This cd is without doubt one of my absolute favourites. And although it's not possible to say every track is a winner, there's not much in the way of filling here.
Bonnie's voice has always been one of haunting quality married with raw blues energy, and unmistakable to the familiar. The songs on this compilation clearly demonstrate her versatility as well as her uncanny ability to find just the right groove when interpreting the work of others.
Standout tracks for me are "Louise", "Love has no Pride" and her version of "Guilty". I defy anyone to listen to these three songs and not feel something. Go on, try it!
Any Bonnie fan will tell you that it's simply not possible to collect all her best work on one cd, and I'm no exception. But this is a pretty good shot at collating the earlier stuff, and it's a damn fine album in it's own right. I can't recommend it highly enough, and at the price it's an absolute bargain.
I reckon you can judge an album by the number of times you've bought it as a gift for someone you care about. So far, I've bought about ten copies of this one.
Nuff said?
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on 17 March 2011
I came to Bonnie's work late. For my money she's up there with the very best slide guitarists. This collection plays more to the singer/writer/interpreter of other people's songs than to her slide playing which is why it rates only 4 stars rather than 5. That said, they're great songs and she delivers them with conviction.
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on 4 May 2015
A very good place to start if you want to find out about this remarkable musician.She sings with such clear,pure diction, that you can almost taste the regret, the emotion and the longing, after the deceit and inevitable loss and breakdown of relationships. Allied to that she`s also a very accomplished bluesy slide guitarist, which makes her completely irresistible in my book.She seems to have the knack of combining pop,country and rock with a good smattering of blues tinged guitar and vocals, that are just a joy to listen to.I can almost guarantee that you`ll be hooked after the first play of this cd, she`s that good.
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on 28 November 2013
For many year's BONNIE has been at the top of her game,all of her early classic's are on this wonderful cd not a bad track in sight and at the price a bargain.
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on 19 December 2013
Bonnie Raitt can do no wrong as regards singing and playing guitar. There are plenty of tracks on this cd to be enjoyed
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