I got caught up in a few other records and let Bonnie’s 62nd B-Day on November 8 slip by… So here I am sending a belated card and a ton of thanks for a hell of a lot of great music. Back in April we talked about Luck of the Draw… Today, I am going deeper and delving into what I think was the first Bonnie Raitt record I ever heard…
Bonnie Raitt – Streetlights
In 1972 Bonnie had a Gold record in Give It Up. She would not have another until 1977’s Sweet Forgiveness. This one came out in 1974. I am surprised it was not as commercially successful. This album is absolutely delicious and one record I can and have listened to over and over… Talk about morning after music… Just put this one on and get back into bed, folks.
It took until 1989 for the world to catch on to Bonnie’s amazing talent and gifts as both singer, writer and guitarist. Nick of Time was the “comeback” record and shot to 5x Platinum… Of course, she had never gone away, but it put her on the road to super stardom and was followed by Luck of the Draw, which hit 7x Platinum in 1991. A long career was finally getting the attention it deserved.
Longing In Their Hearts hit 2x Platinum in 1994, 1998’s Fundamental went Platinum and 2002’s Silver Lining… ironically, went Gold.
The albums did not come as quickly as they did in the beginning of her career, but they came and continued to come up until 2005’s Souls Alike. She is due!
Bonnie did not write any of the songs on Streetlights… but clearly she is an amazing interpreter.
“That Song About the Midway” is a Joni Mitchell tune and one I’m not sure she ever recorded…
“Rainy Day Man” is a James Taylor song that was on his 1979 album Flag, so Bonnie had it at least 5 years earlier!
“What is Success” is from the great New Orleans musician Allen Toussaint, with whom Bonnie has worked a lot. I do not think his version came out until Warner Brothers did a huge retrospective package on him.
The title track “Streetlights” was written by Bill Payne and is so gorgeous and heartbreaking… as only Bonnie could do it.
My favorite song here though, is the brilliant cover of John Prine’s stunner “Angel From Montgomery.” This song could play non-stop and I would never grow tired of it… especially if you rotated this version, Prine’s version and the amazing duet version they did on 1985’s Tribute to Steve Goodman. This is a must own if ever there was one.
Bonnie is such a soulful singer and her voice is so pure and beautiful. Yet she can hit that edge when she wants to and just rip out the raw blues. What range and power. And we have not even talked about her slide guitar playing… She is crazy good and truly a master. The old blues legends loved her and not just because she valiantly fought to get them the attention and financial recognition they deserved. She was one of them… a kindred spirit.
I had the pleasure of seeing her at the Pantages years back and meeting both her and Lyle Lovett, who shared the bill. Class acts all the way around there… And what an evening of musical bliss.
Happy Birthday, Bonnie… your music still makes me happy and lights the way… and you can make me love you any time you want! Hell, I already do!