Bonnie Raitt

Band members                             Related acts

- Bonnie Raitt -- vocals, guitar, harmonica


  backing musicians (2012)

- Luss Conte -- percussion

- Ricky Fataar -- drums, percussion

- Mike Finnegan -- keyboards

- James Hutchinson -- bass

- George Marinelli: -- guitar, backing vocals




- none known





Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Slipstream

Company: Redwing

Catalog: RWR002

Country/State: Los Angeles, California

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: double LP

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $35.00


Bonnie Raitt is one of the few female singers I would pay to see multiple times in concert.  In fact, having seen her twice, she remains on my "bucket list" for a third show.   Given her amazing talents, you almost have to laugh at how disposable musical talent has become.  After a decade of work, Raitt suddenly found herself queen of the airwaves for a couple of years in the mid and late-'80s and was then relegated back to the sidelines ...   Though few people heard it, 2012's "Slipstream" was a nice, easy-going return to form.  Produced by Joe Henry who also contributed a couple of songs to the collection, the album was typically diverse with Raitt trying to cover her longstanding blues fan base (the blazing blues-rocker 'Ain't Gonna Let You Go' and an acoustic over of Dylan's 'Million Miles'), as well as her legion of newer pop and top-40 fans ('Down To You', 'Marriage Made In Hollywood' and her reggaefied cover of Gerry Rafferty's 'Right Down the Line').  Normally such a diverse approach was likely to prove disastrous, but Raitt had the talent to pull it off.  In spite of the seven year break since 2005's "Souls Alike" Raitt did not sound like she'd aged a day.  Judging by tracks like her cover of Al Anderson's joyous 'Split Decision' \ her voice and slide guitar playing were as strong as ever. Nah, it wasn't a classic Raitt album, but it was an easy listen and most of her contemporaries would have killed to release something as enjoyable.


"Slipstream" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Used To Rule the World   (Randall Bramblett) - 4:17   rating: *** stars

Initially I really liked this funky remake of Randall Bramblett's 'Used To Rule the World'.   I think part of my initial affection for the song was the simply fact it was nice to hear Raiit actively recording again.  And then the song quickly began to sound formulaic - kind of like she latched on to a subpar Steely Dan tune.   Admittedly her stinging slide guitar solo was killer ....   YouTube has a couple of live performances of the song include a nice performance on PBS's Austin City Limits - keyboardist Mike Finnigan almost stole the song with his work (until her bottleneck solo kicked in) 

2.) Right Down the Line   (Gerry Rafferty) - 4:20   rating: *** stars

While there wasn't anything wrong with Raitt's reggae-tinged remake of the late Gerry Rafferty's hit, I have to admit I didn't think there was anything particularly right with it.  AOR smooth and clearly geared for radio play, it was also the first single released off the album.  That criticism may strike some as kind of harsh, but the outside of the fadeout bottleneck guitar solo, the remake added nothing to Rafferty's original.  Believe it or not, the accompanying video was even blander than the song.  You can see via YouTube: 

3.) Million Miles  (Bob Dylan) - 6:12  rating: ** stars

One of two Dylan covers (both off his "Time out of Mind" LP), 'Million Miles' was given acoustic blues treatment.  I know I'm suppose to fawn over this one, but I have to admit I just didn't get it.   Yeah, Raitt sounded great on the song and her patented slide guitar was present, but to me it sounded flat and pedestrian and it went on and on and on ... 


(side 2)

1.) You Can't Fail Me Now  (Loudon Wainwright III - Joe Henry) - 4:18   rating: **** stars

'You Can't Fail Me Now' offered up a pretty ballad co-written by producer Joe Henry.  Nice showcase for Raitt's instantly recognizable voice and some lovely background guitar.   Probably one of the songs that best showcases how rich Raitt's voice has become over the years.

2.) Down To You   (Randall Bramblett - George Marinelli - Bonnie Raitt) - 3:59   rating: *** stars

An upbeat, mildly blues-tinged rocker which reminded me a touch of Lowell George/Little Feat, 'Down To You' was also one of the album's most commercial numbers - should have been tapped as one of the singles.   

3.) Take My Love with You  (Gordon Kenney - Wayne Kirkpatrick - Kelly Price) - 4:24   rating: **** stars

The first couple of times I listened to 'Take My Love with You' I thought Raitt had fallen over the edge into the land of vapid adult contemporary lite jazz.   The song truly has a lite jazz vibe to it, but also reveals its charms if given half a chance.  Those charms include one of Raitt's prettiest vocals, some sentimental lyrics, and a dirty lead guitar solo that is just short of wonderful.   


(side 3)

1.) Not Cause I Wanted To  (Al Anderson - Bonnie Bishop) - 3:37   rating: *** stars

Heard in isolation this song was simply gorgeous with one of her most heartfelt performances.  Unfortunately on this album it was just another sentimental, acoustic ballad ..

2.) Ain't Gonna Let You Go   (Al Anderson - Bonnie Bramblett- 5:59   rating: **** stars

Another track co-written with NRBQ's Al Anderson, folks forget her roots are in the blues and that she's an accomplished guitarist.  For anyone who was unaware of those two facts there's the blazing bluesy 'Ain't Gonna Let You Go'.   Damn the woman can play some bottleneck ...   

3.) Marriage Made In Hollywood  (Paul Brady - Michael O'Keefe) - 4:54   rating: **** stars

A beautiful, breezy country-tinged number with one of those melodies that sneaks into your head and simply won't leave,  'Marriage Made In Hollywood' was even more impressive given Raitt managed to score a couple of points highlighting our collective fascination with celebrity misfortunes.   Guess I never thought about, but I guess I'm just as guilty as anyone else ...   maybe I should cancel that People subscription.   Crap, now I'm hummin' the damn song.   


(side 4)

1.) Split Decision   (Al Anderson - Gary Nicholson) - 4:35   rating: **** stars

With a bouncy bar band vibe, I wasn't surprised to see the Al Anderson writing credit.  Easy to imagine NRBQ recording this one.  Yeah it may have been a tad too cutesy for some folks but I've always loved the combination of George Marinelli's grungy guitar and Raitt's slide solos on this one.

2.) Standing In the Doorway  (Bob Dylan) - 5:24   rating: *** stars

Having heard the Dylan original I wasn't expecting a great deal. Dylan's performance wasn't bad, but Raitt stamped the remake of 'Standing In the Doorway' with her instantly recognizable since of loss.  Beautful ballad.  

3.) God Only Knows   (Joe Henry) - 4:26    rating: **** stars

Her stark cover of Joe Henry's 'God Only Knows' (just Raitt accompanying herself on piano), has always reminded me of her earlier catalog.  Spare and stunning, it's one of those songs where the lyrics wrapped themselves around me, forcing me to actually pay attention.  What an amazing way to end the album.