Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bonnie Raitt Dig In Deep 2016

Bonnie's on a roll. She wrote or co-wrote four of the selections here. Her singing is as expressive and casually powerful as ever. And she's playing more guitar, confident in her simmering strength on slide guitar.

Unintended Consequence Of Love kicks things off in slinky, funk-blues style with a hot slide solo. Need You Tonight has a strong back beat, twin guitars, and organ and guitar solos- it's a serious band effort all around. The first ballad, I Know, is more great guitar interplay, capped with Bonnie's subtly restrained vocal. All Alone With Something To Say mines the heartache ballad territory that Bonnie has done so well her entire career. Another arrangement that lets the band shine comes in the form of the rocking What You're Doing To Me, with more fine organ and guitars.

The cover of Los Lobos' Shakin' Shakin' Shakes is fun, and there's more smoking twin guitars between Bonnie and George Martinelli. Undone is the sad break-up ballad, and Bonnie brings another great, heartfelt vocal. There's Bonnie's anti-corporate rant The Comin' Round Is Going Through, the seemingly autobiographical Gypsy In Me, and more solid band rocking in If You Need Somebody.

The record closes with two deep ballads. The first, Joe Henry's You've Changed My Mind, was recorded during sessions for Bonnie's last, Slipstream in 2012, and it must have been hard to leave this one off that record. The last song, The Ones We Couldn't Be, with Bonnie writing and playing piano, is a beautiful sad ballad of imperfect love.

The band is Bonnie's touring unit, and they are hardly a back-up band. George Martinelli is as tasteful and talented a guitarist as any, always perfect, and he and Bonnie can jam. Mike Finnigan's Hammond B3 is equally ideal at every turn. And Ricky Fatar on drums and Hutch Hutchinson's bass lay down a solid rhythm. Solid like twenty inches of concrete solid. There's a few other guests, but these guys don't need any help.

Bonnie's voice has lost little, and her hot licks on slide guitar are generously applied. The recording is clean as a whistle, and the vinyl is pressed at 45 rpm for maximum groovitude. Bonnie's always had a great ear for songs, and now she's also writing more that match that same quality control level. Put all that together with a super hot band, and it should be no surprise how good it comes out.

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