Bonnie Raitt--TAKIN' MY TIME--Warner Bros., BS-2729
Bonnie Raitt has a new album out and if you've enjoyed either of her previous releases then you won't be displeased with this one. It's called Takin my Time and features ten songs from a variety of sources ranging from soul/r&b favorites, to contemporary ballads and love songs, to country blues with each type of material complementing the others.
Side one starts out with "You've Been in Love Too Long,'" an old Martha and the Vandellas hit. It's a mellow tune with a good groove and a good intro into the album. "I Gave My Love A Candle" is next, a slow ballad which sounds lots like Jackson Browne. As this tune ends voices come through the speakers saying "Were it comes, let's do it," and suddenly Bonnie and friends are full speed ahead into the old r&b killer "Wee-ooh, Wee-ooh." The old roaring 20's rinkytink piano, barroom sound they get on this record amazed me but you can't stay amazed too long because "Everybody's Cryin' Mercy" starts. This is a slow, weary blues/jazz piece written by Mose Allison and sounds good to me. "Cry Like A Rainstorm" is in the same musical vein as "I Gave My Love ---" and closes out the first side.
Side two opens with the surprise of surprises, a calypso tune called "Wah She Go Do." If this wasn't on the disc I wouldn't have believed it was Bonnie. But it is, and it's a testimonial to her and the band's versatility. Steve Stills does a number of tunes that sound similar to the next song, "I Feel The Same," but Bonnie has her own sound and this is another good tune, definitely holding attention until a Jackson Browne composition "I Thought I Was a Child" takes over. If you dig Bonnie Raitt you should check this brother out as she digs him and it shows in her music.
Next comes "Write Me a Few of Your Lines/Kokomo Blues" written by Fred McDowell, one of Bonnie's guitar teachers and one of her major musical influences. You might have heard her do this tune on the 1972 Ann Arbor Blues and Jazz Festival album, and it's the only tune on the album where Bonnie's guitar work is out front for you to hear, instead of being a background instrument. She makes the most of it though, playing bottleneck, electric and acoustic guitars. Only a Randy Newman song, "Guilty Remains," a slow bluesy tune which finished off the second side.
Bonnie's band for this album was basically John Hall on lead guitar, Freebo on bass, Bill Payne on piano, and Earl Palmer on drums with a few minor changes, like Taj Mahal playing harp on three tunes. Bonnie doesn't play any guitar on over half the album but her voice seems richer, older and more mature perhaps since she could concentrate more on her singing. It would be nice to hear some more of her original material on her next album, but we'll have to wait and see.
All in all this is a very enjoyable record. It won't make your jaw drop but that's cool cause Bonnie's Just Takin Her Time.