A few years ago my wife and I had the pleasure of seeing Bonnie Raitt perform in a theatre venue. As one of our favorite performers, she did not disappoint, bringing her comfortable persona and slide guitar talent to the stage. Raitt is the daughter of two Broadway performers, so her musicality comes first hand.
Rather than Broadway, she mixed blues, rock and folk together to be a cult-like, but largely unknown icon for years during the 1970s. She has always been an excellent performer, but she did not break through in popularity until her album “Nick of Time” was released at the start of the 1990s, followed up by two successful albums in the next few years. To show how down home she is, when she won a Grammy, as she walked to the stage to accept, her heel broke. So she took off the other high heel shoe and accepted the award in her bare feet.
Her are sample lyrics from a few of my favorites.
I can’t make you love me
‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t
You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t
Here in the dark, in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power
But you won’t, no you won’t
‘Cause I can’t make you love me, if you don’t
Her voice is a marvelous instrument as well as her guitar. It is well-suited to painful or love torn, lyrics. The timing of “if you don’t,” is a good example as the thought lingers, before you hear the words.
Something to talk about
I feel so foolish, I never noticed
You’d act so nervous,
Could you be falling for me?
It took a rumor to make me wonder
Now I’m convinced I’m going under
Thinking ’bout you every day
Dreaming ’bout you every night
Hoping that you feel the same way
Now that we know it, let’s really show it, Darlin’
This is her most fun song about rumors floating around of her romance to a co-worker before they realize it. When she is not singing the painful lyrics, she shines with a wry, playful kind of singing. This is very much the latter playful banter.
Have a heart
Hey hey, have a heart, hey, have a heart
If you don’t love me, why don’t you let me go?
Have a heart, please, oh don’t you have a heart?
Little by little you fade while I fall apart
But don’t you run away, baby
Another one of her painful songs asking the most basic of questions. Do not pretend that you love me anymore, so why don’t you say so? She is more smitten, but does not want to be anyone’s fool.
Thing called love
I ain’t some icon carved out of soap
Sent here to clean up your reputation
Baby, you know you ain’t no Prince Charming
We can live in fear or act out of hope
For some kind of peaceful situation
Baby, how come the cry of love is so alarming
This is not the chorus, but I love this lyric of how she says I am not here to clean up your reputation. She playfully dares the man are you ready for this thing called love?
A couple of other great tunes are “Love me like a man” and “Nick of time.” But, there are many more where those came from.
If you have not seen her in concert, give yourself a treat. She is a wonderful guitarist and does not always play a slide guitar, which is neat to see. But, she is just down home fun. She is the kind of woman you would love to hang out with.
If you don’t know her music, check her out. I think you may find her body of work worth listening to on those long car rides. Better use cruise control, as we don’t want you getting distracted. As you will have a lot of fun along with a hoarse voice. Bonnie is worth the trip and hoarse voice.