Saturday, August 23, 2008
Enjoying, after fitful attempts, the copy of Bonnie Raitt's Luck of the Draw that I bought in April for just over 12 cents, I wondered why it's taken me so long. She's made a couple of classic albums that show up on many all-time lists; she's a role model for women playing slide guitar; she scored one of the great, if not THE great, Grammy upset of the last two decades, and its subsequent commercial enshrinement; I admire how LOTD humbly includes self-written compositions with covers, John Hiatt boilerplate, and L.A. songs-for-hire -- a model that I wish more men would follow (there's a fascinating essay to be written about the ease with which female artists from Aretha to Rosanne Cash include their own songs as afterthoughts on their classic recordings). What's not to love? Maybe she's too damn tasteful; there's little sense that she's an artist whose well-documented personal excesses dovetailed with aesthetic overreach. In any case, LOTD offers lots of pleasures. Even in high school, during the summer when The KLF's "3 AM Eternal" and Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)" struggled to relieve Bryan Adams' Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves horror from the Number One slot, I thought that "Something To Talk About" was a well-deserved hit; it's sexy in an adult, fully cognizant way. You'd have to go back to Fleetwood Mac's "Little Lies" to find a Top Five hit sung by a fortysomething woman this sly. "I Can't Make You Love Me" takes static melancholia to a new peak. "All At Once" and "One Part Be My Lover" are the keepers: anchored by Raitt's own electric piano, she deepens the middle-aged euphoria of "Something To Talk About" with shrewd remarks about fights with her grown daughter and accepting the limitations of her aging body. At any rate, now I'm very curious. Recommendations besides the ones I know?
Posted by Alfred Soto at 8:10 PM