Dig in Deep
Bonnie Lynn Raitt was born in Burbank, Ca. in 1948. She is the daughter of Broadway musical star John Raitt. She went to a Quaker school in New York before enrolling at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Raitt befriended blues promoter Dick Waterman and in the fall of 1970 opened for Mississippi Fred McDowell at New York City’s Gaslight Café. She signed with Warner Brothers records in 1971 and released her self titled debut recording. Her follow up album, 1972’s “Give It Up”, received critical acclaim and is still regarded as some of her best work. Raitt achieved wider commercial success in 1977 when she had a hit single off her “Sweet Forgiveness” album; it was her cover of Del Shannon’s 1961 hit “Runaway”. Raitt’s sound is a pop, rhythm and blues groove; her clear vocals are augmented by her fabulous slide guitar work.
Raitt won four Grammy Awards for her 1990 recording “Nick of Time” including “Album of The Year” and “Best Traditional Blues Recording” for her duet, “I’m in The Mood”, with John Lee Hooker. She won three more Grammy’s for 1992’s “Luck of The Draw”. She also won a Grammy each for 1995’s “Longing in Their Hearts”; 1997’s “Road Tested”; and 2013’s “Slipstream”. She also received an eleventh Grammy; a “Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance”, in 2012.
Raitt has sold close to twenty million records. This new recording is her twentieth. She decided this time to self produce and released it on her own Redwing Record label. She has written or co-written five of the twelve songs included; the most since 1988’s “Fundamental”. The band includes Raitt, electric slide guitar and vocals; George Marinelli, electric guitar; James “Hutch” Hutchinson, bass; Ricky Fatar, drums and percussion; and Mike Finnigan, Hammond B-3.
“Unintended Consequence of Love” was co-written with Jon Cleary who guests on piano and provides the backing vocal. Cleary also sings the background vocal on Raitt’s “What You’re Doin’ To Me”. Raitt has co-written two songs with Marinelli; “If You Need Somebody” and “The Comin’ Round is Going Through”. The later is a topical song about the hijacking of our democracy by big money. “The Ones We Couldn’t Be” is a catharsis born of personal loss as Raitt lost her mother, father and older brother during a five year period ending in 2009. Her vulnerability is expressed and her feelings dealt with in this honest and moving song.
Raitt is also a great interpreter of other’s songs. “Need You Tonight” is a cover of a 1988 hit single from the group INXS. “Undone” is from Bonnie Bishop one of Raitt’s favorite Texas songwriters. “I Knew” is from Nashville songwriter Pat McLaughlin. “All Alone with Something to Say” is from songwriters Gordon Kennedy and Steven Dale Jones. “You’ve Changed My Mind” was written and produced by Joe Henry who also guests with Greg Leisz and Bill Frisell. “Shakin’ Shakin’ Shakes” was first recorded by Los Lobos. “Gypsy in Me”, written by Gordon Kennedy and Wayne Kirkpatrick, was the first song chosen as a single and designated for airplay.
Although Raitt has 27 Grammy nominations and won ten times she only has one Blues Music Award nomination. In 1995 she was nominated as Crossover Artist of The Year. Raitt maybe a pop superstar but her duet recordings with various blues icons such as John Lee Hooker, Charles Brown and Dr. John are absolutely legendary. Call Raitt’s music whatever you want but one week after being released “Dig in Deep” is Number 1 on Billboard’s Blues Chart.