Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bonnie Raitt-Luck Of The Draw (1991)


My recent re-connections to artists whom I've heard on the soft rock radio channels for more than a decade has suddenly sparked renewed interest in the lovely blues/folk singer, Bonnie Raiit. And as luck should have it, I had my CD copy of her beautiful and highly successful 1991 album, "Luck Of The Draw", easily accessible and ready for re-listening. There are exactly two songs here that I always look forward to hearing, and both of them are golden hits that have forever remained mainstay staples on the adult contemporary/easy-listening airwaves. "Something To Talk About" stands a the very first Bonnie Raitt song that I'd ever heard. I remember that instant in the introductory movement where the soulful hums and the light guitar playing along with the smooth rhythm attracted my ears, then the next instant when Bonnie's voice broke through with the words 'people are talking about people....'—it was such a delight! I like the whole playful, down-to-earth theme about two lovers being the the topic of hot gossip among those in their circles—if people are gonna talk about you, then it may as well be about love—and taking it in is like being the spectator to a romantic comedy—senselessly fun, but with some serious love-making in the works all the while. I can always sing every one of the words to the first verse and the catchy chorus by memory, but I still struggle with memorizing the words to the second verse, even with the gazillions of times that I've surely heard them—something to talk about indeed! Yet there's even more to discuss when it comes to Bonnie's other golden hit on this album: "I Can't Make You Love Me". This is one of those touching songs that latches on to me and maintains a firm hold on me the moment the familiar chords of the music starts. The dazzling piano accompaniment—which, for the longest time, I had no idea was provided by the skilled musician and fellow adult contemporary soft rock artist, Bruce Hornsby—draws me in first, followed by Bonnie's haunting, lonely words of 'turn down the light, turn down the bed, turn down these voices inside my head' and the even more haunting chorus where she tells her lover that she can't make him love her if he doesn't. The whole song is quite haunting altogether—an emotional masterpiece of poetic brilliance that ironically shines because of the darkness and sadness that is being projected. So many times did I often mistakenly peg "I Can't Make You Love Me" as a Sarah McLachaln song; the two songs have similarly melancholy overtones marked by each respective singer's distinctively downcast folk-style vocal delivery. "Good Man, Good Woman" is a delectable goodie that captures the country spirit (it's a thrill hearing her perform alongside Delbert McClinton), and so is the good ole-fashioned country story about Jody and Chico on the albums ninth track, "Papa Come Quick". Right on par with "I Can't Make You Love Me" thematically is the bittersweet gem, "One Part Be My Lover". The warming glow of the stilled backing ambiance is deceptive to the ears, as Bonnie sings softly yet earnestly about how half of herself wants the man to go away forever while the other half still wants him. Whether it's something sunny, fun and upbeat like "Something To Talk About", or something sad and bluesy like "I Can't Make You Love Me", it's always a pleasure hearing Bonnie's voice. So why not try your own luck and play this album for yourself? You just might draw the same conclusions as I have:

1. Something To Talk About
2. Good Man, Good Woman
3. I Can't Make You Love Me
4. Tangled And Dark
5. Come To Me
6. No Business
7. One Part Be My Lover
8. Not The Only One
9. Papa Come Quick (Jody And Chico)
10. Slow Ride
11. Luck Of The Draw
12. All At Once

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