June 16, 2008
Bonnie Raitt - Fundamental
Bonnie Raitt's marvelous voice, saucy grooves, and singing slide guitar are this album's fundamentals. But these 11 love songs are more than a back-to-basics exercise. Coproducers Mitchell Froom and Tchad Blake help Raitt create the edgiest arrangements she's ever had. Which explains the dry, in-your-face vocal sound of "Round and Round" and the near-naked framing of the best guitar solos, like Los Lobos' David Hidalgo's probing Jimmie Vaughan masquerade on "Cure for Love." Raitt herself plays a rippling African-style melody line on "One Belief Away." And the jittery guitar break and pumping piano on "I Need Love" threaten to knock the tune's tonal center to pieces. Her lyrics are crafty, too, whether she's calling down the furies as she opts for another spin on the flaming "Spit of Love" or feeling romance tug like quicksand in "Cure for Love." A little weird, maybe, but commanding, wise, real, and beautiful. (Ted Drozdowski)
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