Saturday, 4 June 2016
"Takin My Time" by BONNIE RAITT [feat members of LITTLE FEAT] (2002 Warner Brothers CD - Lee Herschberg Remaster) - A Review by Mark Barry...
"...I Know You're Leavin'...But I'm Leavin' Too..."
Bonnie's quietly superb third Warner Brothers platter "Takin My Time" from the winter of 1973 cemented the reputation of her career opener "Bonnie Raitt" in November 1971 and the superb follow-through "Give It Up" in October 1972 (see my separate reviews for those and the 'Original Album Series' 5CD Mini Box Set that carries the five albums that followed).
Like its two predecessors – "Takin My Time" was another great Blues and Rock album played by a woman steeped in the traditions of American R&B and Soul and ably supported by a gang of likeminded quality musicians – helmed this time by Producer John Hall (who would later form Orleans) and featuring members of LITTLE FEAT including Lowell George on three cuts. Her second LP "Give It Up" only made No. 138 in October 1972 on the American LP charts - so her placing of No. 87 for "Takin My Time" showed progress and a public that was finally picking up on her great albums. And this superlative 2002 CD Remaster only hammers that home. More moody this time around - here are the candles and the rainstorms...
UK released March 2002 – "Takin My Time" by BONNIE RAITT on Warner Brothers 8122-78379-2 (Barcode 081227837921) is a straightforward remaster of the album and plays out as follows (37:24 minutes):
1. You've Been In Love Too Long
2. I Gave My Love A Candle
3. Let Me In
4. Everybody's Cryin' Mercy
5. Cry Like A Rainstorm
6. Wah She Go Do [Side 2]
7. I Feel The Same
8. I Thought I Was A Child
9. Write Me A Few Of Your Lines/Kokomo Blues
Tracks 1 to 10 are her third studio album "Takin My Time" - released October 1973 in the USA on Warner Brothers BS 2729 and November 1973 in the UK on Warner Brothers K 46261. Produced by JOHN HALL - it peaked at No. 87 on the US album charts (didn’t chart UK).
The 6-leaf foldout inlay gives song-by-song breakdowns, reproduces the gatefold artwork and offers basic reissue credits but no new liner notes. There's a 'Digitally Remastered' logo sticker on the jewel case and a silver inlay that says the same. GREGG GELLER has co-ordinated the Warner Remasters Series with LEE HERSCHBERG carrying out the remaster. Like its two predecessors (also in this series) - this CD sounds fantastic – a transfer that's brought out the original production values with aplomb. Fans are going to love it.
"Takin My Time" opens on a Martha And The Vandellas cover – a funky rendition of their September 1965 Gordy Records hit "You’ve Been In Love Too Long". With Paul Barrere and Bill Payne of Little Feat on Guitar and Electric Piano – it’s hardly surprising that the songs sounds like a very cool Little Feat outtake. Warners tried it as a 45 in October 1973 in the USA with “Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy” on the flipside (Warner Brothers 7758) but it didn’t ignite. That said - you also notice John Hall’s truly expert Production values throughout – warm and full – really great stuff. Written by Joel Zoss "I Gave My Love A Candle" slows things down to a middle pace – a lovely ballad that perhaps overdone with John Hall's Mellotron backdrop (great guitars though). Written by Yvonne Baker of the Soul/R&B Vocal Group The Sensations – "Let Me In" was their lone chart hit back in February 1962 on Argo. Bonnie keeps it peppy with a New Orleans ragtime twist – her band featuring Taj Mahal on Acoustic Bass, Bill Payne of Little Feat on Piano and master Trumpeter Oscar Brashear giving it some funeral-happy Flugelhorn. One of my fave-raves on the album is her fantastically sleazy-Blues take on Mose Allison's "Everybody's Cryin' Mercy" with Taj Mahal's Harmonica warble throughout making the song (Bill Payne, Bonnie, Freebo (Bassist), John Hall and Taj Mahal do the backing vocals). Linda Ronstadt also saw the heartbreak potential in Eric Kaz's hurting song when she named a whole album after it in October 1989 – even completing the lyric "Cry Like A Rainstorm – Howl Like The Wind".
Side 2 opens with a cod Reggae conga in the shape of "Way She Go Do" written by Calypso artist McCartha Lewis – but it's a rhythm that's best left to people like Ry Cooder (feels oddly out of place here). Far, far better is the Acoustic Blues of "I Feel The Same" which features a sucker-punch house band of greats – Bonnie on Acoustic with Little Feat's Lowell George on Electric Slide, Bill Payne on Keyboards and Earl Palmer on Drums with Milt Holland patting the Tabla. It's fabulous stuff. "I Feel The Same" was written by a songwriter I love called CHRIS SMITHER. Bonnie would record a stunning duet with Smither and his deep dark voice of Bob Dylan's "Desolation Row" on his 2003 CD album "Train Home" – a near 8-minute masterpiece of interpretation that I urge you seek out (their voices so sweet together).
Jackson Browne provides the plaintive ballad "I Thought I Was A Child" where the singer comes upon wisdom "...in your eyes..." Billy Payne and John Hall keep the instrumentation simple and sweet - exacting a Jackson Browne feel to the outcome. Back to her first love – Blues – and a wickedly good doubled-up hand-clapping set of covers by Mississippi Fred McDowell - "Write Me A Few Of Your Lines/Kokomo Blues". Her bottleneck guitar playing is so damn good as the duo of tunes chug along with their infectious and irresistible beat (would have been a great single). It ends on a Randy Newman classic – "Guilty". A slow Bluesy Piano plinkers in and a clearly hurting and very drunk singer is miserable as he reminisces at the blurry black and white keys (done his baby wrong – again). The rendition builds with a great set of four horn players giving it some serious Orleans lament - while Lowell George floats over proceedings with the tastiest of slide guitar. It's short but oh so sweet and like all great albums – leaves you wanting more...
In February 2016 Bonnie released her 20th album "Dig In Deep" and already it's received a warm welcome and many rave reviews. This great American Blues Lady has been a class act for a very long time...time to respect that...