Sunday, 15 February 2009

“Piece Of My Heart – The Best Of 1969-1978” by BONNIE BRAMLETT [feat Delaney, Eric Clapton] (2008 Raven CD Compilation of Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"...Your Guitar Sounded So Sweet…"

Born Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell in Acton in Illinois, she met and married Delaney Bramlett from Pontotoc Count in Missouri in 1967 and thereafter the two Americans became professionally known as DELANEY and BONNIE. Separating in 1972, she pursued a solo career that’s still going to this day. This truly excellent 2008 CD compilation on Australia’s RAVEN label gives us 19 REMASTERED tracks across 5 labels and 9 albums – and it’s a peach.

There’s a lot on RVCD-290 – so let’s break in down (74:59 minutes):

1. Piece Of My Heart [a Bert Berns/Jerry Ragovoy song/Erma Franklin cover]
2. When The Battle Is Over [Traditional Song cover, arranged by Dr. John & Jesse Hill]
3. The Love Of My Man [An Ed Townshend song, Etta James cover]
4. Come On In My Kitchen [a Robert Johnson cover]
5. Groupie (Superstar) [a Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett/Leon Russell song]
6. Only You Know And I Know [Dave Mason cover (of Traffic)]
7. Able, Qualified And Ready [Leon Ware/Bonnie Bramlett song]
8. Crazy ‘Bout My Baby [Robert Mosley song]
9. Rollin’ [Marc Benno/Rita Coolidge/Tommy McClure/Dan Penn song]
10. The Sorrow Of Love [Daniel Moore cover]
11. (You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am [Jimmy Williams/Larry Harrison song]
12. Your Kind Of Kindness [D & B Bramlett/Jerry Allison/Dale Gilmore song]
13. Your Love Has Brought Me (A Mighty Long Way)
[Jackie Avery/Earl Simms/Carlton McWilliams writers]
14. Oncoming Traffic [Gregg Allman song]
15. Two Steps From The Blues
[John Riley Brown/Deadric Malone writers/a Bobby “Blue” Bland cover]
16. Forever Young [Bob Dylan cover]
17. Can’t Find My Way Home [Steve Winwood writer/Blind Faith cover]
18. The Flame Blinds The Moth [R A Martin song]
19. Memories [Bonnie Bramlett song]

Track 1 is from their debut album “Home”, issued March 1969 on Stax STS 2026 in the USA and Stax SXATS 1029 in the UK (pictured below)

Track 2 is from “Accept No Substitute - The Original Delaney & Bonnie”, issued July 1969 on Elektra EKS 74039 in both the USA and the UK (the UK issue is simply credited as “The Original Delaney & Bonnie”) (pictured below)

Track 3 is from “To Bonnie From Delaney”, issued in October 1970 on Atco SD33-341 in the USA and Atlantic 2400 029 in the UK (pictured below)

Track 4 is from “Motel Shot”, issued March 1971 on Atco SD33-358 in the USA and on Atlantic 2400 119 in the UK (pictured below)

Tracks 5 and 6 are from “D & B Together”, issued April 1972 on Columbia KC 31377 in the USA and CBS S 64959 in the UK (pictured below)

Tracks 7 to 11 are from “Sweet Bonnie Bramlett”, issued 1973 on Columbia KC 31786 in the USA and CBS S 65001 in the UK (pictured below)

Tracks 12 to 14 are from “It’s Time”, issued February 1975 on Capricorn CP 0148 in the USA and Capricorn 2429 125 in the UK (pictured below)

Tracks 15 to 16 are from “Lady’s Choice”, issued 1976 on Capricorn CP 0169 in the USA and Capricorn 2429 145 in the UK (pictured below)

Tracks 17 to 19 are from “Memories”, issued 1978 on Capricorn CP 0199 in the USA and Capricorn 2429 162 in the UK

[TRACKS 1 to 3 are credited to DELANEY and BONNIE; Tracks 4 to 6 are credited to DELANEY and BONNIE and FRIENDS; Tracks 7 to 19 are credited to BONNIE BRAMLETT]

Formerly one of Ike Turner’s Ikettes, Bonnie Bramlett had a Janis Joplin voice and an equal love of blues, R’n’B and soul. With Delaney Bramlett (a member of the 60’s group The Shindogs), they met, married and then recorded that vibe live in the studio to keep it real. This fused their love of black music with white man’s rock producing what is arguably a hugely influential variant which we now take for granted – a sort of white boy’s soul. Along the way, they amassed a huge number of high-profile rock alumni referred to on the albums as “& FRIENDS” – they included Eric Clapton, Duane and Gregg Allman, Bobby Charles, Bobby Keys of The Stones, Rita Coolidge, Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, Little Richard, Eddie Hinton, Dave Mason of Traffic, Dickie Betts and many more – even the Average White Band and Lowell George of Little Feat played on her funky 1973 solo debut “Sweet Bonnie Bramlett” (both are uncredited).

The set‘s been compiled by KEITH GLASS and PETER SHILLITO and the 12-page liner notes have photos, album details and reminiscences from the great lady herself. But the really good news is the SUPERB SOUND – far better than any of the former issues of their material (some of the earlier tracks do have high hiss levels – undoubtedly on the tapes – but the rest are fabulous). It really is a genuine blast to finally hear these great tunes given the sonic makeover they’ve always deserved (remastered by WARREN BARNETT at Raven).

The music veers from fast to slow – and as a listen – the compilation is blindingly good. Highlights include the 60’s sounding “Able, Qualified & Ready” coming over like a more ballsy Staple Singers and the truly fantastic sound quality on the funky “Crazy ‘Bout My Baby”. Keeping it uptempo is the fab Jack Avery 1970 gem on Capricorn “Your Love Has Brought Me (A Mighty Long Way)”, which was made famous by Wilson Pickett on his 1971 Atlantic album “Don’t Knock My Love”. Gregg Allman puts in a career-best soulful duet vocal on “Two Steps From The Blues”, while Dave Mason’s “Only You Know And I Know” is a fantastic mid tempo rocker too (covered to superb effect by Joan Osbourne in 2002). “Groupie (Superstar)” has been done by loads of people including most memorably by The Carpenters as “Superstar” in 1971. There’s so much more too…

It’s rare that you come to a compilation and enjoy “all” of it – and could easily chew up Volume Two – but “Piece Of My Heart…” is such a collection. I’ve been listening to it for weeks now - a great job done. Buy with confidence - and big time recommended.

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