117 of 127 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2012
What's going on here? Veteran roots artists have been releasing some of the best music of their careers- B.B. King, Gregg Allman, Dr, John and now Bonnie Raitt have all recorded five star works within the last year or two. Aside from the obvious talents of these artists, there seems to be a common thread at work here: sympathetic producers.
Both B.B. and Gregg worked with veteran T-Bone Burnett to create their strongest studio efforts in years, while the good Doctor was produced by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach for one of the most unusual (and satisfying) recordings in his canon. On "Slipstream", Bonnie is produced by alt-country artist Joe Henry. He earned serious blues cred with Solomon Burke's "Don't Give Up On Me" and Betty Lavette's "I've Got My Own Hell to Raise", among many others.
Bonnie and Henry recorded ten songs in his home studio with an excellent group of acoustic musicians: guitarist Greg Leisz and pianist Patrick Warren are joined by the rhythm section of bassist David Piltch and Jay Bellrose, the drummer who played the skins on Gregg Allman's "Low Country Blues". Four of the songs made the cut on "Slipstream"- Bob Dylan's "Standing In the Doorway" and "Million Miles" are standouts, while Loudon Wainwright III's "You Can't Fail Me Know" and Henry's "God Only Knows" are ballads that will stay in your head long after your first listen.
Covering Dylan always takes courage, but Bonnie has the ability to take the Bard's songs and make them her own, similar to Mavis Staples or Maria Muldaur. When Dylan sings the second verse from "Doorway", "If I saw you, don't know if I'd kiss you or kill you", his dark humor delivery almost makes you laugh. When Bonnie sings the same line, she ever so slightly draws out "kill you", sounding ominous- very uncharacteristic of Bonnie, and very effective.
After being produced by so many greats over the years, including Mitchell Froom (Los Lobos, Emmylou Harris) and Don Was (nearly everyone), and handling her own "Souls Alike" in 2005, Bonnie learned enough tricks in the chair to self- produce the other eight tracks on the album. Her band has been with her for years: George Marinelli on guitar, "Hutch" Hutchinson on bass and Ricky Fataar on drums. In place of Jon Cleary, Mike Finnigan supplies the keyboard work to augment the band's sound.
A Reggae take on the recently departed Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line" looks like an odd choice on paper, but this track is a standout on an album with no weak ones. Randall Bramblett's "Used To Rule the World" is the type of uptempo funky number that showcases Bonnie's slide guitar, and the underrated fretwork of Marinelli. Bonnie is especially effective on the Dylan songs, with accompaniment from jazz guitarist Bill Frisell.
Al Anderson of NRBQ fame contributed three songs to this project, and his guitar duel with Bonnie on "Split Decision" adds to the album's overall jam vibe. Bonnie in particular wanted to go for the rocking sounds that she creates with Marinelli when they perform live.
Some have commented that the Henry produced songs are the superior ones on "Slipstream", but I respectfully disagree. This album is unique because while two producers contribute, the results are equally successful. Bonnie plans on releasing the remaining Henry produced songs from this session at a later date; hopefully she will add some self-produced tracks to that release as well. This is one case where two good cooks have created a great sonic stew.
64 of 74 people found the following review helpful
on April 10, 2012
"Slipstream" is first and foremost the story of an artist returning to her realm after a long dry spell, rediscovering her fountain of inspiration and acquiring the drive to once again practice her craft. Since that artist happens to be Bonnie Raitt, one of America's most iconic and important musicians, it comes as no surprise that it is an enlightening, hearty listen with a feels-like-home comfortability.
The seven-year gap between "Slipstream" and 2005's terrific "Souls Alike" is the longest Raitt has taken between studio efforts, understandable since her life in the interim has been fraught with loss - of parents, of brother, of best friend. While that certainly can be read as informing her soul-searching take on Bob Dylan's masterpiece "Standing in the Doorway" and the aching piano/vocal "God Only Knows," the album only occasionally dips its toe into the deep end of introspection. In fact, the only tune Raitt co-writes here is the rambunctious, sing-songy "Down to You."
This is music with a joyful edge, crafted for the simple pleasure of craft (an artist of Raitt's stature taking such a long gap between records indicates a lack of prioritizing sales or hits) and therefore of great interest to her longtime devotees. It doesn't have the radio-friendly edge of earlier recordings, and it need not. A few songs have a similar bite, especially at the core of the LP, but listeners on the market for a new Raitt album - and there are more than a few of them - will certainly be pleased.
Randall Bramlett's "Used to Rule the World" kicks off the album with funky, slamming, kinetic instrumentation. Raitt's playing is prominent, large and boisterous, firmly establishing that time has not frayed her resolve. Similar can be said of Paul Brady and Michael O'Keefe's witty, biting "Marriage Made in Hollywood," which Raitt wraps her voice around with cool, supple assurance, as well as "Right Down the Line" with its Caribbean flourishes and sure-footed percussion.
The meditative, silky "Take My Love With You" and "Not Cause I Wanted To" showcase Raitt's elegant, quiet passion as a vocalist. The intimate, unobtrusive nature of the recording allows the songs to furrow into the mind and summon repeated listens. This is music that breathes, as the lady behind it surely intended.
With "Slipstream" Raitt resurfaces in radiant, surefooted fashion, confident in her abilities, hungry to record new tunes and hit the road to play them for audiences. After 40 years in the business she retains a disproportionate amount of soul, vigor and longing. Listeners are blessed to have her.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on April 30, 2012
Slipstream, Bonnie Raitt
Bonnie Bonnie Bonnie,
Slipstream, should of been " streamlined " because since I toured with her in the mid eighty's & on & off thru the mid 90's, I seen her efficiency in all that she did, able to tour 10 months at a stretch because she had the talent for maximizing Energy, Time, Every note, Every part of the industry without breaking a sweat, she just made things not just look effortless but it truly was effortless & as she told me then " I want to be doing this when I'm a hundred an one, so I need each step of the process to be as simple an effortless as possible " Okay Bonnie you have done it,( Though you're not 101 yet ) I know you will be doing what you do effortlessly when that time comes !!! Thru the early days with Dad & Now, You have literally outlasted every man an woman alike with your gift for " STREAMLINING " EVERY BREATH, EVERY STEP, EVERY NOTE OF EVERY SONG " Always the perfectionist, Yes you have done it again, I was just one of many who was blessed an honored to blow the Blues with you here in the SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA, I took for granted that my time with you would end, but as each CD comes my way I'm able to relive the days an nights we spent fueling the " RAITT MANIA " prior to " NICK OF TIME " yes I was just a kid living the dream with a talent that was mediocre at best blowing my Horns behind you yet the memories this particular CD brought back remind me of the Lady I met in 83, All the music you have played was played the way you wanted to play it regardless of the huge demand for Pop commercialization, you stuck with YOUR ROOTS an as sure as you were of yourself back in the day, I can only imagine how you must feel having done it Playing from The HEART an playing Music Daddy can be proud of, I know I can tell my stories of blowing my Harpoon & Horn With the " BAY AREA ICON BOONIE RAITT ", AN I GET RAISED EYEBROWS AN DISBELIEF, WELL ONE THING THEY CAN BELIEVE IS YOU JUST TOOK US ALL THE WAY BACK WITH THE HEART, SOUL & GRACE THAT IS SLIPSTREAM, KEEP EM COMING OLD FRIEND, KEEP EM COMING. JT
19 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Smokey Robinson once said that most firmly established artists tend to roll right along in their careers. And that in short describes Bonnie Raitt all over. Her entire career,now going for over forty years has gone through many peaks and valleys. She took one pause in the 80's to overcome substance abuse problems. Than came back far more popular than she ever had been. Activism slowed her output again. Than ailing family members. And here she is in 2012 and back as if none of these obstacles never occurred. In all those cases,however her intentions were definitely in the right place. She's tended to act for the betterment of herself and others. And each time she re-emerges musically,her audience is very happy to hear what she has to say. She's entered into a world with a lot of new faces and the loss of a lot of old ones. Michael Jackson,Whitney Houston,James Brown,John Lee Hooker and dozens upon dozens of people from either her generation or the one before are now gone. And artists such as Susan Tedeschi have emerged very obviously influenced by her artistry. So what can an old musical hand such as Bonnie do?What she's done all of her career. Make some great music the way she does best.
What is this album? Lots of blues,lots of soul and just...well lots of Bonnie Raitt. Each time she makes new music,her sound is just a little better oiled. And that's amazing because she was pretty well established by the end of the 1970's too. She starts out with "Used To Rule The World",one of her great funky type numbers where she muses on how soul music and the artists who make it have begun to dessert us while things move too fast and others are taking their place. There are a couple tunes here that are extremely hit worthy even today. "Take My Love With You" is a lovely,melodic folk/soul type song that Bonnie has proved wonderful with. One of my own favorites is the witty "Marriage Made In Hollywood",kind of a slick uptempo soul/pop tune about selfish behavior and the "celebrities as news/war as entertainment" culture that's still prevalent since her last release. Goes well with some of her activism too. She also takes on some clever interpretations such as her reggae flavored take on Gerry Rafferty's "Right On Down The Line" and Bob Dylan's "Million Miles" and "Standing In The Doorway"..which are very much in the vein of the originals for the most part. She also takes on Loudon Wainright's "You Can't Fail Me Now",again capturing the spirit of the original fairly well.
The album is otherwise composed mostly of soft,soulful ballad type blues such as "Down To You","Ain't Gonna Let You Go" and "God Only Knows",all with her usual reflection and whole hearted feelings. The main break comes in the form of the tougher rocking "Split Decision",in which she compares a bar room brawl with a lover to a boxing match. After all this time Bonnie is still doing what she does best very well. And that's an open ended,soulful sound that's rooted in blues but views that form as something elastic and not as a rut. She takes her rootedness and does a lot with it. That makes for the best blues,the best rock,the best soul...well pretty much the best any kind of music one can dish out. Frankly I am happy she's taken some time between releases rather than churn out a new record once every year or two. She's had a long road. Even between other albums. And this one,while no different is special to me because...I must admit it's the first Bonnie Raitt album I've had the pleasure of buying brand new. There's something about experiencing good new music when it comes out that makes you feel a little refreshed. And this is exactly the kind of "new music" that works best. Because it's at the artists discretion. And what you'll hear in this music is extremely likable.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2012
After seeing several previous reviews, I decided to post my own.
Overall, this is a real good album. Mostly great songs, with a couple that could have been better. But, let's face it, no album is perfect. Even Michael Jackson's Thriller had a couple songs that weren't very good.
What I like most about Bonnie Raitt is that her style is all her own, which means that many times people either love it or hate it. She doesn't cater to pop, rock or blues standards. She'll play them all, but when she does it has her signature on them. That is what makes her better than anything that will ever come out from an American Idol, X Factor, or The Voice winner.
Does she do this album justice. Absolutely. Should you buy this album? Yes.
If and when she makes it to Milwaukee again, I will definitely see her in concert, too. She did a couple songs on the Colbert Report, and the band sounds tight.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Bonnie Raitt's new CD pops & sparkles with a string of tasty tracks. The CD starts with an electrified new Randall Bramblett song "I Used to Rule the World." The second track is Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line" with Luis Conte on percussion and Ricky Fataar on drums creating a bubbling bounce over which Bonnie's great guitar and her aching vocals throb, "'Cause you believed in me through my darkest night, put somethin' inside of me, You brought me into the light." Loudon Wainwright III & Joe Henry's "You Can't Fail Me Now" is a slow smoking blues, "I bit off more than I can chew; It's something that I tend to do when fewer words are what we need and how." "Down to You" rocks the house with a great shuffle, "Step out on the track in the pouring rain and when you get run over, well, you blame the train." Currently #1 in my personal top ten rotation, "Take My Love With You" smolders with a sexy seductive beat & an upbeat lyric, "I'll be your talisman; I'll be your lucky charm; Put it in your pocket; Put it in your heart." It's SO good I can't stop listening! "Not Cause I Wanted To" is a tear-in-your-beer weeper for every blue heart in the local universe. "Split Decision" is another stunning rocker with smashing electric lead guitar and Ricky Fataar's drums unleashed. "Slipstream" is so strong it will undoubtedly be on many "best of's" lists for 2012! Enjoy!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 24, 2012
I have followed Bonnie Raitt's life, music, potential, descent, resurrection, highs and lows for over thirty years. I've seen her live three times--the first before she stopped drinking, the second shortly after she entered her recovery and the third time several years later when she was solid and more comfortable in her own skin and craft then I'd ever seen her...I've loved everything she's released or performed, whether she was strong or struggling, whether it was her best or not. Fast forward to the Nick of Time years and I celebrated that she'd finally found personal happiness. Now, we have Slipstream, her first studio venture since 2005. In the ensuing years since the 1990s she's lost her parents, her brother and that marriage that looked so promising. The result is a Bonnie that I hardly recognized at first...spare, understated, humbled by loss...melted down to her most honest survival essence. Slipstream is, in short, the best body of work she has ever released. Gone is the belting voice of the bruised but defiant survivor. Gone (or understated) is her brilliant slide guitar work which has always been her trademark. Fabulous, but not necessarily beautiful. Slipstream is simply....beautiful. It is the music of a woman who has lost everything dear to her, who has had to live through many of life's tragedies and who brought what she still found precious about life into her music to share with/warn/reassure the rest of us. Run, don't walk....if it's on sale, full price, whatever....just get the damn thing.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Bonnie Raitt's third album this century, "Slipstream," is everything a Raitt fan would want. Her earthen, gritty voice, that great, blusey slide guitar of hers, some choice covers (Bob Dylan, Gerry Rafferty), selections from old friends (Joe Henry, Louden Wainwright III) and the longing attitude mixed with confident swagger that made her best records ("Nick of Time," "Give it Up") such long loved releases. "Slipstream" alternates between the blues she so loves - love the way she turns Dylan's "Million Miles" into a biting question of lover's remorse - and the punch she gives to "Used to Rule the World" and rocking "Split Decision."
Two more tracks here merit mention, Henry's "God Only Knows" and the late Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down The Line." Rafferty gets a subtle reggae pulse and is the obvious single, and does what most covers don't; equals the original. "God Only Knows" (not Brian Wilson's) is a hard knock piano ballad that Raitt (who lost both her parents prior to this album) gives such an emotive reading of that it closes the album perfectly. Time may have been hard leading up to the album itslef, but kind to Raitt's talents. "Slipstream" is a solid album, and will likely wear well as the years pass.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2012
After a seven-year hiatus, partly due to personal setbacks, Bonnie gets down to business and forms her own Redwing Records label. When she straps on her slide guitar, it boasts her loosest playing in fourteen years. She's learned a great deal along the way as her self-production skills on eight of these twelve tracks are precision sharp. The fine songwriter she is has relegated herself mostly to the sidelines, but it's understandable because it's as an interpreter in which she's more identified. Of the Al Anderson tunes, only "Not Cause I Wanted To" springs out of the banal. However, there are three outstanding tracks that showcase Bonnie's band. On "Used To Rule the World", Bonnie's voice and guitar are so souped up that she makes seventies funk sound like the latest rage. Her reggae remake of Gerry Rafferty's "Right Down the Line" is thoroughly reimagined, wholly making it her own. The gorgeous "Take My Love With You", written by three unknowns, is equally measured in its wistfulness and self-assuredness. The sound of these songs is particularly augmented by the fresh blood of Mike Finnegan's Hammond organ.
But it's on three other tracks, all produced by Joe Henry with his simmering band, that most successfully incorporate Bonnie's longstanding marriage with blues-based music. Her smoky contralto delivers immense poignancy with the set closer, "God Only Knows", supported with nothing but understated piano/keyboard. Topping that are two perfected updates of two Bob Dylan songs, both initially from his 1997 classic "Time Out of Mind". I'm convinced these songs, with her voice tinged with chagrin, were really meant for her. Veteran session guitarist Bill Frisell shines accordingly. On "Million Miles", she sees through artifice and it signifies as surely as anything she's ever done. I'd include this with perennial favorites like "Love Has No Pride", "Everybody's Cryin' Mercy", "Angel From Montgomery" and "I Can't Make You Love Me".
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2012
Bonnie's new record (and I do mean vinyl LP) sounds great, the packaging is great, great songs, all of it is awesome. but why was there no download provided with the LP? For someone who has always done very well by her fans, it would have been nice. I still buy quite a bit of vinyl and most records come with either a CD or a free download, which is great for portability! (New albums by Paul McCartney, Rush, the Jayhawks, Glen Campbell, etc have all included a download card. The last Springsteen and Lucinda Willaims LPs had a CDs stuffed right in them!)