bonnie raitt

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Various: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Tipitina's/Shock)

Various: A Tribute to Fats Domino (Tipitina's/Shock)

In the days after Hurricane Katrina it was believed that this great New Orleans r'n'b singer had been washed away. Fortunately he had been rescued although his home, like much of that wonderful city, had suffered extreme damage. The interesting thing about the rumours of his death was the sudden recognition of his talent in the wider...

Sonny Landreth: From the Reach (Shock)

Sonny Landreth: From the Reach (Shock)

Having once stood in torrential rain and mud up to my boot-tops at a New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to watch guitarist Sonny Landreth, I have always felt a strange loyalty to him. I have faithfully reviewed his many albums but always came to the same conclusion. Gifted though he obviously is -- and conceding his career performing...

BONNIE RAITT INTERVIEWED 1992: Born to make things better

BONNIE RAITT INTERVIEWED 1992: Born to make things better

At one of those flashbulb and tape-recorder after-match functions following this year’s Grammy awards, three-time recipient Bonnie Raitt was the centre of attention. In a year which gave awards to Natalie Cole and her dead dad singing something written 30 years ago, Bonnie Raitt – just as she was two years back when she picked up...

Ry Cooder:The Ry Cooder Anthology, The UFO Has Landed (Warners)

Ry Cooder:The Ry Cooder Anthology, The UFO Has Landed (Warners)

Given the length - not to mention the breadth - of his career, this crammed double disc could almost still seem paltry. Cooder has recorded about 30 albums, reached from classic film soundtracks (Paris Texas and The Long Riders) to the Buena Vista Social Club, recorded concept albums (the recent LA trilogy) and pared-back acoustic material....

John Prine: The Missing Years (1991)

John Prine: The Missing Years (1991)

Around the time in the early 90s when he went from cult figure to frontline, American singer-songwriter John Prine got a nice kiss-off line to his entry in the Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music: “His live solo act is spellbinding,” the final sentence of his brief career synopsis stated baldly. Well, he’d had plenty of...

DEREK TRUCKS INTERVIEWED (2009): Allman and Clapton, but his own man

DEREK TRUCKS INTERVIEWED (2009): Allman and Clapton, but his own man

For someone yet to hit 30, the Jacksonville, Florida-based singer-guitarist Derek Trucks has achieved a lot. But then, he was almost born to it. His uncle is drummer Butch Trucks of the Allman Brothers Band; he was named after Eric Clapton’s pseudonym in Derek and the Dominos; and these days he is married to acclaimed blues singer...

Eric Bibb: Get On Board (Telarc/Elite)

Eric Bibb: Get On Board (Telarc/Elite)

From the haunting opener Spirit I Am though to the country-blues reworking of the old Civil Rights song Stayed On Freedom which closes this exceptional collection, this 57-year old, Helsinki-based folk-blues singer from New York confirms that he is one of the great writers/interpreters of this tradition-to-the-future idiom which touches soul,...

IVAN NEVILLE INTERVIEWED (2005): The family that plays together . . .

IVAN NEVILLE INTERVIEWED (2005): The family that plays together . . .

More than four decades after one of the family first scored a hit, and 25 years from the first Neville Brothers album Fiyo on the Bayou, you could almost forgive the brothers Aaron, Art, Charles and Cyril for slowing down a little.  The oldest, keyboardist Art, is 68 and had a close call with death after back surgery in late 2001. And...

Chris Smither: Time Stands Still (Shock)

Chris Smither: Time Stands Still (Shock)

As on his earlier Leave The Light On, this grizzled singer-songwriter now in his mid 60s, covers a Bob Dylan song, this time It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry. He also adds in Mark Knopfler's Madame Geneva's and that's a more useful reference, because Knopfler explores roots music -- but Smither lives it. His low grumble isn't...

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1 (Ode)

It's a curious thing that in New Zealand where country and alt.country of various persuasions has become increasingly popular that an album like this slips past most people. It slipped past me until very recently, although I'm pleased to note her previous one Red Dirt Angel, didn't go around the judges at the 2009 music awards who picked it as...

Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed: Me and Jerry, Me and Chet (Raven/EMI)

Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed: Me and Jerry, Me and Chet (Raven/EMI)

Doubtless one for guitarists (of the country pickin' persuasion too perhaps), this two-fer pulls the '70 and '72 Grammy-grabbing duet albums by Atkins and Reed onto one disc and adds eight bonus tracks. There is a small band (which includes pianist Floyd Cramer) on the Me and Chet album. With Chet on the right and Jerry on the left you can...

Jackie Bristow: Freedom (Ode)

Jackie Bristow: Freedom (Ode)

Singer-songwriter Bristow moved from New Zealand to Austin in 2008 (where this, her third album, was recorded) and it would be easy and convenient to drop her into the alt.country/country category. Certainly on the recent tour with Tami Neilson and Lauren Thomson she fitted into that zone. Those three gals delivered a terrific show which...

Galactic: Ya-ka-may (Anti)

Galactic: Ya-ka-may (Anti)

New Orleans may have been the birthplace of jazz and home to funky pianists (Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Dr John), but in the 90s a new form of hip-hop (called bounce) came from the streets and incorporated punchy rhythms and second-line bass parts which drew from NO funeral marches. The bruising bounce movement -- the soundtrack to...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dr John; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dr John; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

The Dr John of today -- 71 in November -- is in many ways a very different musician to the one which emerged in the late Sixties, and that's probably a good thing. If he'd kept on styling himself as Dr John the Night Tripper and come on with his shaking stick, voodoo beads and crazy capes (in the manner of Screamin Jay Hawkins) he would have...

John Hiatt: The Open Road (New West)

John Hiatt: The Open Road (New West)

For my money John Hiatt never sounds better than when he gets a rocking band behind and sounds a little venomous or angry. The back-porch Hiatt never much appealed to me -- so this, his 19th album, suits me just fine. With his tight little touring band and at age 57, he (mostly) writes about hitting the highway and some of the songs seem...

Carol Bean: Crossing the Dirty River (carolbean.com)

Carol Bean: Crossing the Dirty River (carolbean.com)

This album by peripatetic British-born, LA-raised country-blues rocker singer-guitarist Bean -- now resident in NZ -- has been around the stereo for perhaps so long I forgot to post it. With a tight, revolving door band which includes slippery and earthy guitar by Mike Petrie, Robbie Duncan, Mark Laurent and Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Bean delivers...

Maggie Bell: The Best of Maggie Bell (Angel Air/Southbound CD/DVD)

Maggie Bell: The Best of Maggie Bell (Angel Air/Southbound CD/DVD)

Bell was one of those paint-peeling, bluesy post-Joplin singers of the late Sixties and Seventies whose path crossed that of Long John Baldry, Rod Stewart, Led Zeppelin, Eric Burdon and others with whom she guested. The raw-throated singer also fronted Stone the Crows for four albums, embarked on a solo career, consistently won acclaim in...

Donna Dean: What Am I Gonna Do? (Ode)

Donna Dean: What Am I Gonna Do? (Ode)

When it comes to country music (alt. or country-rock) Donna Dean has the credentials: the gal has done it all -- marriage, kids, divorce, rehab, bars and clubs, opening for the likes of Willie Nelson, Jimmy Webb and the Penn-Oldham team . . . She spent time in London and Europe, recorded her debut album Money with The Amazing Rhythm Aces in...

Kasey Chambers: Little Bird (Liberation)

Kasey Chambers: Little Bird (Liberation)

Almost a decade ago this Australian singer-songwriter penned Not Pretty Enough, a penetrating chart-topper about self-doubt. The title track here sounds like its rejoinder with the wisdom of years: Chambers sings of a broken relationship, how a little bird told her what to do the get the guy back, “but I don't want you that...

Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra: Rockinghorse (Rhino)

Jools Holland and His Rhythm and Blues Orchestra: Rockinghorse (Rhino)

The celebrity-guest collections and R'N'B Orchestra discs from Jools Holland have often been tasty but a few not entirely successful. This sometimes breathless rush of boogie-woogie piano, big brass and handclap gospel-blues comes off a winner from the opener, a thumping and exciting duet with New Orleans piano legend Allen Toussaint and...

The Doobie Brothers: World Gone Crazy (Shock)

The Doobie Brothers: World Gone Crazy (Shock)

The Doobies' great Listen to the Music, Long Train Running and China Grove in the late 60s/early 70s were driven by urgent guitars and hammering keyboards delivering a forward momentum (which denied the stoner reference of their chosen name). But surely no old fans could fall for the limp, lame and geriatric opener here A Brighter Day...

Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues (Universal)

Gregg Allman: Low Country Blues (Universal)

Gregg Allman is as well known for his marriage to Cher in the 70s and battles with drug'n'alcohol as he is for co-founding the seminal Southern blues-rock Allman Brothers Band with his long-gone sibling Duane. Sober and straight these past 15 years (and a new liver installed last year), the 63-year old singer/keyboard player here...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Lauren Thomson

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Lauren Thomson

Auckland-based singer-songwriter Lauren Thomson released her excellent debut EP Our Love is Due in the closing days of 2007 and on the back of it toured frequently, often with Canadian Tami Neilson and Jackie Bristow. The three of them delivered a terrific package show which thrilled with foot-stomping barroom country rock, or took you to...

Lauren Thomson: Chanteuses and Shotguns (Ode)

Lauren Thomson: Chanteuses and Shotguns (Ode)

Auckland singer-songwriter Thomson deservedly struck lucky when she went to Canada with Tami Neilson to assist on Neilson's follow-up to The Kitchen Sessions Vol 1 . . . Thomson got this new album at the same time. As she writes in the liner notes here, "Playing music and hanging out with the Neilson family in the hot Canadian sun was...

Joanne Shaw Taylor: Diamonds in the Dirt (Ruf)

Joanne Shaw Taylor: Diamonds in the Dirt (Ruf)

It would be easy to describe -- and acclaim -- this fiery British singer-guitarist as a blues artist, and she is. But there's more to her than that. Certainly she can peel off blazing solos like Stevie Ray Vaughan (whose producer Jim Gaines is again on hand here) and can also conjure up the more gentle blues-soul of Hendrix (World on Fire)....

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Session Volume II (Ode)

Tami Neilson: The Kitchen Table Session Volume II (Ode)

When reviewing her previous album The Kitchen Table Sessions Vol 1, I noted the promise of the title and looked forward to Auckland-based Neilson getting back around the table in her brother's house in Canada to deliver a follow-up. This time she took with her singer-songwriter Lauren Thomson who plays guitar, sings back-up in places here...

John Hiatt: She Loves the Jerk (1983)

John Hiatt: She Loves the Jerk (1983)

Songs of spousal abuse or domestic violence are never going to be pretty or common, in fact on a countback the most outstanding one prior to this by Hiatt was probably the gloomy and dark He Hit Me (It Felt Like a Kiss) written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King in the early Sixties. They'd heard from Little Eva (who'd had a chart hit with...

Gomez: Whatever's On Your Mind (Shock)

Gomez: Whatever's On Your Mind (Shock)

Split between the UK and USA, seven studio albums into their career and with songwriters Ian Ball and Ben Ottewell having released solo albums (rusty voiced Ottewell's being the excellent alt.folk Shapes and Shadows) hardly seems to have damaged Gomez, who started on a career high when they won the '98 Mercury Prize for their Bring It On...

Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Nonesuch/Warners)

Ry Cooder: Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down (Nonesuch/Warners)

Ry Cooder's last three outings were the occasionally rewarding but often hard haul through his concept album trilogy Chavez Ravine (Mexican LA in the Forties), My Name is Buddy (Depression era America) and I Flathead (sci-fi Fifties with cool cars). Great songs scattered throughout, but . . .   For this one however Cooder...

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

THE OLD GREY WHISTLE TEST DVD REVIEWED (2007)

If you want to capture the essence of the 70s in a word it's "hair". At the start of the decade there were Afros and cascades of curls halfway down backs (that's the men) and the long straight stuff with fringes (the women -- and Noddy Holder from Slade). By mid-decade there were dreadlocks, moustaches and big sideburns...

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