Bonnie's Pride and Joy

Fansite with ALL the news about Bonnie !

Bonnie Raitt: Nick of Time
Bonnie Raitt (Capitol Records PR photo 1989 by Aaron Rapoport)

Bonnie Raitt: Nick of Time

on September 28, 2020 No comments
by Kara Manning

tip: most convenient way to listen while browsing along is to use the popup button of the player.

Album ReCue, a part of FUV’s EQFM initiative, takes an on-air and online look back at influential releases by women that altered our perspective not only of the artist, but her invaluable impact on music history.
Above, listen to a conversation with Alisa Ali and Sarah Wardrop about Bonnie Raitt‘s 1989 album, Nick of Time, and below, Kara Manning’s overview.

Bonnie Raitt, one of the greatest blues guitarists to ever shimmy a slide down a fretboard, was nine albums into her career, battered by a biased music industry, and on the cusp of 40 when she released the album that would change her life: 1989’s Nick of Time.
What a prophetic title and title track for a musician who proved that the best of a career was just beginning at middle age.
Better yet, her reboot was accompanied by the perfect plot twist — Raitt won the 1990 Grammy award for Album of the Year for Nick of Time (one of four that she won that night).

The restrictive dictates and prosaic rules of the music industry in the ’70s and ’80s hurt musicians like Raitt; female artists who didn’t fill a traditional niche were routinely discarded.
Despite excellent albums like 1972’s Give It Up and 1975’s Home Plate, Raitt’s brand of gritty blues and R&B, punched with a pop-friendly afterglow, didn’t settle comfortably into the usual Top 40 or FM rock radio mix, the latter usually less than welcoming to women anyway.

Like Aretha Franklin and Dusty Springfield, Raitt became an intuitive interpreter of others’ songs too, plaiting them with husky vulnerability and toughness. But even though she had a minor hit with a 1977 cover of Del Shannon’s “Runaway,” it wasn’t good enough to vault Raitt into a viable place; she was an outlier.

Brusquely dropped by Warner Brothers Records in 1983, her hard-drinking habits escalated as she navigated a breakup and scrambled to keep touring as a musician.
But following a skiing accident and tired of living the blues in all the wrong ways, Raitt got sober in 1987, a decision that not only saved her career, but her life — not hyperbole in the least. “Some people don’t get out,” she told Rolling Stone in 1990. “They die. You know, the Richard Manuels, the Paul Butterfields.
There’s a whole bunch of musicians who had their drug and alcohol problems encouraged by the lack of validation for their music.”

There was a brief dalliance with Prince’s Paisley Park label and two scuttled recordings with Prince (tucked away in a vault, but “I Need a Man” has emerged).
Providence and Hal Willner’s Disney project, Stay Awake, led Raitt to producer Don Was and vice versa; Was was dealing with his own career crisis (“In 1986, I hit rock bottom,” he told Billboard last year, recalling Nick of Time‘s 30th anniversary). The pair began recording demos, labels be damned. There were over a dozen rejections before Capitol finally signed her; those early demos evolved into what became the multiplatinum Nick of Time, recorded with about 30 of the best session musicians that Raitt and Was knew, plus some starry names, like Herbie Hancock, Graham Nash and David Crosby.

Led by Raitt’s own “Nick of Time,” a wistful confession of hitting existential midlife crossroads (“Life gets mighty precious/When there’s less of it to waste”), the album is a canny distillation of her strengths: that wondrously expressive voice and virtuoso slide guitar genius.
Two Bonnie Hayes compositions, “Love Letter” and “Have a Heart,” are good examples of Raitt’s way of transforming someone else’s songwriting. In the former, Raitt opts for a smoky saunter, all brio and hope. But in the latter, there’s a wholly different entreaty, a plaintive stew of dub grooves and defiance. The song’s lilting opening salvo, “Hey, shut up! Don’t lie to me,” is a perfect entry to Raitt’s point of view.

Raitt is conversational in tone when she sings, never pushing a line; she opts for ease and an unfettered honesty.
The songs she writes or chooses often tell tales of exchanges gone awry, or of women working toward a better path in love or life. And in truth, Bonnie’s recordings are often intense dialogues with her guitar: she wields her Fender Stratocaster like a bulwark, a Greek chorus, or a trustworthy friend. Riding the bumpy path of her own deliciously bluesy “The Road’s My Middle Name,” there’s a steely resolve to Raitt’s phrasing and playing, never surrender.

She improbably became a fixture on VH-1 and MTV too, thanks to the sexy shuffle of John Hiatt’s “Thing Called Love,” and that flirtatious video showdown between Bonnie’s ballsy slide glissades (and dimples) and Dennis Quaid’s bad boy grin. It might not be the most original video, but it made a massive impact. That exposure to a younger generation, especially teenage girls with a guitar in their sights, gave Raitt the kind of iconic stature that she relishes but still seems mystified by, even 30 years and seven albums down the line from Nick of Time.

“I have so many people who come to shows with their mothers, or with three generations, saying ‘My mom played this album for me in the car when I was little, and you’re one of the artists that means the most to us,’” Raitt told Billboard in 2019.  “It means so much to me that Nick of Time resonated with so many women, especially. I never expected it to have the response it did.”

LISTEN

WFUV’s EQFM Album ReCue:Bonnie Raitt’s Nick of Time

WATCH

{{svg_quality_icon}}
{{quality-options}}
{{svg_quality_icon}}
{{quality-options}}
{{svg_quality_icon}}
{{quality-options}}
{{svg_quality_icon}}
{{quality-options}}

Source: © Copyright 90.7 WFUV Radio
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Share this post:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Bonnie's Pride and Joy on Facebook

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons

Americana Music Honors & Awards Livestream ... See MoreSee Less

1 day ago
Video image

Comment on Facebook

Singer Bonnie Raitt honours songwriter Shirley Eikhard for ‘Something to Talk About’ ... See MoreSee Less

4 weeks ago
Video image

Comment on Facebook

We are rocked to the core to hear of the passing of our dear friend, bandmate and musical genius, Mike Finnigan. He fought his long illness with the same fearlessness and ferocity he brought to every part of his life. Our deepest condolences go out to Candy, Kelly, Bridget and all his family.

Mike was one of the most powerful, virtuosic soul/gospel/blues singers and Hammond B3 players you’ll ever be blessed to hear. Respected and emulated by musicians the world over, his legacy of staggering
performances across his 60+ years career will stand the test of time. He stopped our show nearly every night. There was simply no one like him.

He was whipsmart, incredibly articulate and funny as hell. He was as devoted to his beloved family and friends as he was to helping so many struggling to get and stay sober. He and his wife Candy were instrumental in my own sobriety and I will be forever grateful.

Rest in peace, dear Mike. I know you’ll be shaking that Heavenly Choir to new heights as only you can do.

Here’s a clip from our 2013 Slipstream tour, where he tore up the place every night with Ray Charles’ iconic “I’ve Got News for You.”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCz0TyBI1FA
... See MoreSee Less

1 month ago

Farm Aid 2021 – September 25 in Hartford, Connecticut ... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago
Video image

Comment on Facebook

LARGEST TREE IN THE WORLD

Location : Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park in Tulare County, California, USA.
The General Sherman Tree is the world's largest tree, measured by volume. It stands 275 feet (83 m) tall, and is over 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at the base. Sequoia trunks remain wide high up. Sixty feet above the base, the Sherman Tree is 17.5 feet (5.3 m) in diameter.

It is estimated to be around 2,300 to 2,700 years old.
... See MoreSee Less

2 months ago
Load more

Recommended Reading