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on January 26, 1994 No comments
By Geoffrey Himes

Voters for Choice fundraiser for Roe v. Wade Anniversary with Jimmy Dale Gilmore, CSN, The Story – Constitution Hall, Washington, D.C. 1-22-1994

When the Supreme Court handed down the Roe v. Wade decision on Jan. 22, 1973, Bonnie Raitt’s career was just getting underway. To celebrate the 21st anniversary of that ruling at Saturday’s Voters for Choice benefit concert in Constitution Hall, Raitt revisited those days. Accompanied only by guitarist-bassist Johnny Lee Schell, she built her set around old blues tunes by Fred McDowell, J.B. Lenoir and Chris Smither. “I haven’t played these songs in so long,” she exclaimed. “This is a powerful night for me.”

It was a welcome reminder of the long, glorious career Raitt had before she became an “overnight” success in 1990. Raitt may fill another shelf with Grammies from her new album due next month, but it’s unlikely she will ever give a performance more forceful than Saturday’s rendition of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery.” On this song about what happens to a woman with not enough choices, Raitt delivered some verses talking-blues style and belted out the chorus in that blues-soaked, daughter-of-Broadway voice of hers. Later she was joined by David Crosby and Graham Nash for harmonies on “Love Has No Pride,” and she joined them on the finale, “Teach Your Children.”

Crosby, Stills & Nash, the evening’s headliners, are little more than a nostalgia act these days. At least they faithfully re-created their earlier recordings Saturday — something they have often failed to do over the past 10 years. Opening the show was the Story, sort of a young, female version of Crosby & Nash. Like the headliners, Jonatha Brooke and Jennifer Kimball offered earnest politics and ethereal harmonies untethered to any particular tradition.

Songwriter's Summit - Raitt, Browne, Hornsby, Colvin, and Lindley send off summer at the Rocks

Well rooted in traditions was Jimmie Dale Gilmore, who preceded Raitt. The evening’s emcee, Gloria Steinem, introduced him as a “bridge builder,” and the long, tall Texan proved it by stitching his blues, honky-tonk and bohemian-folk sources into a sound unified by its warbling beauty. Backed by guitarist Chris Gage and percussionist Paul Pearcy, Gilmore sang songs by Johnny Cash, Butch Hancock and Lucinda Williams and made them all sound like acts of confession.

Source: © Copyright The Washington Post

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