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BLUES VITAL TO BONNIE

on May 12, 1975 No comments

Versatility Raitt’s forte

By MARTIN SOMMERNESS
State News Reviewer

Bonnie Raitt with Mose Allison and Sippie WallaceMay 10, 1975
Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

Blues artist Bonnie Raitt disdainfully rejected the mantle of popular glitter rock and roll Saturday night at the Men’s Intramural Building.

“I’d like to do a song by John Prine, “Angel From Montgomery,” she said. “I would have done something by Elton or Mick, but the set is too short, and so are they.”

Raitt and her four-man band cooked their blues songs down to the essentials, without being simplistic. Her guitar passages powerfully highlighted her gutsy, yet refined vocals.

Aware of the rhythm and blues heritage that had influenced her, when she sang “To believe in this livin’ is just a hard way to go,” her plaintive voice begged whatever powers that be to “Make me an angel that flies from Montgomery.”

Whether awing the audience with her supple, primal voice, or treating them to lean, cliche-free, sparkling guitar riffs, Raitt proved herself the same versatile performer live in concert that she is on her record albums.

Her soulful, grinding rendition of “Love Me Like a Man” proved Raitt’s exceptional talent for being earthy yet cultivated. Her vocal and instrumental lines, pared down to the raw essentials’ were wrapped around her bassist Freebo’s phrases and artfully intertwined with her band’s sexually pulsating sounds.

She presented a balanced program, performing songs by Ray Charles, Jackson Browne and some tunes that she had written. All of her music clearly showed the blues heritage that she has inherited and molded into her own style.

Mississippi Wallace’s “You Can Make Me Do Anything You Want,” with the bandsmen singing the backup vocals in falsettos, provided a humorous, interesting change of pace for Raitt’s portion of the concert.

She was totally involved in her music. Her songs were a labor a love, about the labor of love. However, unlike the girl in her song, she has not been in love too long. Her music endures.

She is also involved in causes. Raitt urged the departing audience, who had demanded and received a three-song encore at 2 a.m., to contribute to the Wounded Knee defense fund.

Bonnie Raitt with Mose Allison and Sippie Wallace – MSU Men’s Intramural Building, East Lansing, Michigan – May 10, 1975

Source: © Copyright State News

Bonnie Raitt & Mose Allison At Michigan State University

by Nance Rosen & Carla Rappaport
© Doug Fulton

Holding on tight to her audience, Bonnie Raitt made the stuffy MSU gymnasium fall away May 10 to her own special celebration of spring time. Prefaced by veteran Mose Allison, it was distinctly Bonnie’s night and the crowd knew it.

Bonnie and Band took no hesitation in burning through many album-released hits. She did some newer reworkings of the Randy Newman song, “Guilty” and “I Thought I was a Child,” exhibiting genuine delight. She sang her slow sitdown stuff like “Angel from Montgomery” by John Prine and then later jumped up to bump and grind her way through raucous tunes like “You’ve Been in Love too Long.”

Not more than four songs through the first show, Raitt proudly introduced her personal favorite, blues pianist and singer Sippie Wallace. It had been three years since they first played together at the 1972 Blues & Jazz Festival. A self-proclaimed 75 years young, Wallace joined Raitt and slipped into a duet of Wallace’s own, “Make Me Do,” with rhythm guitar and bass doing an exaggerated Chiffons background. Settling down a bit later, the grand lady finished with a piano spiritual that totally awed the bleacher crowd.

The second show, minus the special guest, brought out a more accepting audience for Mose Allison. The crowd warmed to his tune “Hey Good Looking,” and moved to his vibrating instrumentals. Vocalizing the blues, however, is the compulsive force behind Mose Allison. He has been playing the piano and recounting old memories in his own casual manner for years. His mellow musical approach supercedes the more common success cliches.

Bonnie’s second set once again revealed a tight performer-band relationship. Quipping about the hot-house atmosphere (“it’s nice to have a built-in sauna”), she moved on to the music she’s made her name on. No real surprises here, just good soul-filled countrified rock and roll. Bonnie finished the nearly two-hour concert sweetly and did requests caught from the muddled noise of appreciative voices.
At 2 am she made a final bow to the riotous applause and went “movin’ on.”


Source: © Copyright Ann Arbor Sun
Bonnie Raitt with Mose Allison and Sippie Wallace – MSU Men’s Intramural Building, East Lansing, Michigan – May 10, 1975
1975-05-23 Ann Arbor Sun
1975-05-23 Ann Arbor Sun
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