Even those who remember her performances as copilot of the soulful all-star revue called Delaney & Bonnie & Friends will be startled by the intensity of this comeback album. With full-throated, empathetic vocals throughout I'm Still the Same, Bramlett connects a variety of pop traditions, from jump blues to gauzy romantic balladry, and makes it all work. Her ability to read a lyric on tunes like "Hurt" compares to that of Dinah Washington, and not unfavorably. At medium tempos, such as the Santana-style samba of "What If," Bramlett sings comfortably around the beat, working the tension between the steady pulse and her more rubato phrasing. She's strongest, however, when the groove is slow; the 6/8 crawl of "No Man's Land," for example, lets her draw full dramatic effect from the lyric, especially on long notes that she can twist, stretch, and milk dry through a carefully controlled vibrato, subtle timbral variation, and other tools of expression.
Bonnie Bramlett is the name of one of the single most revered female Blues/Soul/Rock vocalists in music history. Bonnie began her career with the Iketttes, backing Ike & Tina Turner, before gaining international fame with her husband as half of Delaney and Bonnie, the first white group to be signed to the legendary Stax label. Her later solo work included fine recordings with The Average White Band as well as acclaimed acting work in major Hollywood movies. Today the voice that has been called "the greatest white female R&B voice to emerge from rock music" is still piping through vocal chords that have transcended musical styles and genres. With the release of I Can Laugh About It Now, Bonnie reclaims the spotlight. The album features a fine collection of selected covers such as Stephen Stills' 'Love The One You're With' and the Sam Cooke classic A Change Is Gonna Come, a tear-jerkin'-heart-breakin' version of Love Hurts as well as Bramlett originals like the album title track (co-written with daughter Bekka) and 'Gotcha'.
The husband-and-wife duo of Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett created some of the most distinctive and unique music of the early '70s, but their alchemical sound – equal parts blue-eyed soul, blues, country, and gospel – was often marginalized by the attention instead paid to the contributions of their famous "friends," including rock icons like Eric Clapton, Duane Allman and George Harrison.
With the arrival of Delta Lady: The Rita Coolidge Anthology, one can only remark: what took so long? No other singer – not Maria Muldaur, Bette Midler, Bonnie Bramlett, Carly Simon, or Linda Ronstadt – more perfectly embodied the wide range of changes that popular music underwent from the late '60s through the mid-'80s, and continues to seek new means of expression today. This two-disc anthology on Hip-O offers the first complete portrait of this complex and multivalent talent on CD (though a box set would have been nice). Rita Coolidge scored her first chart hit with friend Donna Weiss' "Turn Around and Love You" in 1969. That song earned her a studio spot where she fell in with Delaney & Bonnie, Leon Russell, and a huge cast of musicians. Being a background vocalist on Delaney & Bonnie's classic Accept No Substitute earned her a place on Russell and Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen revue and the rest is history, including a handful of chart hits and guest appearances that stagger the mind.
Nick of Time not only was an artistic comeback for Bonnie Raitt; it brought her largest audience yet, so there was no reason to mess with success for its sequel, Luck of the Draw. And sequel is the appropriate word, since Luck of the Draw is nothing if it isn't Nick of Time, Pt. 2. True, there's a heavier reliance on original material this time around, but the sound and feel of the record is identical to its predecessor…