10 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With Sweet Forgiveness Bonnie Raitt finally found a balance between her down-home convictions and the commercial leanings of her producer, Paul Rothchild, and came away with the most successful album of her career up to that point. The hit single “Runaway” is indicative of the times — the cover of Del Shannon’s 1961 hit fits easily alongside the era’s other gritty yet breezy singles by Raitt’s California pals Jackson Browne, the Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac. Backed by her touring band (drummer Dennis Whitted, guitarist Will McFarlane, bassist Freebo), Raitt sounds tougher here than she has in years. “Gamblin’ Man,” “Three Time Loser” and a version of Little Feat’s “Takin’ My Time” all qualify as boot-heel bar rock, but always made suppler by Raitt’s rich voice. Some of the album’s most listenable songs are also its best stories. “Two Lives” is an elegant breakup tale that echoes Gladys Knight, while “Louise” is a portrait of a ruined woman who elicits both sympathy and respect from Raitt. The album ends on something of a prayer — “Home” gathers around the players for a bluegrass ballad transmuted to the Southern California coast.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With Sweet Forgiveness Bonnie Raitt finally found a balance between her down-home convictions and the commercial leanings of her producer, Paul Rothchild, and came away with the most successful album of her career up to that point. The hit single “Runaway” is indicative of the times — the cover of Del Shannon’s 1961 hit fits easily alongside the era’s other gritty yet breezy singles by Raitt’s California pals Jackson Browne, the Eagles, and Fleetwood Mac. Backed by her touring band (drummer Dennis Whitted, guitarist Will McFarlane, bassist Freebo), Raitt sounds tougher here than she has in years. “Gamblin’ Man,” “Three Time Loser” and a version of Little Feat’s “Takin’ My Time” all qualify as boot-heel bar rock, but always made suppler by Raitt’s rich voice. Some of the album’s most listenable songs are also its best stories. “Two Lives” is an elegant breakup tale that echoes Gladys Knight, while “Louise” is a portrait of a ruined woman who elicits both sympathy and respect from Raitt. The album ends on something of a prayer — “Home” gathers around the players for a bluegrass ballad transmuted to the Southern California coast.

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