Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#551 in the Series) is Bonnie Raitt, Give it Up.
Give it Up was her second album, released in September of 1972. Far from suffering the “sophomore slump” jinx of second albums that so many artists seem to, Give it Up remains to this day one of Bonnie’s most complete and thoroughly satisfying collections.
Many don’t know of her early work, not really hearing of her until the mid to late 80’s and early 90’s with albums like Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw. Do yourself a favor and check out this wonderful recording from her early days.
Give it Up is a mix of blues, folk ballads and funk that was somehow old and completely new at the same time. It sounds like everyone involved was having such a fun time when they made the record. The vocals are clear and sweet, her guitar playing is already self-assured and spectacular.
Bonnie is accompanied not only by her long time bass player Freebo but an all start cast as well, but this was back before artists brought in other stars for cameos to sell records. Bonnie’s band was rounded out by the likes of Paul Butterfield on harmonica, Amos Garrett from Butterfield’s Better Days band and Kal David from Illinois Speed Press (which included future Poco’s Paul Cotton) on guitar, John Hall and Wells Kelly from Orleans, Merl Saunders on keyboards, The funky TJ Tindall ( TJ was a mainstay of Philly soul sound of the early 70’s) on guitar as well. Mark Jordan and John Payne were members of Van Morrison’s band in the early 70’s. The band is rounded out with background vocalists and a fantastic horn section that provides superb accents throughout.
Honestly, every track holds up – even almost 40 years later. The opening title track “Give It Up Or Let Me Go” may sound closest to what Bonnie sounds like today. Sexy vocals and fluid slide guitar, at the time there really were no other women playing guitar like her. Other highlights, include “Love Me Like a Man” – an acoustic blues / funk, driven by Freebo’s walking bass and featuring Bonnie’s nimble slide work. When Bonnie sings “I want a man to hold, not some fool to ask me why” you know exactly what she means. The blues gives way to the rocking version of Jackson Browne’s “Under The Falling Sky” driven along by Butterfield’s excellent harp work.
Bringing everything back down to earth are a couple of ballads – “Too Long at the Fair” and a tune that is one of Bonnie’s signature songs to this day, the album’s closer “Love Has No Pride” by Eric Kaz. It feels as if Bonnie is sitting there singing directly to you.
–– Rob Henry, Bethesda, Maryland USA
- “Give It Up or Let Me Go” (Raitt) – 4:30
- “Nothing Seems to Matter” (Raitt) – 4:05
- “I Know” (Barbara George) – 3:47
- “If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody” (Rudy Clarke) – 3:00
- “Love Me Like a Man” (Chris Smither) – 3:12
- “Too Long at the Fair” (Joel Zoss) – 2:58
- “Under the Falling Sky” (Jackson Browne) – 3:45
- “You Got to Know How” (Jack Viertel, Sippie Wallace) – 3:36
- “You Told Me Baby” (Raitt) – 4:12
- “Love Has No Pride” (Eric Kaz, Libby Titus) – 3:47
- Bonnie Raitt – acoustic guitar, guitar, piano, electric guitar, steel guitar, vocals, background vocals, 12 string guitar, bottleneck guitar
- Paul Butterfield – harmonica
- Kal David – guitar, electric guitar
- Terry Eaton – tenor saxophone
- Peter Ecklund – cornet
- Freebo – bass guitar, tuba, vocals, background vocals, 12 string guitar, fretless bass
- Amos Garrett – guitar, trombone
- Marty Grebb – alto saxophone, tenor saxophone
- John Kingsley Hall – electric guitar, steel guitar, background vocals
- John Hall – guitar, electric guitar, background vocals
- Dave Holland – bass
- Mark Jordan – piano, keyboards, electric piano, vibraphone
- Eric Kaz – piano, background vocals, vibraphone
- Wells Kelly – conductor, conga, drums, background vocals, bells, cowbell
- Jackie Lomax – vocals, background vocals
- Tim Moore – vocals, background vocals
- Chris Parker – drums
- John Payne – clarinet, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, wind
- Merl Saunders – piano
- Gene Stashuk – cello
- Lou Terriciano – piano
- T.J. Tindall – guitar, electric guitar
- Jack Viertel – guitar, rhythm guitar, steel guitar
- Dennis Whitted – drums
- Official Bonnie Raitt Website
- See our piece on Bonnie’s Nick of Time
- See our review of Freebo’s latest album Something to Believe In.