Bonnie Raitt is back doing the same thing she always does: kicking ass. Four years after her Grammy winning Slipstream, Raitt is back with another collection of prize-winning material. Nearly half of the album is originals, the remainder carefully-chosen treasures that Raitt and company rip to shreds and reweave with their own patterns.
She sounds as sassy as she looks on the cover of her latest, Dig in Deep. Just in case you forgot how hard she can bring the twang-laced funk, she starts out with a tasty sample on her original, “Consequences of Love.” It sounds like Delbert McClinton might have been looking over her shoulder when she wrote it, muttering suggestions in her ear. But the guitar is pure Raitt, that greasy, searing slide that makes you want to bounce around like chicken fryin' in a hot skillet.
You get a double-dose of rattly funk from former Raitt road dawg Jon Cleary and her current keyboardist Mike Finnegan's B-3. The bassline sounds familiar, bringing back retro radio memories through the signature stuttering funk. But by the time Raitt and her band get through with INXS' '88 hit “Need You Tonight,” it's a whole different animal. Keyboardist Mike Finnegan's carnival-flavored clavinet adds a taste of the Doors to the mix. Raitts' guitar puts slashing teeth in the soft core pop of the original, her sexy, throaty moans raising it to X-rated stuff.
“What You're Doing to Me” is a love song, but on Raitt's terms. It's tough love, rowdy bar band blues from her pack of seasoned road dawgs, with both Cleary and Finnigan backing her on vocals and George Martinelli's' guitar filling in the holes Raitt slashes in the material with hers. “I did my best to put you to the test, pulled out all my darkest stuff,” she confesses, before admitting her current lover shakes her to the core: “pulled me straight out by the roots and got me holl'in more.”
She might as well go ahead and start putting together a new greatest hits package. This release has more legs than a millipede, filled with material ready to hit the ground running and wriggle its way up the charts. “If You Need Somebody” is another love song, but she's not repeating herself. This song's got her fingerprints all over it, but still sounds like a fresh take on her view of romance.
And when she takes a break from romance, she comes out swinging. She says she wrote “The Coming Round Is Going Through” because she was disgusted by the hijacking of democracy by deep-pocketed presidential pretenders and liars. She tells off would-be candidates, advising them that “your sicken loan is coming due.”
Why bother checkin'
the facts be damned
it's how you spin it
it's part of the plan
Whether the subject is love or politics, Raitt's music cuts right to the heart of the matter. Visceral and vicious, it rolls right up your spine and slaps you in the back of the head, alerting your pleasure center to wake up and pay attention.
Take that advice. Dig in and enjoy.