Sunday, November 8, 2009

Birthday Salute -- Bonnie Raitt

Born 8th November 1949, Bonnie Raitt is the quintessential female blues guitarist of her generation. Daughter of leading Broadway actor John Raitt, of Oklahoma and Carousel fame, Bonnie picked up the guitar at age 10. Folk music dominated the airwaves and she was soon playing the songs of Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary and The Kingston Trio on her Stella acoustic.

At age 14, Bonnie experienced a radical shift in her musical tastes when she heard Blues At Newport '63 featuring John Lee Hooker and Mississippi John Hurt, which led her to explore blues and slide guitar.

Attending Harvard/Radcliffe college in Massachussetts in the late-60's, Bonnie started playing the blues in the local coffeehouses. After creating a buzz on the Cambridge coffeehouse circuit, it was a chance meeting with blues promoter and manager Dick Waterman that led Bonnie to the next level of her career.

It was through Waterman also that she had the chance to hang out and learn from iconic bluesmen such as Son House, John Hurt, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Luther Allison and Buddy Guy.

In this clip, from 1996's Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie really lays it down with some mean slide guitar, backed by the Stevie Ray rhythm section of Tommy Shannon and Chris Layton.

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