I maintain my opinion that Bonnie Bramlett is still the "Queen of Southern Rock and Soul." If you don’t believe me, just check out this new compilation disc from Raven Records in Australia. It’s enough to make a brother shout.
Piece of My Heart collects Bonnie’s best work from 1969-1978, including six tracks from her Delaney & Bonnie and Friends days, as well as songs from various labels including Capricorn, Stax, Elektra, Atco, and Columbia. The audio quality is excellent, and while I couldn’t find out if the tracks were remastered or not, but they sure sound like it.
Y’all know how much i love me some Delaney and Bonnie, and this set includes one of my favorite D&B tunes, “Only You Know and I Know,” (a song I had the sheer honor of performing with Ms. Bonnie at GRITZfest in 2005). There’s also that wonderful title track and “When This Battle is Over,” which enjoyed a revival (no pun intended) when it appeared a few years ago on an episode of The Sopranos. Oh, and nobody does Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen” better than D&B, and it is included here, as well as Bonnie’s signature song, “Superstar.” And while Karen Carpenter’s version will always hold a special place in my heart of hearts, it is Bonnie Bramlett who owns the tune. She always will.
The solo part of the CD kicks off with a gospel drenched “Able, Qualified and Ready.” Bonnie can sing gospel to beat the band. Her voice makes angels shout.
There are nineteen tracks in all, including show stoppers like the Scott Boyer penned “(Your Love Has Brought Me From a) Mighty Long Way,” Gregg Allman’s “Oncoming Traffic,” and Bobby Blue Bland’s “Two Steps from The Blues,” a smoking duet with brother Gregg. An then there is Bonnie’s take on Steve Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home,” complimented by banjo, yes banjo (I really love Capricorn Records and Johnny Sandlin's production work) and a beautiful rendition of Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young.”
If you’re like me, the music just isn’t the same without a great set of liner notes, and our old mate Keith Glass provides and extensive and wonderfully written set, along with some awesome pictures to boot. It all comes together to create one ulta-special retrospective of some of Bonnie’s finest work. Beautiful.
-Michael Buffalo Smith