Bonnie Raitt – Streetlights – Our Shootout Winner from 2013

More Bonnie Raitt

Streetlights

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A distinguished member of the Better Records Rock and Pop Hall of Fame.

Our first Hot Stamper shootout for Bonnie Raitt’s classic fourth album yielded a surprisingly good copy, this one, with practically unbeatable (nearly) White Hot Stamper sound on side two, backed with a Super Hot side one that easily put most of the other copies we played to shame. The first three songs on side one — That Song About the Midway, Rainy Day Man, Angel from Montgomery — represent some of the strongest material Bonnie ever got to work with, and they alone would serve to qualify this as a Must Own Bonnie Raitt album. 

Fortunately there are a number of other wonderful songs here as well, most especially Allen Toussaint’s What Is Success, the first track on side two.

This is very likely the best sounding of the first four BR albums (we can’t be sure until we find enough copies of Takin’ My Time to know if it might be competitive. So far it does not appear to be. The first two albums clearly are not).

Side Two

A++ to A+++, full and rich, yet clear, with enough SPACE to fit everybody comfortably in the soundfield. Could use a bit more top end and a touch of presence to put it over the top, but as it is it’s awfully good and dramatically better than most of what we heard.

Side One

A++, almost as good, with most of the same qualities as side two. The vocals are especially breathy and dynamic on this copy’s side one. A touch of smear, so common on the records of the era — actually any era — is the main shortcoming of this side. Still, with this kind of richness and analog smoothness, the sound conveys the music wonderfully well.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

That Song About the Midway 
Rainy Day Man 
Angel from Montgomery 
I Got Plenty 
Streetlights

Side Two

What Is Success 
Ain’t Nobody Home 
Everything That Touches You
Got You on My Mind 
You Got to Be Ready for Love (If You Wanna Be Mine)

AMG 4 Star Review

…there are moments here where she really pulls off some terrific work, including the opening cover of Joni Mitchell’s That Song About the Midway, a good version of John Prine’s “Angel From Montgomery,” and the much-touted take on Allen Toussaint’s “What Is Success.” It may be easy to lament the suppression of the laid-back sexiness and organic feel of Raitt’s earlier records, but there’s still enough here in that spirit to make this worthwhile.