Bonnie Raitt – 2012 Was a Long Time Ago

In 2012 we were finally able to do a shootout for Luck of the Draw, at the end of which we found a pressing that was clearly superior to the DCC, our default favorite at the time.

That was ten years ago, and ten years is a long time in audio. I don’t remember what pressing won, but I get the feeling that it may have been a domestic copy.

Having done the shootout many, many times since then, I can tell you two things we have learned:

    1. Yes, the domestic copies are better sounding than the DCC. I often mention that DCC’s releases had to fight their way through Kevin Gray’s opaque, airless, low-resolution cutting system (more here) and that bestows an advantage to practically any pressing not mastered by him.
    2. But the domestic pressings are very unlikely to ever win another shootout, if they ever one this one in 2012. They tend to earn grades of A++ or A+ to A++, and none of them lately has even managed to earn a grade of A++ on both sides. The imports are just too good. They are noticeably better sounding, and it does not take a pair of golden ears to hear it. Why that is we have no idea, and we are naturally opposed to speculating about the subject.

Our 2012 Shootout

Here’s the first (Super) Hot Stamper copy of Luck Of The Draw to ever hit the site! What took us so long? It’s simple, most copies out there just plain don’t deliver, and for a long time we weren’t sure we’d ever have a copy that would be a clear enough winner over the DCC pressing to merit Hot Stamper status.

Well folks, it may have taken YEARS but we’ve finally found a Hot Copy — this one rates A++ on side one and A+ to A++ on side two. We think you’ll have a very hard time finding a better sounding pressing of this album no matter what you do, and of course we guarantee it will handily beat the pants off the DCC or your money back.

Side one is excellent — punchy down low, sweet up top and unusually open and transparent. It had more analog qualities than most of the copies we heard, which tended to have that digital / sterile sound that kills so many albums from the era. The energy and presence really kick up the fun factor on this side; we gave it an A++.

Side two is almost as wonderful — super open and transparent with real immediacy. It doesn’t have all the analog richness of side one, but it was a nice step up over most pressings we played. We rated it A+ to A++.

Nick Of Time may be a slightly better album — we won’t press the point — but this is certainly a very good one as well. If you love Bonnie’s music as much as we hope you do, you will no doubt want them both. We don’t imagine we’ll be tracking down too many of these, they’re much more rare than Nick, so if you’re a fan, scoop this one up — we think you’ll be very pleased with the sound this copy gives you.


Side One

Something to Talk About 
Good Man, Good Woman
I Can’t Make You Love Me 
Tangled and Dark 
Come to Me 
No Business

Side Two

One Part Be My Lover 
Not the Only One 
Papa Come Quick (Jody and Chico)
Slow Ride 
Luck of the Draw
All at Once

AMG  Review

Nick of Time not only was an artistic comeback for Bonnie Raitt; it brought her largest audience yet, so there was no reason to mess with success for its sequel, Luck of the Draw. And sequel is the appropriate word, since Luck of the Draw is nothing if it isn’t Nick of Time, Pt. 2. True, there’s a heavier reliance on original material this time around, but the sound and feel of the record is identical to its predecessor. There is one slight difference — several of the songs appear tailor-made for crossover success, whereas Nick of Time felt organic. Nevertheless, Luck of the Draw is an unqualified success, filled with strong songs — including the hits “Something to Talk About” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” plus the Delbert McClinton duet “Good Man, Good Woman” — appealing productions, and just enough dirt to make old-school fans feel at home.

Christgau “A” Review

One reason it took Raitt two decades to achieve the El Lay iconicity she deserves is her resistance to both folk gentility and studio antisepsis. So praise Don Was for humanizing the control-freak production values she could never get on top of in the ’70s. Another is her moral seriousness. So praise songwriters like John Hiatt, Bonnie Hayes, and maybe even Paul Brady for combining heft with hookcraft, and Shirley Eikhard, whoever she is, for “Something to Talk About,” the slyest distillation of this rowdy Quaker’s sexy ways since “Love Me Like a Man.”

But after that tell Raitt that no commercial reservation should ever torpedo a “Tangled and Dark,” about a deep, long wrangle with love itself, or an “All at Once,” about losing the teenage daughter she’s never literally had. It’s like the guitar she’s afraid she hasn’t properly mastered–she stops writing at the risk of her own intelligence, idiosyncrasy, and reality.