Friday, March 06, 2015

Bonnie Bonnie

Spring is in the air – the local charity shops finally have some new stock. I picked up Bonnie Pointer’s solo debut on Motown among others today. It’s a great album with quite a few talking points.

The first side is generally solid pop soul. The opener is the weakest track on the album in my opinion. Yes,  When I’m Gone is the Brenda Holloway original, written by Smokey, and with Eddie Hazel on guitar here, but is not much more than throwaway pop really. I really like Free Me From My Freedom (Tie Me To A Tree, Handcuff Me). With that title it surely deserves some revive plays with Fifty Sheds Of Grey doing the rounds in the cinemas at the moment J. It also contains a banjo solo! There follows a worthwhile version of the Elgins’ Heaven Must Of Sent You, which went Top 20 Pop in the USA in 1979, and the side closes with Ah Shoot, which is a grittier funkier number and is my favourite on the side.

Now, this is very much an album of two sides(!) because turn it over and you get a completely different feel – much more acoustic and laid back, and very un Motown. The intro on More And More actually reminds me of Lindisfarne’s Fog On the Tyne! And while we’re at it the piano on My Everything – “I am not afraid of dying”, I will say no more.  Oh, and also on My Everything Bonnie gets a little bit Billie Holiday on us in places. Don’t let these thoughts make you think it all sounds a bit dog’s dinner and put you off, all four tracks on side two are top drawer and give space to Bonnie’s great voice. They also sound very contemporary to me. All four tracks are credited to Jeffrey Bowen and Donald Baldwin. You can read more about these guys here, suffice to say they already had pedigree. (Donald Baldwin plays the acoustic guitar on both the tracks below, and bass as well on More And More) . By the time this album hit the charts in 1978 Bonnie and Jeffrey Bowen were married.