Bonnie Raitt

The Bonnie Raitt Collection

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Since Bonnie Raitt didn't score any big hits during her nine-album tenure at Warner Bros., compiling a best-of from those records is largely a matter of taste, and after Raitt's commercial breakthrough on Capitol with Nick of Time in 1989, Warners decided to trust her own taste in choosing songs for this compilation. The artist's input is usually considered a good thing, but in this case it has resulted in an idiosyncratic selection that fails to be representative or to cull the real highlights from Raitt's Warners catalog. Basically, that catalog breaks down into three sections -- the first three solid albums, the second three good but uneven albums, and the last three mediocre, compromised albums. Raitt has opted to try to find at least a couple of tracks from each album, which means she necessarily slights her best work in favor of her weakest. Even by choosing four tracks from Give It Up, she still misses "Been Too Long at the Fair," and by restricting herself to two tracks from Takin My Time, she misses "Cry Like a Rainstorm" and "I Gave My Love a Candle." On later albums, the problem is more about selection than quantity. Why "Sugar Mama" from Home Plate and not "Run Like a Thief" and "I'm Blowin' Away"? Why "(Goin') Wild for You Baby" from The Glow and not the Grammy-nominated "You're Gonna Get What's Coming"? Why "Willya Wontcha" from Green Light and not "Me and the Boys"? Even taking into account differences in taste, Raitt's choices run in the face of the preferences of fans and critics to the point that the album fails to make the case for her Warners recordings as true expressions of her talents, a case that could have been made decisively with a better selection.

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