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Record Rating: *****

Bonnie Rait - Souls Alike - EMI Let's get something straight from the start: the only real best of Bonnie Raitt will be a box set of at least ten CDs. And if anybody thinks thatís too ambitious, ask a real Raitt fan and they'll tell you that the nine time Grammy winner is something of an institution in American music and one of rock and rollís true originals.

Why there isn't a box set is anybody's guess, and a note to her record label ~ unless it's done properly, it shouldn't be done at all. Till that sees the light of day, the good news is that sheís back with her first new record in years. Three decades now into roller-coaster career that's seen her earn multiple platinum discs and rack up a bunch of number ones, Souls Alike proves that she still has a few tricks up her sleeve. Peppered with the sinewy nuggets of funky blues rock that has been the bedrock of her sound since 1989ís Nick Of Time, (which rocketed her into the mainstream consciousness nearly two decades after her debut) she also sets off for territory she's never explored before.

For one, this is the first album where she produces the music as well, and it also finds Raitt championing a host of fresh talent in the person of performers and songwriters. Newly discovered Maia Sharp is an effective partner for Raitt, contributing several songs on this eleven-track offering, notably the elegiac I Donít Want To Change. The fires of her youth still blaze as on the playful Two Lights In The Nighttime, and I Will Not Be Broken is a warmly emotive track that finds working her smoky growl with her accustomed dexterity around the electronic loops of engineer Tchad Blake. Souls Alike is a likely milestone and one of the best in Raitt's career and wonít disappoint.

Read our other reviews:

Enya - Amarantine       Massive Attack - Collected       Queensryche - The Essential       Chris Brown - Chris Brown      


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