f your name was Bonnie Bramlett and you could "holler" like a full gospel preacher in overdrive, you'd have friends like Greg Allman, Dobie Gray, Jimmy Hall from Wet Willie, Mickey Thomas from the Elvin Bishop group, and Bobby Whitlock singing on your latest album. You'd work with backup musicians like the
AWB and Little Feat. and on your nights off you'd
he jamming with the Marshall Tucker Band:
That's exactly what Ms. Bonnie has been doing for a few -years: cutting a solo album for Columbia [Sweet Bonnie Bramlett] and two for Capricorn [It's Time and Lady's Choice]. She's embarking on a European tour with the Tuckers and Grinderswitch, and above all, she isn't just singing harmony any more. Bonnie Bramlett is on her own, belting with all the stops pulled out, a powerful new LP on the charts, and an American tour on the boards.
She's one of the friendliest, most energetic people in her field, and just wacked-out enough to be a hell of a lot of fun. A nutzy sense of humor is part of Bonnie's style, and must have pulled her through some real rough spots. In person she's even more appealing than on vinyl, and it's a wonder it's taken this long for Bonnie to emerge as a solo artist. I asked her if that was because she didn't really like to sing by herself.
"It's not that I didn't like to sing by myself; I would prefer to sing harmony. I like singing with a trio; I always wanted to be three girls. I like harmony, you know, three voices at least. I like harmonizing, and I like to have somebody harmonize with me. singing together, because when you're singing together you can look at each other's mouths and see how together you can read each other."
On Lady's Choice Bonnie successfully "reads" Allman, Hall, Whitlock, Gray and Thomas. "With Dobie and I, that was the first time we ever sang together on record. Greg and I. we sang together at home, just messin' around, for years . . . And I
never sang with Jimmy Hall before (Bonnie says she picked him because he's got pretty lips). With Bobby Whitlock, I have—" (he was part of the D&B Band). "And I'd always sung the harmony line. This time I'm singing the melody and they're singing the harmony line."
"Does that feel strange?"
"It did at first. Hey, I just cried; I went crazy. When Delaney and I first split up and I did the first Sweet Bonnie Bramlett album on Columbia—it's top secret; you'll never find it—"
"I have it, and I played it to death," I tell her.
Bonnie grins, shee-it. "Isn't the mix terrible? But I mean, I was scared, I cried, 'cause I'd just go in there and sing my brains out, and then—all quiet in the control room, and I'd say, 'wasn't that good?' "—she breaks into a mock dialogue