Although Bonnie Bramlett is a good blue-eyed soul singer, and gets backing by top Muscle Shoals session musicians on this 1976 album, you need more than a good singer and a good band to make a good record. You also need interesting material, and while most of the songs presented here are good, they're mostly well-traveled soul and R&B covers. It seemed to be a holding pattern album of sorts, Bramlett opting to record half of the album with guest vocalists, including Gregg Allman, Dobie Gray, Bobby Whitlock, and Mickey Thomas (the last of whom sang lead on Elvin Bishop's huge hit "Fooled Around and Fell in Love" around this time). Any one or two of these songs would have been okay as album filler, but they in fact fill up almost the entire album, and they don't match the originals or come at them from noteworthy angles. An exception, perhaps, is Bob Dylan's "Forever Young," given a full mid-'70s rock-with-horns arrangement; at least it wasn't a composition that was overly familiar or often interpreted.
Even those who remember her performances as copilot of the soulful all-star revue called Delaney & Bonnie & Friends will be startled by the intensity of this comeback album. With full-throated, empathetic vocals throughout I'm Still the Same, Bramlett connects a variety of pop traditions, from jump blues to gauzy romantic balladry, and makes it all work. Her ability to read a lyric on tunes like "Hurt" compares to that of Dinah Washington, and not unfavorably. At medium tempos, such as the Santana-style samba of "What If," Bramlett sings comfortably around the beat, working the tension between the steady pulse and her more rubato phrasing. She's strongest, however, when the groove is slow; the 6/8 crawl of "No Man's Land," for example, lets her draw full dramatic effect from the lyric, especially on long notes that she can twist, stretch, and milk dry through a carefully controlled vibrato, subtle timbral variation, and other tools of expression.
Bonnie Bramlett is the name of one of the single most revered female Blues/Soul/Rock vocalists in music history. Bonnie began her career with the Iketttes, backing Ike & Tina Turner, before gaining international fame with her husband as half of Delaney and Bonnie, the first white group to be signed to the legendary Stax label. Her later solo work included fine recordings with The Average White Band as well as acclaimed acting work in major Hollywood movies. Today the voice that has been called "the greatest white female R&B voice to emerge from rock music" is still piping through vocal chords that have transcended musical styles and genres. With the release of I Can Laugh About It Now, Bonnie reclaims the spotlight. The album features a fine collection of selected covers such as Stephen Stills' 'Love The One You're With' and the Sam Cooke classic A Change Is Gonna Come, a tear-jerkin'-heart-breakin' version of Love Hurts as well as Bramlett originals like the album title track (co-written with daughter Bekka) and 'Gotcha'.
Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett assembled an all-star group of "friends" in 1969 for a weeklong tour of England, a legendary excursion that would produce On Tour With Eric Clapton, one of rock's most powerful and enduring live albums. Clocking in at a mere 40 minutes, the original left fans wanting more for decades. THE WAIT IS OVER - Rhino Handmade delivers with a four-disc deluxe reissue expanded with more than three hours of unreleased roof-raising, hickory-smoked rock 'n' soul. The set, which comes packaged in a mock road case, contains Delaney & Bonnie & Friends' complete performance at London's Royal Albert Hall, plus a composite of the next night's performances at Colston Hall in Bristol, and both the early and late shows from the tour's final stop at Fairfield Halls in Croydon. Along with the Bramletts, the touring band showcased on these discs includes guitarists Eric Clapton and Dave Mason, bassist Carl Radle, drummer Jim Gordon, organist Bobby Whitlock, Jim Price and Bobby Keys on horns, percussionist Tex Johnson, and singer Rita Coolidge.