Bonnie Bramlett

 

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Montage of photos of Bonnie

BIOGRAPHY

Bonnie Bramlett is at full throttle and the vocal engine that propelled her into musical history books is as fine-tuned as ever.

Bonnie was born in Alton, Illinois, and grew up in East St. Louis. At 14, she was allowed to sing on Gaslight Square, a St. Louis nightclub area much like the French Quarter in New Orleans. She was groomed by the best - Jazz greats Stan Getz, The Quartet Tres Bien, Herbie Mann, Miles Davis, and Nat and Cannonball Adderly gave her a musical foundation par excellence. But it was her love for rhythm and blues that brought her to the attention of Albert King and Little Milton. She made musical history as the first white Ikette for Ike and Tina Turner.

When she expanded her career and moved to Los Angeles in 1967, she met Delaney Bramlett and married him seven days later. Delaney & Bonnie & Friends shared the stage with "Friends" that included Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, George Harrison, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, Gram Parsons and John Lennon to name just a few. A complete list of collaborations both in songwriting and performance reads like a history of Rock and Roll. Delaney & Bonnie released five outstanding albums, their first recording being "Home" on Stax Records. Hit singles such as "Soul Shake," "Never Ending Song of Love," and "Only You Know & I Know" kept them on the charts. The duo broke up personally and professionally in 1973. Bonnnie's songwriting credits include "Superstar" (nominated for a Grammy in 1972), and "Give Peace a Chance," both co-written with Leon Russell.

Bonnie then moved to Georgia and embarked upon a solo career. She enlisted a little known backup band from Scotland, The Average White Band. On the Southern Rock label, Capricorn, she issued solo LP's in 1974, 1976, and 1978. Bonnie was also the number one "gotta have" backup singer on albums by Joe Cocker, Carly Simon, Gregg Allman, Little Feat, Jimmy Hall, Steve Cropper, Jimmy Buffett and Dwight Yoakam, just to name a few. Her harmonizing with Delbert McClinton in the 1980's launched the award-winning "Givin' it Up for Your Love" that has become a rock standard.

After touring with Stephen Stills, Dickey Betts and Gregg Allman invited her on the Allman Brothers tour, and she became known as the only "Allman Sister" to the acclaimed Southern rock group.

Bonnie returned to LA in the 1980s. A chance to act lured her into a guest role on the TV series "Fame", followed by a role in Oliver Stone's film, "The Doors," with Val Kilmer, Meg Ryan and Billy Idol. While working with Tom Arnold on a theater production, Roseanne Barr asked Bonnie to be on her #1 Hit TV series "Roseanne" as Bonnie Watkins, her fellow waitress at the Mall. 1991-92 proved to be a fun two years, with David Crosby appearing as her husband and an outstanding episode of backyard singing of "You've Really got a Hold on Me" that capped her appearances on the popular show. She also appeared on stage in the musical, "Cowboy Café."

Bonnie moved to Idaho with her family to write and regroup and then in 1999, she moved to Nashville, TN. She signed with Corlew Music Group and Blue Hat Records released the critically acclaimed "I'm Still The Same" in 2001. Jerry Wexler stated, "Her vocals are stunning in every respect; intonation on the money; dynamics intense; phasing lyrical and logical, and above all, burning with the feeling that we have come to recognize as deep soul."

In 2005, Bonnie signed with Zoho Records. George W. Harris reviews her March 2006 release, "Roots, Blues & Jazz":

"Some artists change with the times. Others simply refuse to grow. Praise God for the queen of 'hazel eyed soul', Ms. Bonnie Bramlett, for sticking to her guns for all of these years… this rousing disc… puts to shame every wanna be female rocker. There is nothing like a lady who roars like a female lion, and means it.

Backed by a burning "Mr. Groove Band", Ms. Bramlett growls, shouts and wails with abandon only dreamed of by the present crop of youthful darlings. In complete contrast to today's whiney and whispering groaners, Bramlett lays down the law with authority on the soul jazz classic "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy". She takes Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come" and breathes fire into this anthem. Even Chuck Berry's ironic 50's teenage anthem of angst, "No Particular Place To Go" is given a hilarious rendition, with a completely modernized and rearranged groove.

With her world weary voice, Bramlett's ode to enduring the turmoil of the '60s "I Can Laugh about it Now," leaves the listener wondering whether to applaud or console the winner of the attrition that betook her peers. This is the sound of a lady that has lived through it all, and still has a smile on her face. Defiant, brash and brazen, Ms. Bramlett still has a few lessons to teach the innocents abroad and at home. This CD will clean out the clogs in your ears caused by synthetic sounds like a musical Drano."

In addition to touring, writing and the new CD, Bonnie participated in the 25 year cast reunion for the Roseanne Show on Larry King Live. She also completed shooting her role in an Touchstone movie "The Guardian" featuring Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher. The film was released in the fall of 2006.

Bonnie's latest album, "Beautiful" on the Rockin' Camel label, keeps the standards right up there with another engaging mix of American roots music, delivered with customary musicality and passion.

"I am a singer who writes songs," Bonnie says. But she is really much more: a musical legend, a national treasure and a classic beauty of a rocker in every sense of the word.

 

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Bonnie's Memorial Page