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Welcome to the DFH Freaky Friday weekly music series
Because Team DFH operates more or less like a herd of cats, we’re here at roughly 9PM Eastern, every week. So take off your shoes, plop down on that beanbag chair over there, let your hair down, and get some groovy on.


Bonnie Raitt is well known for her many great songs and hits over the years. Tonight, she earns a spot in the Freaky Friday series new monthly Hall of Fame feature... for not only her great musical presence but in recognition of her dedication to progressive causes.

Bonnie's really pretty bad-ass. I'm not the only one who thinks so. From the Rolling Stones' 100 Greatest Guitarists Of All Time:

Starting with her acoustic slide workout on 1971's "Walking Blues," Raitt rolled out a fearsome repertoire of blues licks, fingerpicking with the best and wielding a slide like an old master. Most of all, she set a crucial precedent: When guitar was still considered a man's game by many, Raitt busted down that barrier through sheer verve and skill.

She's long been one of my personal favorites, both as a singer & guitarist, for her range, her soul and her sheer tenacity.


I also admire Bonnie for her involvement on many levels as an activist. She is possibly most widely known for her activism with No Nukes from years ago. She certainly is not limited to that. See more activist-bio info here.


Her support of liberal causes has spanned decades, going back to her youth, certainly in no small part because of her family. Her father John Raitt had a long standing relationship with American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and peace activism.

   One of our most famous families of supporters are the entertainers (father) John and (daughter) Bonnie Raitt. Their roots in peace go back to the early 1960s, when John Raitt starred in an AFSC-produced film urging nuclear disarmament.  We present these clips from "Which Way the Wind?"to show that even when things change, they remain the same.

    When John Raitt, Marsha Hunt, and James Whitmore made this film almost 50 years ago, the world remembered Hiroshima and Nagasaki vividly.  That memory has faded.  The nuclear threat remains.

Here's a sweet 2 minute interview where Bonnie talks about her early influences:

For the curious, Bonnie's website has a special section highlighting her activism. There you'll find an extensive list of organizations and causes she supports.

Her music is always fun, heartfelt and versatile, from classic blues to soulful ballads, Bonnie never disappoints.

Her new album Slipstream is the first to be produced on her own label, Redwing Records and comes after a period of personal hiatus. It's gotten great reviews.  Rolling Stone gives it 4 stars (only 4?!?):

Slipstream, her first album in seven years and the first she has self-released, is a loose and adventurous reminder of everything she does well. [...]
It's mood music with a razor edge, pain fronting as bliss, delivered by a vet who understands that the blues are often about just that.
Salon has an interview/review: Bonnie Raitt: Thank God for Occupy
Q: You’re pretty well known for your social and political activism. What is an artist’s responsibility in that regard?

BR: I think we have responsibilities to be active in the things we believe in, regardless of what our job is. At least in my lifetime, there has been a tremendous combining of activism and music, that came up in the era of Pete Seeger and the Weavers and Joan Baez and Bob Dylan and Peter Paul & Mary. That was the music I cut my folk roots on — at 1o or 11, I would sit in my room and learn those songs. Being Quaker, my folks were involved in the peace movement and the civil rights movement. That was a very fertile time for music and politics, so by the time I was playing in clubs, it was just natural for me to play for a women’s health clinic or for the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and that has dovetailed into most of the other causes that I’m involved in, whether it’s safe energy or no nukes. The whole idea of the election year being an auction instead of an election is just so abhorrent to me. Thank God for Occupy and thank God for “The Daily Show,” Colbert and the rising up that’s going on around the world. I salute all the people who are finally pissed off enough to get out in the street.

Speaking of Colbert... we get this nice treat, a guest appearance on The Colbert Show from April 16, 2012.



Heres one from the new album.

Special Note: Freaky Friday "Hall of Fame Edition" will publish on the third Friday of every month. FF  Editors, well okay, me, will be happy to welcome Guest Hosts for the FF Hall Of Fame which will focus on a particular artist with strong activist leanings. It could be anyone from Pete Seeger to Tom Morello, from Woody Guthrie to Buffy St. Marie, and everything in between. Suggest more in comments! Please send me a kosmail if you'd like to author one!

So... What kind of music or who are the artists who inspire your activist self? Jump in &  to tell us in comments!



It's Freaky Friday!  Bring some tunes, whatever you got! Feel free to comment with just a song-link and your thoughts, or try for the embed, for however long that works for us. Either way, we're just chillin' here, so c'mon and join in.

Here's HOW: To add vids in comments: Click on "share"; then the "embed" button; change the size of the video graphic too, so when it posts, it is smaller. Use 300pixels in the custom parameters (last one on the right) under the embed code. {h/t joanneleon}

Originally posted to Freaky Friday Backstage Pass on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:01 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH and DKOMA.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bring it! (30+ / 0-)

    Reminder that Freaky Friday is a fun, DFH community series, so you're not limited to the "topic" of the diary for your music pic-comments by any means, so just keep that in mind. iow, don't be shy! :-)

    One more from Bonnie... "I Will Not Be Broken"
    .

    Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

    by Lady Libertine on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 05:33:52 PM PDT

  •  I never knew the Raiitts were Quakers. (13+ / 0-)

    I've loved her music and her father's voice for decades. Never got to her her live, but attended touring productions in the 60s and 70s, including Shenandoah, which starred her  Dad.  In Shenandoah, he came out between acts to the theater entrance to thank the audience for attending. He always signed autographs at sumemr stock for as long as there were people in line. And since we usually tried to to get aisle seats because I was very short, I can say he was gorgeous close-up.

    You've just given me another reason to love them both.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:17:24 PM PDT

    •  I was surprised too (5+ / 0-)

      when I first discovered that factoid! I was involved in a youth group with AFSC when I was a teenager (a million years ago!) so that's always a kind of home place (mentally) for me.

      Very cool you saw her Dad in summer stock like that! What a treat.

      Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

      by Lady Libertine on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:36:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For a few years the family had season (0+ / 0-)

        tickets. SO we got to see a lot of people. ANd on my birthdays, once we moved away from the summer stock tent theater, my birthdays were to go into NYC and see a Broadway show. The advantage of living in COnn for  jr. high, high school and 2 years if college. I saw Shenandoah in Baltimore, though after my first mareiage.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 08:15:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Early Freaky Era Censored: Smothers Brothers 1968 (11+ / 0-)

    The terrible year of 1968. MLK, RFK murdered, the Chicago Democratic convention and anti-war protests, cities burning.

    Originally a folk music spoof comedy act, their brief run on TV comedy variety hour was intensely political. They were increasingly censored, eventually required to submit tapes in advance of airing, and then shut down by CBS.

    First a brief appearance by George Harrison with mention of their censorship problem:

    And now "I'm Going Into Big Time Crime" about government and big business. Features Pat Paulson, Father Guido Sarducci and some other figures of the day.

    And just for kicks, one of the show's writers, Mason Williams, had a pop hit acoustic guitar instrumental that summer often heard as Chicago was erupting, "Classical Gas."

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:18:17 PM PDT

  •  For SRV, and you Lady Lib - TY, awesome diary! (6+ / 0-)

    "Four more years!" (Obama Unencumbered - The Sequel)

    by jwinIL14 on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:36:13 PM PDT

  •  Bonnie is cool and so is your idea for an (8+ / 0-)

    activist hall of fame, for those who do more than token and temporary support.

    99%er. 100% opposed to fundamentalist/neoconservative/neoliberal oligarchs.

    by blueoasis on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:37:28 PM PDT

  •  Love love love (9+ / 0-)

    Bonnie like I love no other female artist.  I do love some others but none like her. And she is a solid activist and has been for many years.  Not a fair weather friend.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:47:06 PM PDT

  •  She's one of my favorites (4+ / 0-)

    As a musician and person. You don't even have to know much about her or her music to see that she's a good soul. But damn, can she sing and play. Being that she's a blues musician makes it even better. Her version of I'm in the Mood with John Lee Hooker is unbelievable. A true Angel from Montgomery.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 06:53:27 PM PDT

  •  Envy me if you must. (4+ / 0-)

    I saw Bonnie recently on her current tour.  It was almost 40 years to the day when I first saw her with only her sideman Freebo at a free college concert.

    Bonnie is still an extraordinary performer who moves like she's 30 years younger than her 62 years.

    And she can still rip out your heart with one of those beautiful ballads.

    Here's an oldie from four decades ago.  Freebo's on bass:

  •  Bonnie Rait is great (7+ / 0-)

    I always loved her music growing up.

    I was also heartened to hear she was a tireless activist for everything important to me.

    You posted some of my faves, but I like the realistic heartbreak ballad  "I Can't Make You Love Me."

    Great diary, Lady Libertine.

    ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

    by priceman on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 07:11:14 PM PDT

    •  love that song (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      priceman, joanneleon, StellaRay, cany

      and thanks!

      Buy the ticket, take the ride. ~HST

      by Lady Libertine on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 07:25:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You're welcome, LL. nt (0+ / 0-)

        ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

        by priceman on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 09:13:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  OMG, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lady Libertine, Gooserock, priceman

      that was my fave break up song, back in the day.  Would put it on and cry rivers, trying to get over one guy or another.  No better shoulder to cry on than Bonnie's.

      •  It is a great breakup song. Speaking of which... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StellaRay

        teen angst breakup songs! :D

        Heh, cried so many times to these songs over so many girls. Anyway, I am a 90s teen child. :D

        ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

        by priceman on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 09:28:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LOL, priceman, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          priceman

          now you've gone and really challenged this old gal.   It's late and I won't get to listening to these tonight, but I'll be back tomorrow to do so.  

          So good to know, no matter what our age, or gender, we all cry to the music, and thank the music for helping the tears flow. Love lost deserves some tears.  

          Then you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and before you know it, you're listening to Bonnie's "Just in the nick of time"
          and thinking you're going to live through it all after all.

          •  :D It's OK (0+ / 0-)

            Indeed, we pick ourselves up "just in the nick of time" even though we don't forget.

            ‎A) "Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out." - George Carlin B) "The administration should be worried about the level of despair here." ~Markos Moulitsas at NN12

            by priceman on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 10:52:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Love Bonnie Raitt! (4+ / 0-)

    I can't listen to things in comments tonight but will come back in tomorrow.

    Don't know about their political leanings or activism, but here are two I linked to in C&J this evening.

    First, I heard Elvis Costello yesterday singing this song, Either Side of the Same Town, and it reminded me of the Dan Penn song, The Dark End of the Street. Hope you enjoy them both.


    Life is short. Tell someone you love that you love them. Don't miss the chances while you have them.

    by Melanie in IA on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 07:35:35 PM PDT

  •  Ms. Raitt is a fine singer and guitarist BUT... (1+ / 2-)
    Recommended by:
    SpeedyGonzales
    Hidden by:
    frandor55, blueness

    ...her "no nukes" stance is typical of most Western bourgeois "no nukers."

    Now, personally, in my music life, I studied her guitar playing, but I assure you that in my scientific life, she might as well not exist.

    She has the unmitigated gall to stand up in front of half a million watts of electronic equipment - some of it powered by coal - and rail against the world's largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy.

    Where does she think the electricity from her nighttime concerts comes from?   Solar cells on the other side of the planet?   Solar cells on the moon?

    Her trying to speak to the subject of nuclear energy would be the equivalent of awarding all of the members of MIT's graduating nuclear engineering department recording contracts as blues guitarists.

    Engineering classes are not designed to produce musicians, and being a celebrity rock star does not qualify one to speak on scientific subjects.

    Whether Ms. Raitt is aware of it or not, air pollution killed 3.3 million people last year, half under the age of five.

    Um, nuclear energy, um, didn't.

    Opposing nuclear energy is, quite frankly, murder.

    Well thought activism can be a good thing, but when it goes with bad thinking, it's not.

    •  Geez. I'd use Kos' (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      frandor55, Lost and Found

      don't be a dick admonition except that's pretty obvious.  Or at least should be.

      202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

      by cany on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 10:08:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bonnie: Live On Conan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, joanneleon

    ...."Unnecessarily Mercenary"

    Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.~~~ Susan Sontag

    by frandor55 on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 07:39:46 PM PDT

  •  Anti-Nuke Version: " For What It's Worth" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joanneleon

    With Keb' Mo', Graham Nash and Jackson Browne.

    Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present, and future.~~~ Susan Sontag

    by frandor55 on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 07:53:59 PM PDT

  •  Speaking of activists (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frandor55

    The story of Victor Jara
    Arlo never embeds any of his stuff

    Victor Jara of Chile
    Lived like a shooting star
    He fought for the people of Chile
    With his songs and his guitar
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    Victor Jara was a peasant
    He worked from a few years old
    He sat upon his father's plow
    And watched the earth unfold
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    Now when the neighbors had a wedding
    Or one of their children died
    His mother sang all night for them
    With Victor by her side
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    He grew up to be a fighter
    Against the people's wrongs
    He listened to their grief and joy
    And turned them into songs
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    He sang about the copper miners
    And those who worked the land
    He sang about the factory workers
    And they knew he was their man
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    He campaigned for Allende
    Working night and day
    He sang "Take hold of your brothers hand
    You know the future begins today"
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    Then the generals seized Chile
    They arrested Victor then
    They caged him in a stadium
    With five-thousand frightened men
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    Victor stood in the stadium
    His voice was brave and strong
    And he sang for his fellow prisoners
    Till the guards cut short his song
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    They broke the bones in both his hands
    They beat him on the head
    They tore him with electric shocks
    And then they shot him dead
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    Now the generals they rule Chile
    And the British have their thanks
    For they rule with Hawker Hunters
    And they rule with Chieftain tanks
    His hands were gentle, his hands were strong

    White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

    by BOHICA on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 08:24:25 PM PDT

  •  Good stuff Lady Lib (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, frandor55

    Thanks for sharing this with us.

    “that our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.” Thomas Jefferson

    by markdd on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 09:19:14 PM PDT

  •  That sample song from her new album reminds (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, frandor55, boudi08

    me of something that might have come from Homeplate.

    On another note (pun intentional), this woman is my absolute favorite in this genre. She's remarkable.  Here she does a tune written by Dylan that just blows me away, Let's Keep It Between Us.  I have never heard Dylan's version.

    This was always one of my favorite's to sing.  It's just got such a neat groove.

    Let’s keep it between us
    These people meddlin’ in our affairs, they’re not our friends
    Let’s keep it between us
    Before doors close and our togetherness comes to an end
    They’ll turn you against me and me against you
    ’Til we don’t know who to trust
    Oh, darlin’, can we keep it between us?

    Let’s keep it between us
    We’ve been through too much tough times that they never shared
    They’ve had nothing to say to us before
    Now all of a sudden it’s as if they’ve always cared
    All we need is honesty
    A little humility and trust
    Oh, darlin’, can we keep it between us?

    I know we’re not perfect
    Then again, neither are they
    They act like we got to live for them
    As if there just ain’t no other way
    And it’s makin’ me kind of tired

    Can we just lay back for a moment
    Before we wake up and find ourselves in a daze that’s got us out of our minds?
    There must be something we’re overlooking here
    We better drop down now and get back behind the lines
    There’s some things not fit for human ears
    Some things don’t need to be discussed
    Oh, darlin’, can we keep it between us?

    They’ll tell you one thing and me another
    ’Til we don’t know who to trust
    Oh, darlin’, can we keep it between us?

    Let’s keep it between us
    Before it all snaps and goes too far
    If we can’t deal with this by ourselves
    Tell me we ain’t worse off than they think we are
    Backseat drivers don’t know the feel of the wheel
    But they sure know how to make a fuss
    Oh, darlin’, can we keep it between us?

    Can we keep it between us?

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 10:04:30 PM PDT

  •  BTW... remember seeing her at the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lady Libertine, frandor55, boudi08

    Golden Bear in Huntington Beach years ago.  Small venue and it was just so incredible.  She was wearing this really out there dress and having so much fun.  We had a blast.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Fri Jun 15, 2012 at 10:10:30 PM PDT

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