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Bonnet; Graham: Graham Bonnet/No Bad Habits (remastered and expanded)

Three years on from his first shot at recording an album (the shelved, but finally released on CD this year, Back Row In The Stalls) Graham Bonnet set about creating his first solo album for real. Released eponymously, the album featured the production skills of Pip Williams, whose work with Status Quo from the same period proved a great commercial success. However with Bonnet's future as a hard rock singer with Rainbow and Michael Schenker, amongst others, still a little way off, the style here may surprise some. However the pop/soul/R&B approach certainly suits his voice to a tee and also, at least in places, does reveal some rock oomph. Indeed that latter aspect shows up through the excellent guitar playing of future Whitesnake man Micky Moody, although with the likes of "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and "Tired Of Being Alone" (bar one or two song, the whole album is cover versions, or outside sourced tracks), the guitar does tend to take a back seat.

Unsurprisingly everything feels very much of its time, the waca-waca-waca riffs a nod to disco, while classy string atmospheres tend, along with brass, to take a lot of the limelight. However with Bonnet at the mic, there really could be only one star and even taking into account that the nearest this album flirted with success was a minor chart hit in Australia (with a good version of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Baby Blue", although even this petered out quite quickly) his vocal ability is quite astounding. Unperturbed the same team reconvened a year later as Bonnet made the move from Ringo Starr's Ring O'Records to Mercury for the No Bad Habits set.

In ways it's more of the same, the soul/pop/R&B mix of covers given a 70s mainstream sheen, and of course, a serious vocal workout. This time the album itself would take hold in Australia but as before the UK pretty much ignored an excellent take on future Status Quo cut "Givin' Up My Worrying", the jaunty "Won't You Join Me" and it's very "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" like chorus, or the out and out disco of the Gibb/Gibb/Gibb (in other words The Bee Gees) penned "Warm Ride". Thankfully however, one person who didn't ignore Bonnet was Rainbow bassist Roger Glover, who having heard the singer's version of "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" from the Graham Bonnet album, scurried off with record to let Rainbow mainman Ritchie Blackmore hear it; the guitarist agreeing Bonnet was the unexpected choice to replace Ronnie James Dio in their band. The rest, as they say, is history.

Coming as a nicely packaged two disc set, a total of twelve bonus tracks appear between these two albums; a mixture of demos, 12" mixes (remember them?) and previously unreleased or unavailable on CD numbers adding hugely to the collectability, if not, in truth, the quality. The majority of the unearthed material falling into the 'big Saturday night number' trap a lot of 'family entertainment' forced down TV viewers' throats in the 70s

Graham Bonnet would go on to bigger better things. However it's arguable that in terms of demonstrating his pure vocal ability, seldom did he ever surpass the performances provided on this pair of albums. In that light both prove to be interesting and enlightening releases well worth the time taken to discover or reappraise them.


Track Listing
CD ONE: GRAHAM BONNET (1977)
1. IT'S ALL OVER NOW, BABY BLUE
2. WILL YOU LOVE ME TOMORROW?
3. TIRED OF BEING ALONE
4. WINO SONG
5. IT AIN'T EASY
6. GOODNIGHT AND GOODMORNING
7. DANNY
8. SUNDAY 16
9. ROCK ISLAND LINE
10. SOUL SEEKER
BONUS TRACKS
11. HEROES ON MY PICTURE WALL (SINGLE B-SIDE, 1977)
12. GOODNIGHT AND GOODMORNING (SINGLE EDIT) **
13. I WHO AM I (GRAHAM BONNET & VICKY SILVA, 1977)*
14. THE LOVING TOUCH (GRAHAM BONNET & VICKY SILVA, 1976)
15. DO WHAT YOU GOTTA DO (DEMO)*
16. IT AIN'T EASY (DEMO)*
17. YOU'VE LOST THAT LOVIN' FEELING (DEMO)*


CD TWO: NO BAD HABITS (1978)
1. I'LL BE YOUR BABY TONIGHT
2. WON'T YOU JOIN ME
3. WARM RIDE
4. IS THERE A WAY TO SING THE BLUES
5. CAN'T COMPLAIN
6. GIVIN' UP MY WORRYIN'
7. PYRAMID
8. ONLY YOU CAN LIFT ME
9. STAND STILL STELLA
10. HIGH SCHOOL ANGEL
11. COLD LADY
BONUS TRACKS
12. 10/12 OBSERVATION (SINGLE B-SIDE OF 'WARM RIDE')
13. ONLY YOU CAN LIFT ME (SINGLE EDIT) **
14. SUCH A SHAME (SINGLE B-SIDE OF 'ONLY YOU CAN LIFT ME')
15. WARM RIDE (12" LONG DISCO VERSION)**
16. WARM RIDE (12" LONG VERSION)**


* Previously unreleased
** Previously unavailable on CD

Added: June 19th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Graham Bonnet/No Bad Habits at Cherry Red
Hits: 1148
Language: english

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