Title - 'Graham Bonnet / No Bad Habits: Expanded Deluxe'
Artist - Graham Bonnet
Graham Bonnet is quite rightly best known for fronting the melodic hard rock of Rainbow, MSG and Alcatrazz, with a career going back to the 1960s. His initial breakthrough as part of The Marbles was in 1968, where his style and tastes were originally geared more towards pop and R&B orientated music. Recording a number of obscure, but now highly collectable 45s in the early 1970s, before releasing his solo albums, Bonnet is still as much revered today as he was in his heyday.
Graham Bonnet / No Bad Habits: Expanded Deluxe Edition is a brand new, digitally remastered and expanded 2CD set containing a pair of albums from the rock vocalist himself. His eponymous titled debut in 1977 for Ring O'Records, it begins with a cover of Bob Dylan's 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue', but is all Bonnet by the time his incredible, highly distinctive vocals wraps themselves around each and every song.
Inclusive of his love for all-things classic, it’s overly obvious that Bonnet is in love with Motown, the Blues, Doo-Wop, and other sounds of an era gone by. Sadly, when he decides to fully immerse himself in them, that’s when the results become mixed.
Drawing upon known songwriters such as Goffin and King's 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow?', a track briefly resurrected by Rainbow at the 1980 Monsters of Rock, Al Green's 'Tired Of Being Alone' and 'Goodnight And Goodmorning', originally from Hall & Oates' Whole Oats LP, the fact that the production on this recording is rather old doesn’t help it, sadly.
Produced by Pip Williams and engineered by John Eden, both of whom are probably best known for their work with Status Quo, Graham Bonnet is augmented by no less than seven bonus tracks, including 'Heroes On My Picture Wall', the B-Side of 'It's All over Now, Baby Blue'. In truth, Bonnet in his youth was capable of hitting some very high notes, being able to sing the hell out of any song he was given, but there is nothing especially compelling or necessary here on this debut.
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
8. Sunday 16
9. Rock Island Line
10. Soul Seeker
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)
Wasting no time at all, his debut was followed up in 1978 by No Bad Habits, again produced by Pip Williams. Featuring the singles 'Can't Complain' and the Bee Gee's 'Warm Ride', the bonus tracks include '10/12 Observation', the B-Side of 'Warm Ride', as well as a "disco" version of the track 'Warm Ride'.
This follow-up to the 1977 solo release does admittedly rock a little more than its predecessor, but the emphasis here once again is on the superior vocal performance of Bonnet. Jon Lord from Deep Purple and Cozy Powell from Rainbow are on here also so it‘s clear that guitar God Ritchie Blackmore saw something in these happy little tunes!
Don’t get me wrong though, this is NOT Alcatrazz, Blackthorne, MSG, or Impelliteri, but, simply put, is the true “beginning” for one of the most intense rock vocalists ever.
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'
8. Only You Can Lift Me
9. Stand Still Stella
10. High School Angel
11. Cold Lady
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)
Both Graham Bonnet and No Bad Habits remain fitting testimonials to this singular artist's progress as a singer and musician. Sure they are both flawed, the former more than the latter, but come the end of days, Bonnet will still be rightfully remembered for both.
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