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Bonnie Bramlett Interview

 Bonnie Bramlett


With  Pat Benny

SBM: Hello, Miss Bramlett, and welcome to the virtual reality of Southbound Beat Magazine.  I can’t begin to tell you what an honor it is to have you share a bit of your time with us.
Thanks for thinkin of me honey

SBM:  I’d like to begin with the question that I’ve been asking myself since reading your Bio on your website,  How in the world have you escaped the attention of the entertainment media for so many years-given the fact that you have remained extremely active in the music business?
BB:  Just lucky I guess

SBM:  What does Bonnie Bramlett do when She’s not making music?
BB:  I write songs, and I love to drive, so I go on rides in the country. : )

SBM: Your website is so slick, so impressive; Do you enjoy computers and surfing the net, or do you leave that to the experts?
BB: The website was done, and is maintained by my friends Beverly Metcalf and Ginger Ambrose.  They do other sites as well; Fan Clubs, Charlie Daniels, to mention my favorite. : )   Yes, I do a lot of work on my computer.  I answer all my own e-mail.  And, I also write, keep a journal, etc.

SBM: A few years back, you appeared on the Roseanne television show.  Can you tell us how that came about and what it was like to work with Roseanne and Tom?
BB: Roseanne and who?  …I met Rosie while doing a play and she asked me to be on her show.  I, of course, said YES!!

SBM:  It appears to me that too many of today’s musicians are at each other’s throats, a stark contrast to the 60’s and 70’s, when it really was Delaney and Bonnie and friends.  What do think the reason is for this lack of camaraderie in the industry today?
BB: You know…That’s not been my experience.  I think everybody’s way too FAMOUS, and full of themselves instead of their music, but they are friends like we were.  They jam, not as much or as spontaineously.  But, every now and again, they’ll jam.

SBM:  Your Bio was certainly informative, and I hope that our readers check it out, but I’d like you to expound on a few things.  For instance, could you tell us what it was like to be fifteen years old and a member of Ike and Tina Turner’s Ikettes?  Did you tour with them, or was it strictly studio work?
BB: It was dangerous, a lot of racism.  It was wonderful.  I did a short tour. It was long enough to start the flame inside me…I write about it in detail in my book.  I should be finished with it next year.

SBM:  You have written songs for and performed with so many icons of the music industry.  Can I just throw out some names and have you tell us what it was like to work with them?
BB: Sure.

SBM:  I once lived in a hotel that employed a maid who happened to be friends with Dexter Gordon. Maggie spoke very highly of him; not just musically but as an extraordinary person. Can you give us some insight on Dexter?
BB: Dexter was a big man.  I never thought Dexter got his props…He was so great and a gentleman that you had to keep reminding yourself he was a gentleman because he was a big flirt. : )   We went to Earnest Hemingway’s house in Havanna along with the Hearth Brothers.  Spent a wonderful afternoon just listening to those great Jazz men talk.  I heard the real stories from the real Jazz men.  I heard Billie Holiday stories, and Babs Gonzales stories. :   M.I.M.B.  (More in my book……)

SBM:  How about Miles Davis?  I’ve always heard that he could be stubborn and difficult to work with.  Did you find this to be true?
BB:  I don’t think Miles knew I was even there.  He really never acknowledged me.  I was just a voice.  I know he heard me, because he would smile sometimes.  But, he certainly was not a difficult person.  He’s a Genius you know.

  Referring to your Bio again, you met Eric Clapton when your band opened for Blind Faith.  What was it like to work with Eric and that phenomenal but short-lived band?
BB:  We had a BALL!!!  No doubt!  We had a great band and we were playin our butts off.  Eric and Rick came on the bus with us and we partied the whole tour.  It ended up with Eric and Rick comin on stage with us and Jammin.  We really had a ball! : )

SBM:   Is Rufus Thomas as hilarious as reported?
BB: I didn’t know Mr. Thomas…..but, you should ask Delaney.

SBM:  We could fill the entire Internet discussing the many great performers you’ve been associated with, so let’s save some room to talk about your new CD, I’m Still the Same, on Audium/Koch Records.  Bonnie, this is a powerful, soulful collection of tunes and I’m not the only one to fall in love with it.  Are you enjoying the praise?
BB: I am.  : )  Thank you.
SBM: The material is such a departure from the Delaney and Bonnie era.  How did you come to choose this style of music for the CD?
BB:  Well, my friend Carolyn Brand Corlew, who sang background with me for many years, as well as with Charlie Daniels, along with her husband David Corlew, who is both Charlie Daniels manager and a music publisher, financed the project.  David also gave me full artistic freedom to make the record I always wanted to make.  I will always be blessed by their friendship. : )   Thanks kids!!

  It appears that all of the tunes to which you are given credit are collaboration with other composers.  Do you focus on the music, the lyrics, or both?
BB:  I do both melody and lyrics, but I call myself a co-writer still.  The wonderful writers that accompanied me in the creation of the eight songs on this album are the builders.  They truly take all the thoughts and words, and put them in the right place so that the picture is clear in three minutes or so.  What a blessing to be able to write a song.  Indians call it making a song.  It’s a holy thing to make a song to Indians.  I think it is to me too.  : )
SBM: I have to agree. This CD definitely has a spiritual vibe. Like a window to your soul, Bonnie. I wasn’t mature enough to appreciate the Carpenters when they were on top, but I always liked Superstar.  Your version on this album is incredible.  Is this the way you imagined it when it was first written?
BB: Sort of, but I was very young and unable, as well as unqualified, to stand up for myself artistically.  It was meant to be a Torch Song.  Instead, they got a HIT SONG!! : )    Still, I was disappointed in the Carpenters version.  I guess up until Luther, Bette’s was my favorite.  But, Big Luther validated me with his version.  I still didn’t ever want to sing that song again…too painful.  But…NO….the only thing David Corlew asked me to do for him was to sing Superstar.  So, after all these years, and after all my tears, this is how I feel about it today.  Thank you for recognizing my performance to be real.

SBM:  "That's the attraction, I think. Every song is so very real". Have you given any thoughts toward your next project, and will it be in the same genre, or will it be something different? 
BB:  I want to call in the Troops on the next one and I want to have a ROCK N ROLL REVIVAL!!  We need to show these kids how to ROCK! : )   PO THNGS DON’T EVEN KNOW……

SBM:  The last track on your album, I’m Still the Same, which bears the same name is so haunting, so beautiful and full of hope.  Was this a difficult song to write?
BB:  Gary Nicholson is the writer on that one…Oh, I was there and it is my story, but Gary is a Master Songwriter.

SBM:  Bonnie, you’ve contributed so much to music in so many ways, including your daughter, Bekka.  You must be very proud of her?
BB:  Well, I am very proud of her.  : )   She is a very hard worker..  Her passion for singing and writing and teaching is God’s gift, and she is using it well.  Both of my girls are very powerful and accomplished women.  I love them so very much.  By the way, go to Bekka’s site and have a listen to her new CD.  I cry when I have a hear.   (

SBM: "Well, she certainly came by that honestly."  I’m sure that Bekka grew up surrounded by great musicians and their music.  At what age did she show signs of having the same talent as her parents?
BB: From the very go.  We knew from the very go, because of her personality.  (M.I.M.B.)

SBM: Do you worry about her when she tours?
BB: Not really!  I have a lot of confidence in my girls, that they make their own choices and they are very good at that.  They are wise as well as powerful.  As far as her safety….I believe in God.  PTL

SBM:  You and Delaney took the stage with Bekka in Nashville; that must have been fun.
BB:  What a wonderful night… I know this sounds Mom-ish, but… We sang Dann Penn’s “Do Right Woman”… and my daughter reached over and took my hand in hers and held it because she knew that I had not sang that song without her father.  She sang in his stead with me.  I was reeling inside, but the touch of her hand gounded me and I was okay.  She loves me like a rock.  : )
SBM:  Is there a possibility of the three of you recording together?  Perhaps a tour?
BB:  Yes, I would like for that to happen; I would be up for that.  But, I  would like for Bekka to produce that project.  I don't see a tour happening, but maybe a television special.  Or a video.  : )

SBM:  Bonnie, I’d like to thank you for spending this time with us and wish you great success for the future.  It’s my job to “sling the mush around,” but I must tell you that your new CD is so fantastic, I can’t say enough about it.  I hope it receives the recognition that it deserves.
BB:  Well, thanks Pat.  I hope it gets promoted properly, and maybe it’ll get played, then it’ll get heard.  And, if you hear it, you’re gonna like it!   See ya later alligator.  Blessings and PEACE – Bonnie Bramlett

I am looking forward to another interview after your book is released!

        Pat Benny

SBM Bonnie Bramlett CD review "I'm Still The Same" Here


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