When Bonnie Raitt headed off to Radcliffe College in 1967, she thought she could save the world. Two years later, she dropped out — with a better idea. She'd played guitar since she was a kid, and loved the blues. In Cambridge, she met a blues promoter who introduced her to many of the greats, including Son House, Fred McDowell and Sippie Wallace.
Raitt was soon opening for them on the road — college was a distant memory — and in 1971 she headed out to a studio at an empty summer camp in Minnesota to record her first album, the self-titled Bonnie Raitt. It included freewheeling songs recorded live to tape. Among them was the Robert Johnson classic "Walking Blues," with Raitt on slide guitar and bluesman Junior Wells on harmonica.
Now, nearly 35 years later, Raitt is still moaning the blues and playing her trademark slide guitar, which is heard on her latest album, Souls Alike. "It's very sexy and very powerful," she says of the instrument. "And depending on the groove you lay it on top of, it can be vengeful or erotic, or the saddest sound you've ever heard."