Sunday, 19 June 2011

And I never really knew how to love I just hoped somehow I'd see oh I asked for a little help from above send an angel down to me

Sappy Song Department

“All My Life”, Karla Bonoff (1988)  

I ordered a CD a few years ago off Karla’s website and when I got it, it was autographed by her. I thought that was a very nice touch.

You may not really know who Karla Bonoff is, but you may have heard songs she has written for other successful artists. She wrote “Someone to Lay Down Beside Me” done by Linda Ronstadt for example.

In early days back in the seventies in Southern California, Bonoff formed a band with (recently deceased) Andrew Gold, then boyfriend Kenny Edwards (who had started the Stone Poney’s with Linda Ronstadt) and friend Wendy Waldman. The band they called "Bryndle", played top-40 stuff and broke up by 1971, having made an album that the record company did not know what to do with.

She started writing songs when she was 15.  Karla’s songs are always very personal; graceful and revealing at the same time - a very sensitive treatment.

Having heard some of her demo tapes Linda Ronstadt said to Karla, “hey, you know that’s real good,.what else have you got?”. Three of Karla’s songs ended up on Ronstadt’s “Hasten Down the Wind”, including “Someone To Lay Down Beside Me”, “Lose Again”, and “If He’s ever near”.

Getting her own contract with Columbia records in 1977 she recorded these songs herself and “I Can’t Hold On” and “Home” (which Bonny Raitt recorded later). As she toured her self-titled first album the song “I Can’t Hold On” became quite successful on the U.S. West Coast. 

Karla often collaborating with some of the best in the music industry including, but I am sure not lmited to: James Taylor, Jackie DeShannon, Don Henley, J.D. Souther (who she still sometimes performs with), Danny Kortchmar, Joe Walsh, Timothy B. Schmidt, Christopher Cross, and Peter Frampton. 

In 1978’s “Restless Nights” included the great title song, and “The Water is Wide” (an old Scottish tune also done earlier by the ‘Weavers’). Her next album “Wild Heart of the Young” saw good chart success with “Personally”, probably her most successful commercial solo effort (and sounding a bit more commercial). The other song that did reasonably well was “Please Be the One”. 

In 1984 she sang the song “Somebody’s Eyes” for the ‘Footloose’ soundtrack. She also did another album on an independent label in 1988 called “New World”, with the song “Goodbye My Friend”, and “All My Life”, but did not again get much air play. "All My Life" was used in a commercial. Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt covered it on 1989's "Cry Like a Rainstorm" as well.

Her live album released in 2007 is well worth a listen. It includes versions of a lot of her better songs,  with an excellent versions of “All My Life” and “Someone to Lay Down Beside Me”.

In 1995 Bryndle reformed. All successful session players and song writers, they decided to try to write together. (Andrew Gold left the band in 1996) The result although very good, did not have tremendous commercial success. I personally love the song “Night Full of Rain”, off their 2002 “House of Silence” album.

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