Quite possibly the best songwriter of her generation, Karla’s most famous for the Linda Ronstadt covers, but her own versions have more emotion and both resonate and sting, depending upon the track.
Of course I saw the credits for the cuts on “Hasten Down The Wind,” but the real revelation was when Karla’s first LP was released. Her versions were less produced, her voice was less bombastic and…those lyrics play in my head all the time!
“Someone To Lay Down Beside Me”:
Still you know that may be what I need
Is someone to lay down beside me
And even though it’s not real
Just someone to lay down beside me
You’re the story of my life
We all need touch, comfort, sex, understanding, and when you don’t get it you yearn for it.
And “If He’s Ever Near”:
They say just once in life
You find someone that’s right
But the world looks so confused
I can’t tell false from true
And love’s so hard to find
In this state of mind
Oh, I hope I’ll know him
I hope I’ll know him
If he’s ever near
We’re looking, do we trust our judgment, will we know..?
“Rose In The Garden”:
There’s a rose in the garden
It will bloom if you’re sure
That you pay close attention
But leave it room
I’m not telling any lies now
I need you
You know how
I think I can see how to let you grow
I’ve got to let you go
Whoa! This is not the typical love song, even though Karla sings “We’ve been here for so long now, I see your soul in me”. That’s closeness. And unless you married your high school sweetheart, you’ve been here, you’re so close, but it can’t work. It’s so painful.
“Isn’t It Always Love”
Isn’t it always love that makes you hang your head
Isn’t it always love that makes you cry
And isn’t it always love that takes the tears away
And I wouldn’t have it any other way
The track is upbeat, but the message is important. Life has its ups and downs, it’s your job to ride the pony. Too many people give up, find someone new, when the truth is they need to stick with what they’ve got, develop it, change.
When you find someone that’s true to you
Some days are up and oh some days are blue
Just don’t go and throw it all away
Wait a minute, you gotta hear what I say
Those cuts are all on the Columbia debut.
But in 1988, Karla dropped the album “New World,” which is marred a bit by the dated production, but contains just as much wisdom.
“Goodbye My Friend”:
Oh we never know where life will take us
We know it’s just a ride on the wheel
And we never know when death will shake us
And we wonder how it will feel
This is the song I played on 9/11. And now with so many of my friends sick and dying…
“All My Life”:
Am I really here in your arms
This is just like I dreamed it would be
I feel like we’re frozen in time
And you’re the only one I can see
I’ve looked all my life for you
Now you’re here
I’ll spend all my life with you
All my life
It’s the flip side of “Rose In The Garden,” she’s decided he’s here and she recognizes it.
And “Still Be Getting Over You.” All you need to know is the title. We’re human, we have emotions, we just can’t jump from one situation to another…the thoughts, the feelings, live on.
Now Karla’s got a new album, “Carry Me Home,” where she rerecords some of her best songs, and includes a take of Jackson Browne’s “Something Fine,” to boot.
Listen here: Carry Me Home
But be sure to also listen to the self-titled debut: Karla Bonoff
And hell, if you like that, listen to “New World”
Most songs are of a time, they’re dated, they’re a return to what once was.
But Karla Bonoff nails life, her songs are as relevant now as they ever were.
Furthermore, she’s regularly on tour. You should see her. Sit in the audience as you ponder your life and tingle.