December 16, 2009 – 4:08 am

Click on the panels for a better view or to download artwork.

Philadelphia 1972 [no label, 1CD]

Sigma Sound Studios, Rainbow Room, WMMR, Philadelphia, PA, February 22, 1972. Very good Pre-FM recording.

When Bonnie Raitt got her big breakthrough album, Nick Of Time, in 1989, the general feeling was that her time had come. After all, she had released her debut album back in 1971 and spent the time in between gigging and honing her craft. The Nick Of Time and Luck Of The Draw (1991) albums showed a matured Raitt with a commanding presence.

But even in the early years, she had the ability to stop listeners in their tracks. Sarah, writing at, posted: “My love affair with blues and the legendary Bonnie Raitt began in 1977 when I was 13 years old. I was in my bedroom listening to a local top 40s station when the tuner on my antiquated clock radio became stuck between channels. In tuning it I landed WMMR in Philadelphia and heard the most amazing thing. Bonnie Raitt’s Blender Blues was playing. It was a live recording from Philly’s Sigma Sound Studions from, I believe, 1972 or so. Bonnie Raitt became my hero and I listened to the radio often to hear that song especially.”

While Raitt was still promoting her self-titled debut album at this show, she also snucked in Too Long At The Fair and Under The Falling Sky from her second album, Give It Up, which would only be released in September 1972.

Fans who heard this show have raved about it - both for Raitt’s performance (she was only 22) and for its very good audio quality. Thanks to tranbert for sharing the lossless tracks on the net and to [email protected] for the artwork.

No idea who penned these notes that accompanied the tracks but they make fine reading.

“Like any story passed on with some music this needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Here what was told to me and this is what I know.

“An intern at WMMR in the ’80s recorded this show to an analog source. Being such a tremendous recording this individual longed to re-record the master reel straight to a digital source as they became increasingly popular in the early ’90s. At this point the intern had moved on and no longer had this type of access. However, he remembered periodically that the studio or the station allowed access to the ‘records room’ for research activity. Posing as a university affiliate doing research on ’70s radio advertising, this individual gained access to the master reels with a portable Sony DAT deck. The room was laid out with shelves with tables on the far end with cassette decks, reel to reel and ‘cart’ type recorders. Unplugging the cart recorder and connecting the DAT deck, history was then digitized.

“At this time I was working at a mail order facility selling DAT tapes. Which at the time were very expensive, US$12 or more per tape. The individual with this Bonnie recording told us the story above. Is it true?  Who knows but he use to buy DAT tapes from us regularly. He made us a cassette of this famous recording and we bugged him to make us a DAT copy for months. He did not have the means to do DAT to DAT. On a visit to the ’store’ in Stamford in 1992 we finally were able to make one DAT clone. I subsequently cloned that DAT.”

Also, thanks to WMMR producer Dennis Wilen for the feedback.

Note: Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (these are high quality MP3s - sample rate of 192 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

Due to the size of some of the files, please be very patient when downloading the tracks. It could be that the server was very busy. Please try again later. Kindly email us at [email protected] if you encounter persistent problems downloading the files.

Track 01. Mighty Tight Woman [04:03] (5.5MB)
Track 02. Rollin’ & Tumblin’ [04:23] (6.0MB)
Track 03. Any Day Woman [03:39] (5.0MB)
Track 04. Woman Be Wise [03:43] (5.0MB)
Track 05. Thank You [02:57] (4.0MB)
Track 06. Bluebird [03:38] (4.9MB)
Track 07. Finest Lovin’ Man [05:23] (7.8MB)
Track 08. Big Road [04:42] (6.4MB)
Track 09. Too Long At The Fair [02:50] (3.9MB)
Track 10. Under The Falling Sky [04:04] (6.1MB)
Track 11. Walking Blues [03:59] (5.4MB)
Track 12. Can’t Find My Way Home [03:06] (4.2MB)
Track 13. Richland Woman Blues [03:52] (5.6MB)
Track 14. Blender Blues [03:32] (4.8MB)
Track 15. Radio Jingle Promo [01:04] (1.4MB)
Track 16. Since I Fell For You [02:50] (3.9MB)
TT [58:11]

Bonnie Raitt - guitar, piano, vocals
Dan (Freebo) Freeberg - bass
T.J. Tindle - guitar, harp
John Davis - harp

Click here to order Bonnie Raitt albums.

  1. 23 Responses to “BONNIE RAITT - PHILADELPHIA 1972”

  2. Thank you, thank you!! I’ve been asking around for years to find a copy of this session. I recorded it reel to reel at the original broadcast but alas, the tape got lost between ex-wives!!! What you miss here is the guest guitarist—John Hall from Orleans! This is a recording to die for for all of us who remember the Second Fret and the Main Point. Thanks again!

    By Allan Hurt on Dec 16, 2009

  3. As someone who grew up in Philly and was glued to ‘MMR back in the day, I look back on this radio broadcast w/ fond memories. A good one, indeed. Thx thx thx for posting it.

    By Bruce Warren on Dec 16, 2009

  4. Truly a gem of a recording, coming right on the heels of Todd Rundgren’s legendary 1971 performance at the same recording studio and also broadcast on ‘MMR. Go Philly!

    By Art Lazarus on Dec 16, 2009

  5. Bring back my bonnie to me :)

    By greenland on Dec 17, 2009

  6. Lot of great stuff from WMMR… Bonnie, Bruce, Browne. Any chance of digging up the show Billy Joel did at WMMR in 1972? “Captain Jack” hadn’t even been recorded for an album yet, but it went on to be one of the most requested songs in the history of the station.

    By Shaun on Dec 20, 2009

  7. Excellent concert and superb voice!

    By Rochacrimson on Dec 20, 2009

  8. What an early Christmas present. I was 15 years of age when I heard this broadcast live on ‘MMR. I have been searching for the entire show ever since. To those who have not listened, you are in for a Christmas treat. As Shaun say’s, please Billy Joel live from 1972 on ‘MMR is a rare recording. Sigma Sound also recorded David Bowie during the Live at the Tower Theatre sessions. Would love to hear these too. Thank you Santa!

    By Bubbles on Dec 20, 2009

  9. An update on Sigma Sound, Philadelphia. Who else played there? Check out this article of the era of Progressive Rock DJ’s in Phila. during the 1970’s and check out the 1972 photo of Bruce & Bowie. The article is a bit long, but give great insights to the great days of FM radio in Phila and NYC

    By Bubbles on Dec 22, 2009

  10. GREAT article Bubbles… Thanks! Sadly, this article’s pretty old now and Ed Sciaky and Scott Muni have since passed away. Also sad about what’s happened to American radio. Loved all the good histoty, and all the excellent quotes from Billy Joel! He’s never been afraid to speak his mind.

    Let’s get some good Billy Joel shows here on BigO! Early stuff, later stuff, recent shows… Anything! His show with Bruce last year (a benefit for Obama’s campaign) would be sweet if a good recording is circulating.

    By Shaun on Dec 23, 2009

  11. There were a handful of great FM stations back in the day, and WMMR was one of the best. At the same time, WBCN in Boston ruled in New England, with WCOZ, WAAF (Worcester), and WBRU nibbling at the edges. Sadly, they are all playing totally different formats, some with new call letter to boot.

    What many saw as a blessing to live radio concerts, satellite broadcasting, actually foretold the downfall, as it opened the door to all that soulless, mind-numbing homogenized crap that in turn killed what remained of any chance of locally-influenced music (i.e. Philly soul, Chicago blues, S.F. progressive, et al) getting serious non-NPR air time, and, in a few short years, gave us such crap as MTV.

    I recall the first time I heard a voice familiar to me from my Army days, Tony Pig, from Armed Forces Radio Network, on a live concert satellite broadcast, and thought this whole “thing” would go on forever. Sadly, I was wrong…

    By O.B. Dan on Dec 24, 2009

  12. Yes, the radio concerts I produced for WMMR — like the Sigma Sound Studio shows by Bonnie Raitt and Billy Joel — live on.

    I salute your good taste!

    By Dennis Wilen on Apr 20, 2010

  13. I believe this is the only recorded version of “Blender Blues”. The story is that a U of P student wrote it, Bonnie sung it, but thought it was a bit too unflattering to women to continue performing.

    By Fran on Aug 11, 2010

  14. Thanks I saw these sessions on you tube but I wanted them for my itunes so I could enjoy them in the mix

    I love BR from this time, saw her in some small clubs around the country. Even had a few drinks with her way back when..

    By cathy on Jan 15, 2011

  15. I am so excited to find these recordings. I grew up listening to WMMR. More than 30 years later I still remember hearing “Blender Blues” on the radio, and never being able to find a recording of this song. I’ve been a huge Bonnie Raitt fan ever since, and now I have the original performance that I fell in love with so many years ago.

    Thank you to everyone who put this together, and to my girl Karen who found this page and sent me the link.

    By Hutch on May 9, 2011

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    Absolutely amazing that this has survived in such good condition

    By leyden on Sep 27, 2011

  17. Great stuff, thanks for the background info. I love Blender Blues. It isn’t the only time she sang it by the way. Here’s another version that even has slightly different lyrics:

    By JKLPPNBRG on Nov 29, 2011

  18. Here you can see she also performed Blender Blues in 1971:

    By JKLPPNBRG on Nov 29, 2011

  19. I too, like Allan Hurt, did a reel to reel recording from the original broadcast, though I asked my best friend to store it while I traveled, only to find out he thought so little of it, he tossed it out. I searched for years to find that recording - so a big TU to all that made it available. I certainly have passed it along to many friends.

    By jberryl on Oct 1, 2012

  20. I somehow missed this one first time around. Thanks big o, I`m getting it now.

    By sluggo on Oct 1, 2012

  21. Track #7& #13 will not download :-(

    By Pig Street! on Jan 5, 2016

  22. Thanks Big O for re-uping those tracks

    By Pig Street! on Jan 5, 2016

  23. Many broken links. 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12 & 14 are dead.

    C’est la vie.

    By Jeff Powell on Nov 4, 2017

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