The Shamus has never been a gigantic fan of Bonnie Raitt. I know a lot of people love her, especially those Grammy winning comeback albums, such as Nick of Time and Luck of the Draw. I don’t. They were obvious attempts to downplay her true strengths for chart success. No crime, but I blame producer Don Was, who puts everybody he works with through some weird Woody Allen-esque deflavoring machine. For my money, the only great Bonnie Raitt disc is her second one, 1972’s Give It Up, which I listened to again over the Memorial Day weekend. As a showcase for her talents as a laid-back, slightly sassy blues singer and interpreter of ‘70s singer-songwriters, she has never matched it. Basically, it’s a hellacious collection of songs, from Raitt’s finest originals (especially the raucous opener, Give It Up or Let Me Go) to smart picks by everybody from Delta blues singer Sippie Wallace to Jackson Browne. Recorded at Bearsville, it has that loose, back-porch feel of a bunch of musicians jamming for the sheer love of the songs. Raitt’s bottleneck steel guitar merges happily with New Orleans brass, and the production by Michael Cuscina has a warm, woody feel: part Band, part Van Morrison. The album brings back memories of a certain era in rock, when folk, rock, jazz and blues all mixed together and everybody said, “Screw the classifications.” While Raitt nails the singer-songwriter ballads (Too Long at the Fair; Love Has No Pride), she really gives it up on the suggestive blues songs. When Raitt cries out that she wants a man to “rock me like my back ain’t gone no bone,” she’d make John Lee Hooker or Howlin’ Wolf step up and give the lady her respect. Just listen to the way she winks and nods through the risque lyrics of Wallace’s You Got to Know How. On Give It Up, Bonnie Raitt definitely knew how.