September 26, 1988 12:00 PM

Karla Bonoff

Though she received relatively little renown for it, Bonoff was one of the most talented and touching of the sensitive ’70s singer-songwriters, female division. Her first album in six years proves she still knows how to tug sweetly at a listener’s heartstrings. Her voice may not soar here anywhere near as high as it has on past recordings such as Someone to Lay Down Beside Me, but New World is full of affectingly sad and pretty compositions that fans will immediately recognize as Bonoffian. Due to a combination of her waiting-for-the-other-boot-to-drop voice and her chord progressions, there is something dolorous to her music, even when she uncharacteristically puts spurs to the tempo on Tell Me Why. This is one of three tracks on New World to which Peter Frampton adds nice, understated guitar touches. Most of the songs, though, are like Goodbye My Friend, played at a deliberate pace and in a deeper shade of blue. While a number of her peers such as Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt have covered her songs, Bonoff still renders them best. New World is a good place to rediscover what a moving experience that can be. (Gold Castle)

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