Delaney & Bonnie


Band members                              Related acts

- Bonnie Bramlett (aka Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell) -- vocals

- Delaney Bramlett (RIP 2008) -- vocals, guitar

 

  backing musicians (1968)

- Joe Arnold -- saxophone 

- William Bell -- backing vocals 

- Ben Cauley -- trumpet

- Steve Cropper -- guitar 

- John Davis -- trumpet 

- Donald "Duck" Dunn (RIP) -- bass 

- Phil Forrest -- backing vocals

Isaac Hayes (RIP) -- keyboards, backing vocals 

- Al Jackson, Jr. (RIP) - drums, percussion 

- Wayne Jackson -- trumpet

- Booker T. Jones -- keyboards 

- Jimmy Karstein -- percussion

- Ed Logan -- tenor saxophone 

- Andrew Love -- tenor saxophone

- Jay Pruitt -- trumpet 

- Carl Radle -- bass 

- Leon Russell --  keyboards 

- Dick Steff -- trumpet      

- Jim Terry -- saxophone 

 

  backing musicians (1969)

- Eric Clapton -- lead guitar

- Rita Coolidge -- vocals

- Jim Gordon (RIP) -- drums 

- Tex Johnson -- percussion

- Bobby Keyes -- sax

- Dave Mason -- guitar

- Jim Price -- trumpet, trombone

- Carl Radle (RIP) -- bass

- Bobby Whitlock (RIP) -- keyboards

 

  backing musicians (1970)

- Duane Allman (RIP) - lead guitar

- Ben Benay -- guitar

- Sam Clayton -- percussion

- Kind Curtis -- sax

- Jim Dickinson -- keyboards

- Alan Estes -- percussion

- Charlie Freeman -- guitar

- Jim Gordon -- keyboards

- Kenny Gradney -- bass

- Sammy Greason -- drums

- Jack Hale -- trombone, trumpet

- Wayne Jackson -- trumpet

- Jerry Jumonville -- sax

- Sneaky Pete Kleinow -- pedal steel guitar

- Darrell Leonard -- trumpet, trombone

- Ed Logan -- sax

- Andrew Love -- sax

- Frank Mayes -- sax

- Tom McClure -- bass

- Floyd Newman -- sax

- Little Richard -- keyboards

- Jerry Scheff -- bass

- Ron Tutt -- drums

- Mike Utley -- piano

- Bobby Whitlock -- piano

 

  backing musicians (1971)

- Gregg Allman -- guitar

- Ben Benay -- 

- Iva Bramlett -- 

- Kenny Gradney -- 

- John Hartford -- 

- Eddie James -- 

- Jim Keltner --

- Sandy Konikoff --

- Dave Mason --

- Gram Parsons --

- Carl Radle -- bass

- Leon Russell -- keyboards

- Bobby Whitlock -- 

- jay York -- 

 

  backing musicians (1972):

- Sam Clayton -- 

- Gordon De Witty -- 

- Joe Johanson -- 

- Jerry Jumondille -- 

- Darrell Leonard -- 

- Chuck Morgan -- 

- Larry Savoir -- 

- Jay York --


 

 

Bonnie Bramlett (solo efforts)

- Delaney Bramlett (solo efforts)

- The Shindigs

 

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Home

Company: Stax 

Catalog: STS 2028

Year: 1969

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1422

Price: $15.00

 

 

There's plenty of Delaney and Bonnie biographical material available on-line, so I'll hit the highlights. He was born in Mississippi, but by the time he was 20, singer/guitarist Delaney Bramlett was living in Los Angeles, working as a sessions musician. By 1964 he was playing in The Shindogs, who achieved some notoriety as the house band for ABC Shindg television series. 

 

Born and raised in Alton, Illinois, by the time she was in her teens Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell was working with Albert King and was a member of Ike and Tina Turner's backing vocal group - The Ikettes.  In 1967 she moved to LA where she met Delaney and married him the following year. 

 

Tired of The Shindigs, in 1968 Delaney and fellow Shindig member Leon Russell decided to form their own band.  Known as Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. Delaney's time with The Shindigs helped him score an unlikely contract with Stax; a label better known for its roster of soul acts.  Recorded throughout 1968 with Don Nix and Donald "Duck" Dunn co-producing, 1969's "Home" was a surprisingly impressive debut. With backing from an all-star cast of friends and Stax sessions players including William Bell, Steve Cropper, Isaac Hayes, Al Jackson Jr, .Booker T., and Leon Russell, tracks such as 'Things Get Better' and 'Pour Your Love On Me'  found Delaney and Bonnie successfully mixing their soul, R&B, and rock roots.  It may not sound particularly original today, but I suspect that back in 1969 this was quite a radical sound.  With a mixture or original tunes and soul covers, Delaney and Bonnie both sounded top-notch; particularly Bonnie who avoided much of the over-singing that would plague latter releases. Support from the MGs and the cream of Stax sessions players certainly didn't hurt.  Song-for-song this was easily my favorite Delaney and Bonnie LP.  By my count at least six classic tunes, including an amazing cover of 'Piece of My Heart),  and not a single loser.   Quite an accomplishment for a debut album.    By the way, if you ever wondered about the cover photo - the older gentleman was Delaney's grandfather, John Bramlett.   The building the were sitting in front of was the Pontotoc, Mississippi farm Delaney grew up in.   

"Home" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) It's Been a Long Time Coming   Delaney Bramlett - Bonnie Bramlett) - 2:26

The opening horns gave the tune a distinctive Stax feel and while it wasn't their most impressive performance, I'll readily admit the song's soul roots were far more attractive to my ears than their folk and country-blues outings.   Nice soul melody and the pair blended their voices nicely; well at least until Bonnie began to over-sing her parts.  Stax tapped it as the lead-off single.    rating: *** stars

2.) A Right Now Love   (Homer Banks - Bonnie Bramlett) - 2:19

The Bramletts at their most tuneful ... With a killer hook, it's hard to imagine this old-school classic wasn't a massive hit for the pair.  'course Stax was probably clueless how to go about promoting a pair of young, white hippies ...   shame the song faded out so quickly.   rating: **** stars

3.) We Can Love   (Steve Cropper - Eddie Floyd) - 2:23

I always liked Delaney's voice and he seldom sounded as good as on the soul-drenched 'We Can Love'.  In fact, this may have been one of the best duets the pair every did, if only because they didn't try to power their ways through the tune.   Extra star for Steve Cropper's ever-tasteful guitar work.    rating: **** stars

4.) My Baby Specializes   (Isaac Hayes - David Porter) - 3:15

William Bell and the late Judy Clay had the original hit and it's hard to compete with their version of this Stax classic.   That said, it's hard to go wrong with a good Isaac Hayes-David Porter tune; especially one with such a great title and such a catchy melody.  Sassy.  Very sassy and her sexy, purring vocals made it easy to see why Bonnie was briefly one of the "it" girls.  Boys and girls, it's time to soul clap ...  rating: **** stars

5.) Everybody Loves a Winner   (William Bell - Booker T. Jones) - 4:43

Side one ended with the country-blues 'Everybody Loves a Winner'.   Not a bad performance, but kind of dull compared to the more up-tempo tunes on side one.   rating: *** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Things Get Better   (Steve Cropper - Eddie Floyd) - 2:22

'Things Get Better' was the one song that snuck up on me.  Originally just an also-ran rocker, there's something about the chorus that climbs into your head and won't leave.  A speeded up, more rock-ish version of the song appeared on their 1970 album "On Tour With Eric Clapton" album.  

2.) Just Plain Beautiful   (Bettye Crutcher - Steve Cropper) - 2:09

Perhaps my personal favorite, kicked along by some irresistible horns, 'Just Plain Beautiful' was just one of those "happy" tunes you couldn't sit still through.  Stax released the track as a UK 45.    rating: **** stars

3.) Hard To Say Goodbye   (Bonnie Bramlett - Carl Radle) - 2:30

The flute powered opening has always reminded me of an early Traffic tune.  Pretty, fragile ballad with some nice Spanish trumpet in the background. The tune was subsequently released as a single.  rating: *** stars

4.) Pour Your Love On Me   (Homer Banks - Bonnie Bramlett) - 2:47

One of the best examples of the pair's mash-up of rock and soul genres.   Add in great horns, Steve Cropper's distinctive guitar and Leon Russell's keyboards and  this was really, really good.   rating: **** stars

5.) Piece of My Heart   (Bert Berns - Jerry Ragavoy) - 4:45

Erma Franklin covered it earlier, but Delaney and Bonnie's came out nearly a year before Janis Joplin and the Trucking Company released their version.   Here's the funny thing.  Erma's version is still the best, but with backing from Booker T. and the MG's (check out Jones' organ solo and All Jackson's masterful drumming), their version was actually better than Janis and company.   Not only that, but Bonnie actually showed off some of her powerhouse voice without going all shreaky.   Great performance.  (Yes the credits misspelled  Bert Berns' name as B. Burns.)    rating: **** stars 

 

As mentioned, the album spun off two US singles: 

 

- 1968's 'It's Been a Long Time Coming' b/w 'We've Just Been Feeling Bad' (Stax catalog number STA-0003) 

- 1970's 'Hard to Say Goodbye' b/w Just Plain Beautiful' (Stax catalog number STA-0057) 

 

In the UK Stax elected to release a third single: 

 

- 1969's 'Just Plain Beautiful' b/w 'Hard to Say Goodbye'   (Stax catalog STAX 139)

 

Part of a tidal wave of 27 albums released almost simultaneously in an effort to make the Stax label a player in the LP market, the company didn't do a great deal to promote the album. 

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  On Tour with Eric Clapton

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-326

Year: 1970

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 1363

Price: $15.00

 

Released in 1970, "On Tour with Eric Clapton"  stands as Delaney and Bonnie's best known and most commercially successful album.   That said, in many ways the collection's history is almost as interesting as the music.  Having discovered the Bramletts while visiting Los Angeles, George Harrison reportedly taped one of their shows and brought the tape to the attention of Eric Clapton who was then looking for an opening act for Blind Faith's 1969 US tour.   

 

Selected as Blind Faith's opening act, Clapton became friendly with the Bramletts and their band, spending considerable time traveling with the pair on their tour bus.   After his Blind Faith commitments were completed, Clapton agreed to finance and participate in a two month Delaney and Bonnie US tour.  

 

Co-produced by Delaney and Jimmy Miller, the album found the Bramletts working their way through a mixture of soul, blues and folk tunes.  As a live album the collection captured at least some of their in-concert excitement, though, the tracks were supposedly subjected to extensive post-production polishing.  No idea if that was true, regardless, you could tell that the pair were quite talented. The focus was clearly on Bonnie who was gifted with a truly powerful voice.  Unfortunately, exemplified by songs like the second half of 'Things Get Better' and 'That's What My Man Is For' her tendency to over-sing and become shrieky has always irritated me.  Blessed with a gruff R&B-ish voice, to my ears Delaney was actually the better singer.  Many fans will point to their blues repertoire as being the creative zeniths.   I'll go against the flow and tell you they were at their best on the soul and rock numbers - a nice cover of Traffic' 'Only You Know and I Know' and the Bonnie-penned 'Comin' Home'.   The album was certainly helped by the all-star backing band which included Eric Clapton on lead guitar, drummer Jim Gordon, sax player Bobby Keyes, bassist Carl Radle, and Bobby Whitlock on keyboards.   George Harrison and Dave Mason also made cameo appearances. 

 

The album cover photo's always made me laugh.   The feet sticking out of the Rolls were supposedly Bob Dylan's, but in reality they belonged to Leon Russell.  Even funnier, while the cover and rear panel photos were taken in the US Southwest, the album was recorded at a series of December 1969 performances in the UK (including dates at Bristol, Birmingham, Sheffield, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Croydon's Fairfield Hall  - the MC mentions Croyden at the end of the album).  

 

"On Tour with Eric Clapton" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Things Get Better   (Eddie Floyd - Steve Cropper - Wayne Jackson) - 4:20

Yeah, the sound quality sucked, sounding like it was recorded in a men's shower.   That said, there was no denying the energy and enthusiasm the Bramletts brought to this Stax classic tune.   Until the ending vamps Bonnie even managed to refrain from her usual over-singing excesses.  As for Clapton, he made his presence known around the three minute mark.  rating: *** stars

2.) Poor Elijah - Tribute To Johnson (medley)   (Delaney Bramlett - Jim Ford / Delaney Bramlett - Leon Russell) - 5:00

Southern country-blues tune that was saved by Delaney's slinky vocals (wish Bonnie would have stayed in the background).  Lead guitars were courtesy of Clapton and L'Angelo Mysterioso (aka George Harrison).  YouTube has a clip of the group (sans Harrison) playing the tune for BBC television: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AatumCGNAM8   rating: **** stars

3.) Only You Know and I Know   (Dave Mason) - 4:10

Great song and Bonnie sang in tune and without her usual excesses.   Add some punchy horns and a great Clapton lead guitar and this was one of the album standouts.   rating: **** stars

4.) I Don't Want To Discuss It   (Beth Beatty - Dick Cooper - Ernie Shelby) - 4:55

I think The Robbs had the original hit.  Their version was quite poppy and some folks may find it better than the cover.  I'd argue Delaney and Bonnie's soul drenched version simply crushes the original   .   rating: *** stars

 

(side 2)

1.) That's What My Man Is For   (Bessie Griffin) - 4:30

'That's What My Man Is For' showcased Bonnie at her bluesiest.  I know lots of folks think this was the album's standout performance.  I'm not one of them.   Bonnie's 'give me some red light' intro is funny.   rating: ** stars

2.) Where There's a Will There's a Way   (Bonnie Bramlett - Bobby Whitlock) - 4:57

Back to their soul roots, which was a good thing as far as I was concerned.  Their voices weren't the best mix you've ever heard, but once again Bonnie kept the shrieking to a minimum.   rating: **** stars  

3.) Comin' Home   (Bonnie Bramlett - Eric Clapton) - 5:30

'Comin' Home was the album's most conventional rocker and probably my favorite performance. Opening up with some of Clapton's instantly recognizable slide guitar certainly didn't hurt the tune.   This one's actually always reminded me of a proto-type Derek and the Dominoes performance.  A polished studio version of the tune was subsequently released as a single, providing them with their lone top-100 US single:

- 1970's 'Coming Home' b/w 'Groupie (Superstar)' (ATCO catalog number 45-6725)    rating: **** stars

4.) Little Richard Medley - 5:45

     i.) Long Tall Sally   (Richard Penniman - R.A. Blackwell) - 

     ii.) Jenny Jenny   (Richard Penniman) - 

     iii.) The Girl Can't Help It   (R.W. Trout) - 

     iv.) Tutti Fuitti   (Richard Penniman) - 

It almost seems like there was a contractual clause that required every early-'70s album to include a '50s cover.   The Bramletts met the requirement with a perfunctory Little Richard medley.   I've never been able to figure out what the excitement was about.   rating: ** stars

 

Supported by strong reviews from the critics, the album hit # 29 on the US charts.   

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Genesis

Company: GNP Crescendo 

Catalog: GNPS 2054

Year: 1971

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: small cut out hole top right corner

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6193

Price: $12.00

 

 

Sadly I bought this album at a charity shop the day before Delaney Bramlett died.   Anyhow, with Delaney and Bonnie starting to attract significant publicity and record sales via their work for ATCO, it wasn't a big surprise to see record companies like GNP Crescendo quickly move to capitalize on that success by releasing a slew of quickie compilations built on demos and earlier material.  Such packages are usually pretty crappy, with little interest to anyone outside of hardcore fans.  The funny thing is that 1971's "Genesis" was one of those rare exceptions - certainly not on a par with the duos best studio sets, but worth hearing, especially if you can find a copy on the cheap.  Technically the set should not have been billed as a Delaney and Bonnie package since only three the dozen tracks were true duets - 'What the World Needs Now', 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling' and 'Can't Take Much Longer').  The remainder of the material reflected Delaney solo efforts.  Cobbled together from a hodgepodge of previously released singles and shelved studio material, the set including three tracks produced by Leon Russell, six produced by Jackie DeShannon (!) and four that weren't credited.  The mixture of popular pop and soul covers and a handful of originals wasn't prime Delaney and Bonnie, but it was never less than listenable and at four of the songs were as good as anything on their studio releases.  

 

"Genesis" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) What the World Needs Now   (Burt Bacharach - Hal David) - 2:45

While it won't make you forget the Jackie DeShannon original, this Delaney and Bonnie cover wasn't half bad.  Musically it didn't stray far from the original (yeah, it was similarly over-orchestrated), though Bonnie's vocal wasn't nearly as good as DeShannon's - when she tried to 'power' her way through the ending of the song things turned shrill.   rating: *** stars

2.) You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling   (Barry Mann - Cynthia Weil) - 3:00

The same comments applied to their cover of The Righteous Brothers 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling'.  Once again the arrangement stayed pretty true to the original; perhaps speeding it up a trace.  It was mildly interesting to hear it as a male-female performance, but again there wasn't anything particularly interesting with their remake and when Bonnie tried to turn up her vocal power the results turned irritatingly shrill.   rating: *** stars

3.) Heartbreak Hotel   (Axton - Durden - Elvis Presley) - 2:40

Sounding like an early Delaney solo track, other than a nice electric guitar solo (not sure what the effect was, but it recalled something off of the Derek and the Dominos album), his cover of the chestnut 'Heartbreak Hotel' really didn't have much going for it.   rating: ** stars

4.) Tomorrow Never Comes   (H. Hall - Lelig Howard) - 2:10

'Tomorrow Never Comes' found Delaney turning in one of his best Roy Orbison impression.   Judging by the sound (and the absence of Bonnie), this must have been another early Delaney demo.  Hardly essential.   rating: ** stars

5.) I Can't Take Much Longer    (Delaney Bramlett - Steve Cropper) - 2:35

Produced by DeShannon, 'I Can't Take Much Longer' was co-written by Bramlett and guitarist Steve Cropper.  A wonderful, mid-1960s blue-eyed soul mid-tempo shouter, the result was one of the album's standout performances.  I've been told this featured Delaney and Bonnie on lead vocals, but to my ears the female vocal sure sounded a lot like DeShannon.  Regardless, it's the best of the three songs credited to the couple.   rating: **** stars   

6.) I've Got a Woman   (Ray Charles) - 2:50

Another Delaney solo efforts, 'I've Got a Woman' sounded like Roy Orbison trying to do a Ray Charles impression.   Surprisingly funky ...    rating: ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Lonely Me   (E. Ballantine - S. Flick - A. Trace) - 2:20

'Lonely Me' opened side two with a Jerry Lee Lewis-styled rocker.  Certainly not the album's most original offering, but it exhibited considerable energy and a pair of killer guitar solos.  Would love to know who turned them in ...   rating: *** stars

2.) Without Your Love   (Delaney Bramlett - Tim Hardin) - 1:40

Opening with some Byrds-styled jangle rock guitar, 'Without Your Love' was a pretty folk-rock number.  The song was co-written by Bramlett and Tim Hardin and I've always wondered if Hardin shared the lead vocal.  A beautiful, laidback number that was quite commercial.   rating: **** stars

3.) Better Man Than Me    (Delaney Bramlett - Cooper) - 2:15

'Better Man Than Me' continued in the jangle guitar, folk-rock mode, but added a touch of country-rock to the mix.  This one's always reminded me of a Michael Nesmith composition for The Monkees.   Great song and one of the album standout performances.   rating: **** stars

4.) Liverpool Lou   (Dominic Behan) - 2:40

Another DeShannon production, 'Liverpool Lou' found Delaney showcasing some chameleon like skills, this time aptly nailing the early-1960s Merseybeat sound - imagine a Gerry and the Pacemakers track a-la 'Ferry 'Cross the Mersey and you'd know what to expect on this one.   rating: *** stars

5.) You Never Looked Sweeter   (Clyde Pitts) - 2:30

'You Never Looked Sweeter' was a straight ahead Roy Orbison imitation.  Admittedly it was a good copy, but why would you buy a Delaney and Bonnie album to hear Orbison ?      rating: ** stars

6.) You Have No Choice   (Jackie DeShannon) - 2:00

Penned and produced by DeShannon, 'You Have No Choice' was a decent mid-1960s pop song.  Truth be told, it lacked an instantly mesmerizing hook, but was still a fun performance.      rating: *** stars

 

As mentioned above, several of these tracks had previously been released as singles:

 

  Delaney Bramlett 45s:

- 1964's 'Heartbreak Hotel' b/w 'You Never Looked Sweeter' (GNP Crescendo catalog number GNP 326)

- 1964's 'You Have No Choice' b/w 'Liverpool Lou' (GNP Crescendo catalog number GNP 339)

- 1964's 'Better Than By Me' b/w 'Without Your Love' (GNP Crescendo catalog number GNP 363)

 

  Delaney and Bonnie 45s

- 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling' b/w 'Don't Let It' (Independence catalog number IND 78)

 

An inconsistent, but surprisingly enjoyable retrospective ...

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  To Bonnie from Delaney

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-341

Year: 1970

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 3

Catalog ID: 1363

Price: $12.00

 

Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett had generated considerable media buzz with their 1970 Atlantic/ATCO debut "On Tour With Eric Clapton".  When it came time for the duo to record their studio follow-on, the label trotted out their "A" team production talent in the form of Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd (Delaney Bramlett also credited as co-producer). Released later in the year, "To Bonnie from Delaney" found the pair backed by a stunning group of friends (by my count 25 musicians were listed in the liner notes).  Musically the album found the Bramletts continuing to mine the country-blues/soul/gospel moves found on earlier releases.  At the same time, featuring a mixture of originals and covers, the set was clearly intended to broaden the pair's audience. That said, I'll be honest and tell you the hardcore blues and country stuff did nothing for me.  It may have been the early-'70s "in-sound" and  I didn't doubt their commitment to the genre (remember a couple of years later Bonnie punched Elvis Costello in the face when he made disparaging remarks about American blues musicians), but tracks like their blues medley, 'The Love of My Man', and 'Let Me Be Your Man' just sounded warmed over to me.  Why would I want to hear a cover of  Robert Johnson's 'Come On In My Kitchen' when I could hear the original ?   Similarly, their cover of 'Soul Shake' was okay, but didn't come close to the Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson original.  Those criticisms aside, the album had quite a bit going for it. even though she was prone to over-singing, there was no denying Bonnie had a great voice.  Delaney wasn't bad either.  Add to that, Delaney had a good ear for crafting catchy rock hooks and that talent was well displayed on tunes like 'They Call It Rock and Roll Music', 'Alone Together' and 'Living On the Open Road'.   I'm even partial to a couple of the non-rock tunes - 'God Only Knows I Love You' was a sweet country-soul tinged ballad, while their cover of Barbara Keith's 'Free the People' was one of the goofiest, but most charming singles ever released.   Was it the perfect LP ?   Nah.  Was it their best album ?  Nah.  Still, it's a good place for the curious and casual fans to start,

 

"To Bonnie from Delaney" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Hard Luck and Trouble   (Delaney Bramlett) - 2:35

Nice country-soul number that showcased Delaney's sweet voice.  Nice way to start the album off.  rating: *** stars

2.) God Only Knows I Love You   (Delaney Bramlett - Mac Davis) - 2:46

Sweet acoustic country ballad, but t was a sweet country ballad for people who didn't like sweet country ballads.   Ah, the old days.   rating: **** stars

3.) Lay Down My Burden   (Steve Bogard - Michael Utley) - 3:35

'Lay Down My Burden' found Bonnie stepping into the spotlight with a surprisingly retrained take on this Gospel-flavored number.  Not a big fan of the genre, but I could still enjoy her performance.   rating: *** stars

4.) Medley - 4:00

     i.) Come On In My Kitchen   (Robert Johnson)

     ii.) Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean   (Herbert Lance - Charles Singleton - John Wallace) - 

     iii.) Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad   (traditional arranged by Delaney Bramlett) 

'Medley' was a good example of their commitment to the country-blues genre.  Not to hard to picture these guys on a front porch playing these tunes on a Saturday evening. Bonnie's performance on 'Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean' was the best of the three segments, though Gregg Allman stole 'Goin' Down the Road Feelin' bad' with his dobro work.   rating: *** stars

5.) The Love of My Man   (Ed Townsend) - 4:28

Authentic sounding bluesy ballad with Bonnie on lead.  Nice support from the Memphis Horns, but the song just didn't have a great deal to distinguish it from the rest of the album.   rating: ** stars

6.) They Call It Rock and Roll Music   (Delaney Bramlett) - 3:33

Ah, Delaney's recipe for writing a rock and roll tune ...  Yeah it was a bit campy but with King Curtis on sax, it was also the funkiest and most enjoyable track on the album.   Delaney's King Curtis call out was priceless.   rating: **** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Soul Shake   (Margaret Lewis - Myrna Smith) - 3:10

'Soul Shake' was the album's most overtly soul and commercially oriented tune, and while their performance was enthusiastic, it couldn't come close to the original Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson version.   rating: *** stars

2.) Miss Ann   (Richard Penniman - Enotris Johnson) - 5:01

Delaney's frenzied performance on 'Miss Ann' was easily the album's best cover tune (and in the running for overall best performance).  Of course having Little Richard in the studio providing equally frenzied keyboards may have served to give Delaney a little more incentive to tear this one up.   rating: **** stars

3.) Alone Together   (Delaney Bramlett - Bonnie Bramlett - Bobby Whitlock) - 3:13

With the pair sharing lead vocals, 'Alone Together' was a breezy, blues-rocker powered by some nice fuzz guitar.   rating: **** stars

4.) Living On the Open Road   (Delaney Bramlett) - 3:02

The album's best melody and the best rocker ... worth hearing just form the scorching slide guitar (Duane Allman ?).  This is the tune I would have tapped as the single.    rating: **** stars

5.) Let Me Be Your Man   (George Soule - Terry Woodford) - 3:20

I'm a big George Soule fan, but Delaney's cover of 'Let Me be Your Man' sounded force, shrill, and over-the-top.   rating: ** stars

6.) Free the People   (Barbara Keith) - 2:47

How could you not like their cover of Barbara Keith's 'Free the People' ?    Complete with lead tuba and choral backing, it was goofy, charming, and a winner.  Kudos to ATCO for tapping it as a single:

 

- 1970's 'Free the People' b/w 'Soul Shake' (ATCO catalog number 45-6756)    rating: **** stars

 

 

The album provided the duo with one of their biggest commercial successes, peaking at # 58 on the US charts.

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Motel Shot

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 33-358

Year: 1971

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve; includes original lyric insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4635

Price: $10.00

 

 

To be perfectly honest, 1971's "Motel Shot" won't appeal to everyone.  A curious selection of traditional country, folk, and Gospel numbers and a couple old-school sounding original tunes, the album seemingly served as kind of a Delaney and Bonnie favorites collection.  Produced by Delaney, the twelve tracks were apparently recorded quickly, with little or no post-production work.  Bonnie later claimed the entire album was recorded in a single four hour session at engineer Bruce Botnick's L.A. home.  That meant some of the songs were pretty rough with Bonnie even rawer than normal, but that spontaneity also made tracks like 'Rock of Ages' and 'Come On In My Kitchen' all the more attractive to some folks.  The traditional tracks were certainly okay, but I'd go with the slightly more modern sounding Delaney originals like the glistening 'Sing My Way Home' and the closer 'Lonesome and a Long Way from Home'. Curiously, those two songs sounded like the might have had a bit of post-production work done to them.  The album certainly wasn't hurt  by having one of the year's most impressive cast of friends and admirers, including the likes of Duane Allman, an un-credited Joe Cocker (check out 'Talkin' About Jesus'), Gram Parsons, Leon Russell, and Bobby Whitlock.   I know folks who simply adore this album, but I'll readily admit I'm not one of them.

"Motel Shot" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Where the Soul Never Dies (traditional) - 3:25

Clearly a live, in-the-studio performance, if you listen closely, in additional to Delaney and Bonnie you can hear Joe Cocker, Rita Coolidge and Leon Russell howling along on this old Gospel tune.   Surprisingly funky, though it won't be something everyone appreciates.   rating: *** stars

2.) Will the Circle Be Unbroken (traditional) - 2:42

Another live tune with Bonnie up front and center.   With Leon Russell pounding away on piano, Bonnie deserved kudos for showing her vocal power without the typical shrieking.   Nice performance, though it got a little crazy when everyone started trying to out-shout one another.   rating: *** stars

3.) Rock of Ages (traditional) - 2:15

Simply way too authentic for my tastes.  You could hear Leon Russell's distinctive whine on this one.  rating: ** stars

4.) Long Road Away   (Delaney Bramlett - Carl Radle) - 3:25

Pretty acoustic ballad with Delaney handling lead vocals and Bonnie wailing on background vocals.   rating: *** stars

5.) Faded Love   (J. Willis - B. Willis) - 4:03

Stark and surprisingly impressive performance.  Delaney actually sounds better in a stripped down arrangement like this one.   Sounds like it was done in a single take.   rating: **** stars

6.) Talkin' About Jesus   (Delaney Bramlett) - 6:40

Musically 'Talkin' About Jesus' sounded more like a frenzied Pentecostal jam session than a rock and roll tune.   I guess there was a certain charm to the tune, even if the lyric was basically the title repeated over and over.   Hearing Joe Cocker go spastic in the background was bound to make you smile.   rating: *** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Come On In My Kitchen   (Payne) - 2:43

As far as my ears go, this has always been the album's biggest surprise.  An old-fashioned slice of country-blues, the combination of Delaney's slinky vocals, Russell's keyboards, and Gregg Allman acoustic slide guitar made this one a treat.   rating: **** stars

2.) Don't Deceive Me (Please Don't Go)   (Willis) - 3:53

Very country-bluesy number than featured Bonnie on lead vocals.   The tune was a nice example of how good she could sound when she didn't try to over-singer and power her way through a song.  rating: *** stars

3.) Never Ending Song of Love   (Delaney Bramlett) - 3:20

A drunken polka tune ?  That's what it always sounded like to me, but it was kind of bouncy and fun.  Add to that, ATCO actually enjoyed a hit when the company tapped the album for a single:

 

1971's 'Never Ending Song of Love' b/w 'Don't Deceive Me' (ATCO catalog number 45-6804)

4.) Sing My Way Home   (Delaney Bramlett) - 4:07

Showcasing Allman's distinctive guitar, 'Sing My Way Home' was the album's most commercial performance and would have been a better single than 'never Ending Song of Love'.  Always loved the weird bird sounds and the sweet harmonies.  Imagine this one with a full rock arrangement.    rating: **** stars

5.) Going Down the Road Feeling Bad (traditional) - 5:10

Another in the living room jam session with Allman on dobro, Russell on piano and backing vocals ...  always liked the mid-song instrumental break.   rating: *** stars

6.) Lonesome and a Long Way from Home   (Delaney Bramlett - Leon Russell) - 4:00

As mentioned, the breezy 'Lonesome and a Long Way from Home' was one of the tunes that sounded too good to have been recorded live.   Maybe I'm wrong, but showcasing Carl Radle's burping bass line and some seriously nice harmony vocals, this was just too good to be a one take recording.  rating: **** stars

 

Powered by the single (their biggest commercial success), the parent album eventually hit # 65 on the US charts.   

 

 


 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  D&B Together

Company: Columbia

Catalog: KC 31377

Year: 1972

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4958

Price: $9.00

 

 

Having ended their extended association with Atlantic, 1972's "D&B Together" found Delaney and Bonnie signed to Columbia.  Critics tended to be pretty mean spirited when reviewing their label debut, but at least to my ears it's actually a nice late-inning commercial recovery.  Perhaps because they were trying to underscore their sales potential the pair sound surprisingly enthusiastic and focused throughout.  An all star cast of friends and supporters including Duane Allman, Eddie Kendricks and Bobby Womack certainly didn't hurt.  Also helpful was the fact Bonnie's histrionics were largely kept in check.  With the exception of the Gospel-ish number 'Wade In the River Jordan', 'Big Change Comin'' and '' (I'm always amazed to remember that she co-wrote the song with Leon Russell) she was seldom given a chance to shift into vocal overdrive.  That put the focus on Delaney who actually had the better voice and turned in a number of top notch performances.  Exemplifying the best aspects of their soul/rock hybrid, highlights included 'Well, Well', 'Comin' Home' (the latter featuring a blazing performance from Greg Allman) and 'A Good Thing (I'm On Fire)'.  From a marketing standpoint the set was also interesting in that it included a pair of singles that had been earlier hits while the pair were still on ATCO:

 

- ''Only You Know and I Know b/w 'God Knows I Love You' (ATCO catalog number 45-6838)

- 'Move 'em Out' b/w 'Sing My Way Home' (ATCO catalog number 45-6866)

 

Propelled in large part by the success of those earlier singles the parent album eventually hit # 133.  Ironically in the wake of their renewed success it all came to an end.  Shortly after the album was released the two filed for divorce going on to modest solo careers.

 

"D&B Together" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Only You Know and I Know   (Dave Mason) - 3:24

2.) Wade In the River Jordan   (Delaney Bramlett) - 2:06

3.) Sound of the City   (Delaney Bramlett - Joe Hicks) - 2:37

4.) Well, Well   (Delaney Bramlett) - 2:40

5.) I Know How It Feels To Be Lonely   (Bonnie Bramlett - L. Weir) - 3:47

6.) Comin' Home   (Bonnie Bramlett - Eric Clapton) - 3:13

 

(side 2)
1.) Move 'em Out   (Steve Cropper - Bettye Crutcher) - 2:47

2.) Big Change Comin'   (Delaney Bramlett) - 3:19

3.) A Good Thing (I'm On Fire)   (Delaney Bramlett - Gordon De Witty) - 2:14

4.) Groupie (Superstar)   (Bonnie Bramlett - Leon Russell) - 2:48

5.) I Know Something Good About You   (Delaney Bramlett - Joe Hicks) - 4:10

6.) Country Life   (Delaney Bramlett - Bobby Whitlock) - 3:38

 

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Best of Delaney & Bonnie

Company: ATCO

Catalog: SD 7014

Year: 1972

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 

Price: $10.00

 

Reportedly unhappy with Delaney and Bonnie's planned sixth album (tentatively entitled "Country Life") and concerned about the pair's deteriorating personal lives (they'd get divorced in another year), in 1972 longtime label ATCO signed the pair's contract over to Columbia.  Unfortunately the new label seemingly had no real idea what to do with the duo.  As a result, Delaney and Bonnie were quickly commercially has-beens.   In the meantime, interested in squeezing out whatever profit remained from their rapidly diminishing fan base, ATCO released a quicky "best of" set - the cleverly-titled "The Best of Delaney and Bonnie".   Housed in one of the ugliest covers you'll ever see, the compilation pulled together 11 tracks spanning their 1969-71 Elektra and ATCO catalogs.  Far from exhaustive, the set still managed to pull together an interesting mixture of singles and album tracks (including several live efforts).  As is the case for most compilations, fans would likely have made some adjustments to the track listing.  In my case I would have gone with a heavier selection of singles - where were 'Hard To Say Goodbye', 'Miss Ann', 'Groupie', 'Move 'em Out', and  'They Call It Rock and Roll' ?  Still, ya' got to start somewhere and anyone curious about the group would find this worth exploring..

 

"The Best of Delaney & Bonnie" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) When the Battle Is Over   (Mac Rebbenack - Jessie Hill) - 3:36

A 1969 single pulled from 1969's "Accept No Substitute: The Original Delaney and Bonnie", their cover of Mac Rebbenack's 'When the Battle Is Over' offered up a great example of how good their Gospel-Southern blues hybrid could be.  The song was strong enough to even allow you to overlook Bonnie's chronic over-singing.   YouTube has an interesting promo clip of the couple performing the song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTUtvx7Ubc0   rating: **** stars

2.) Dirty Old Man    (Delaney Bramlett - Mac Davis) - 2:32

Another track from the "Accept No Substitute" album, 'Dirty Old Man' showcased Bonnie's voice on one of their more straightforward soul numbers.  Imagine Dusty Springfield with a Southern background and you'd get a feel for this one.  rating: *** stars

3.) Only You Know and I Know   (Dave Mason) - 4:10

At least to my ears their rollicking live cover of Dave Mason's 'Only You Know and I Know' was one of the best tracks off 1970's "Delaney & Bonnie & Friends: On Tour with Eric Clapton".  It's probably worth the price of admission just to hear Clapton enjoying his role as unassuming sideman.  (For hardcore fans, a studio version was released as a single (# 20 pop).   rating: **** stars

4.) We've Got To Get Ourselves Together   (Delaney Bramlett - Carl Radle) - 2:33

Maybe due to the fact it sounded like it had been recalled in a shower stall and the vocals were amazingly shrill (particularly Bonnie), I've never been a major fan of 'We've Got Ourselves Together'.  (Another track off of 1969's the "Accept No Substitute")   rating: ** stars

5.) Where There's a Will, There's a Way   (Bonnie Bramlelt - Bobby Whitlock) - 4:57

Co-written by Bonnie and guitarist Bobby Whitlock, 'Where There's a Will, There's a Way' was also off the live album.   Musically it was a nice up-tempo rocker that would have been even better had Bonnie exhibited a bit of restraint during her performance.  YouTube has a couple of live clips of the song, including this one from a 1970 Dutch performance with backing from Eric Clapton and George Harrison:.   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1qcs_BFpiM     rating: *** stars

6.) Never Ending Love Song   (Delaney Bramlett) - 3:20

A single pulled from 1971's "Motel Shot" (it hit # 13 pop), it may be one of their best known songs, but I have to admit I've always disliked 'Never Ending Love Song'.  And what in the world was going on in the background ?   rating: ** stars

 

(side 2)
1.) Comin' Home   (Bonnie Bramlett - Eric Clapton) - 5:30

An earlier single lifted from the "On Tour" collection, 'Comin' Home' captured the extended "and Friends" group at their very best.  I it's probably the album's best rocker and standout performance (is that Clapton's voice I hear?).  YouTube has a nice live clip of the group doing the song (Clapton and Harrison providing support):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aazChqk4U-c   rating: **** stars

2.) The Love of My Man   (Ed Townsend) - 4:28

Off of 1970's "To Bonnie From Delaney", the live 'The Love of My Man' was a rollicking blues number than showcased Bonnie's voice - which you either found amazing, or screechy and cloying (I'm in the latter category).  The real highlight was  actually Duane Allman's sizzling guitar.   Extra star for the guitar.  rating: *** stars

3.) Soul Shake   (Myrna Smith - Margaret Lewis) - 3:10

Released as a single off the "To Bonnie From Delaney" LP (it hit # 43 on the pop charts), their cover of 'Soul Shake' was energetic and engaging (check out Carl Radle's killer bass), but won't make you forget the Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson original.   The track was also worth hearing as one of the isolated tracks where Bonnie managed to keep herself from getting screechy.   Nice.  rating: **** stars

4.) Medley

Another performance off "To Bonnie From Delaney" ...

     a.) Come On In My Kitchen   (Payne) - 

A stark, live acoustic blues number, 'Come On In My Kitchen' was highlighted by "brother" Duane Allman's slide guitar.   rating: *** stars

     b.) Momma He Treats Your Daughter Mean   (John Wallace - Herbert Lance - Charles Singleton) 

More acoustic blues, but Bonnie finally recognized she didn't have to power her way through every song she touched.  rating: *** stars

     c.) Going Down the Road Feeling Bad   (traditional arranged by Delaney Bramlett) - 

Even if you weren't a big fan of the genre, in all fairness after hearing 'Going Down the Road Feeling Bad' you had to admit Delaney and Bonnie were authentic when it came to their love of Gospel-tinged blues.   rating: *** stars

5.) Free the People  (Barbara Keith) - 2:33

Also released off "To Bonnie From Delaney" 'Free the People' was one of their more interesting performances - imagine a cross between a Salvation Army brass band and  John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band singing one of their "protest" tunes had they been raised in rural Mississippi (I know Delaney was born in California).   Strange and fascinating at the same time.   rating: **** stars

 


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