Band members Related acts
- Bobby Whitlock -- vocals, keyboards, guitar
- Derek and the Dominoes
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Bobby Whitlock
Country/State: Memphis, Tennessee
Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+
Comments: gatefold sleeve
GEMM catalog ID: 5506
One of rock's forgotten warriors ... I've been a big Bobby Whitlock fan since I discovered Delaney & Bonnie in my teens. He's a tremendously gifted singer, keyboardist (and guitar player) who deserves a much wider following.
Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee Whitlock holds the distinction as the first white artist to be signed by Stax Records (actually the company's HIP subsidiary - and you thought it was Steve Cropper). Like Cropper whom became Whitlock's friend and mentor, Whitlock contributed keyboards and guitar to dozens of mid-1960s Stax sessions.
Whitlock's big break came in late 1968 when Delaney Bramlett spotted him playing at a Memphis club and asked him to join Delaney & Bonnie's touring band as their keyboard player. Relocating to Los Angeles, Delaney & Bonnie were tapped as the opening act for Blind Faith's 1969 American tour. That led to a friendship with Eric Clapton who briefly joined Delaney and Bonnie's touring band. Unfortunately the band subsequently broke up with most of the members signing up to support Joe Cocker on his Mad Dogs & Englishmen tour. Whitlock took a different route, heading to England (Steve Cropper paid for the ticket) where he renewed his friendship with Clapton. With Blind Faith having called in quits Clapton recorded a solo effort (1970's "Eric Clapton") with Whitlock playing on it. He also started writing with Clapton and was given an integral slot in Derek and the Dominoes. Most folks don't realize how much Whitlock contributed to "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs" - check out the songwriting credits which include the likes of 'I Looked Away', 'Keep on Growing', 'Anyday', 'Tell the Truth', 'Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad', and 'Thorn Tree in the Garden' !!!
Publicity from Derek and the Dominoes and other high profile gigs, including playing on George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" caught the attention of ABC's Dunhill subsidiary which signed him to a recording contract in 1972.
Co-produced by Whitlock and Andy Johns, 1972's cleverly-titled "Bobby Whitlock" went a long way to underscoring the musical influence Whitlock had been on Delaney & Bonnie and Clapton's early-1970s work. Showcasing ten Whitlock originals (two co-written by Bonnie Bramlett), tracks like the rocking opener 'Where There's a Will There's a Way',' A Game Called Life' and 'A Day without Jesus' were a perfect canvas for his soul and gospel drenched vocals. Anyone who thought Delaney Bramlett epitomized blue-eyed soul and gospel was flat out wrong. Not that Delaney wasn't talented, but without a doubt Whitlock was the real thing !!! Personal favorites - the bruising rocker 'Back In My Life Again' and the ballad 'The Scenery Has Slowly Changed' (which sounded like a Derek and the Dominoes outtake). Sure the set wasn't perfect. 'Country Life' and 'I'd Rather Live the Straight Life' were straightforward country numbers that didn't do anything for me. Elsewhere, while I'm a fan, Whitlock's gospel-infused voice may have been an acquired taste for others. Still, well worth tracking down, particularly if you were a fan of that particular genre. Dunhill tapped the LP for a single in the form of:
- 1972's 'Song for Paula' b/w 'Where There's a Will There's a Way' (Dunhill catalog number D-4312)
Whitlock" track listing:
1.) Where There's a Will There's a Way (Bobby Whitlock - Bonnie Bramlett) -
2.) Song for Paula (Bobby Whitlock) -
3.) A Game Called Life (Bobby Whitlock) -
4.) Country Life (Bobby Whitlock) -
5.) A Day with Jesus (Bobby Whitlock) -
2.) The Scenery Has Slowly Changed (Bobby Whitlock) -
3.) I'd Rather Live the Straight Life (Bobby Whitlock - Bonnie Bramlett) -
4.) The Dreams of a Hero (Bobby Whitlock) -
5.) Back Home In England (Bobby Whitlock) -
For anyone interested, Whitlock has a small website at :
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