Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Morning Vault: Delaney & Bonnie--Only You Know and I Know (1970)

     Delaney and Bonnie were not around a long time, but they made quite a splash as the predominant white soul duo of not only the late 60's/early 70's, but of all time.
      Delaney Bramlett was born in Mississippi and moved to California to try to make it as a guitar player. His break came as a member of the house band, "The Shindogs" for the ABC music series, "Shindig" from 1964-66. It's was through this band that he met and befriended Leon Russell, who would figured in his career.
     Bonnie O'Farrell was born in Alton Illinois and migrated to LA where she met Delaney at a bowling alley where The Shindogs were playing. Within a week they were married and decided to record together. They became the first white artists signed to Stax records to a one album contract.
     That album, "Home" and it's follow up "Accept No Substitute" on Elektra, didn't make much of a splash on the charts, but the talent of the duo spread among the major artists around the world who clamored to work with them. George Harrison, who learned to play slide guitar from Bramlett in turn introduced him to Eric Clapton who invited the couple to open for his group, Blind Faith in 1969.
    Clapton, who was still searching for the group setting that he could feel comfortable with, felt so much at home with the couple, the he would come on stage with them and play during the opening set. Eric would later say that Delaney taught him everything he knew about singing. That might be overstating a bit, but there is no doubt that his music took on a more soulful turn after his association with the Bramlett's.
     They went on tour as Delaney, Bonnie and Friends in 1970 which contained Eric Clapton and a rotating group of friends who love the couple and the music that they were making. George Harrison, Bobby Whitlock, Dave Mason (who wrote, 'Only You Know and I Know'), Leon Russell, Duane & Gregg Allman, Rita Coolidge, and King Curtis all would be found jamming on any given night.
     The tour was documented on the album, "On Tour with Eric Clapton" which did what none of the studio albums could, to capture at least in part the magic of Delaney & Bonnie.



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