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Delaney & Bonnie & Friends: Six Degrees of Swampland

Delaney Bramlett (b. 1 July 1939, Pontotoc County, Mississippi, USA) learned the guitar in his youth, and migrated to Los Angeles in 1959. He became a session musician; his most notable early work was as a member of the Shindogs, the house band for the ABC-TV series Shindig! (1964-66), which also featured guitarist/keyboardist Leon Russell. Bonnie Bramlett (born Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell, 8 November 1944, Alton, Illinois, USA) was an accomplished singer at an early age, performing with blues guitarist Albert King at age 14 and in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue at 15 - the first-ever white Ikette "for three days in a black wig and Man Tan skin darkener." She moved to Los Angeles in 1967, and met and married Delaney later that year. Through their work in the Shindogs, Delaney and Leon Russell had many connections in the music business, and were able to quickly form a band of solid, if transient, musicians around Delaney and Bonnie. The band became known as "Delaney & Bonnie and Friends" due to its regular changes of personnel. They secured a recording contract with Stax Records, and released their first album, Home, on Stax in early 1969. The album was not successful - perhaps due to poor promotion, as it was one of 27 albums simultaneously released by Stax in that label's attempt to establish itself in the album market. Delaney and Bonnie moved to Elektra Records for their second album, Accept No Substitute (1969). While not a big seller either, Accept No Substitute created a buzz in music industry circles when, upon hearing pre-release mixes of the album, George Harrison offered Delaney and Bonnie a contract with the Beatles' Apple Records label - which Delaney and Bonnie signed despite their prior contractual commitment to Elektra. Although the Apple contract was subsequently voided, this incident began a falling-out between Delaney and Elektra, culminating in the band's release from their Elektra contract in late 1969.

On the strength of Accept No Substitute, and at his friend Harrison's suggestion,[6] Eric Clapton took Delaney & Bonnie and Friends on the road in mid-1969 as the opening act for his band Blind Faith. Clapton became fast friends with Delaney, Bonnie and their band, preferring their music to Blind Faith's; he would often appear on stage with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends during this period, and continued to record and tour with them following Blind Faith's August 1969 breakup. Clapton helped broker a new record deal for Delaney and Bonnie with his then-US label, Atco (Atlantic) Records, and appears (with Harrison, Dave Mason, and others) on Delaney and Bonnie's third album, the live On Tour with Eric Clapton (Atco; recorded in the UK 7 December 1969, released June 1970). This album would be the most successful of Delaney and Bonnie's career, reaching #29 on the Billboard album charts. Clapton also recruited Delaney and Bonnie and their band to back him on his debut solo album, recorded in late 1969/early 1970 and produced by Delaney.

Delaney and Bonnie continued to make well-regarded, if modestly-selling, albums over the rest of their career. Their next two Atco albums, To Bonnie from Delaney (1970) and the largely-acoustic Motel Shot (1971) charted, and "Never Ending Song of Love," a single taken from Motel Shot, was Billboard's #67 single of 1971. The band also made a cameo appearance in Richard C. Sarafian's film Vanishing Point (1971), and performed a live radio broadcast for New York's WABC-FM (now WPLJ), backed by Duane Allman, Gregg Allman and (in one of his last performances) King Curtis, in July 1971. (The latter, while never officially released on album as Elton John's 11-17-70 show from the same concert series was, has been heavily bootlegged over the years and remains readily available.) By late 1971, however, Delaney and Bonnie's often-tempestuous relationship began to show signs of strain. Their next album was rejected by Atco on grounds of poor quality, with Atco/Atlantic electing to sell Delaney and Bonnie's recording contract - including this album's master tapes - to CBS as a result. Columbia/CBS released this album, in a different track sequence from that submitted to Atco, as D&B Together in March 1972. It would be Delaney and Bonnie's last album of new material, as the couple divorced in 1973.

Delaney and Bonnie continued to work in the music business - and, in Bonnie's case, in Hollywood as an actress - after their breakup.  (Wikipedia)

At A&R Studios with Duane Allman

"Once you meet Delaney it’s like you have known him all your life. We hit it off extremely well and we talked on the phone and I had him on my radio show and got to know him even more and worked with him in the studio .... He is like a mentor. God gave him a great gift of teaching people and encouraging people. He is a great guitarist and God gave him a gift. You may not think you are real good, and he will find something in you and he will bring it out of you. He is one of the most comfortable producers I have been around. To watch him work the board is amazing. He learned from Tom Dowd and Jerry Wexler. I have never seen a guy work like that on the board. It is almost like he is playing it, and he works those faders - it’s amazing. " -Greg Martin; Kentucky Headhunters

"Oh, I love Bonnie. That's the singing-est son of a bitch. (Laughing) She taught me how to sing. I'd be a great singer if I had a voice, you know? (Laughs) 'Cause I can really sing, I just don't have a voice! But what little I have I got from her. She told me, "You can't try to control it. You just got to open up and let it go!" - Dickey Betts


Delaney Bramlett Dead at 69  December 2008

•  Delaney Bramlett: The Death of a Southern Legend  December 2008

Bonnie Bramlett Interview    July 2008

Delaney Bramlett Interview Part One  April 2008

Delaney Bramlett Interview Part Two  April 2008

Why I Love Bonnie Bramlett  April 2008

• Mamo Bramlett Has Passed Away March 2008

A New Kind of Blues (Review) February 2008

Beautiful (Review) February 2008

Home, Delaney & Bonnie Reissue  February 2007

Lady's Choice Review  February 2007

Roots, Blues and Jazz Review  February 2007

Bonnie & Capricorn Rhythm Section Concert Review February 2997

Delaney Bramlett Interview     September, 2000

Bonnie Bramlett Interview   June 2000



Elvin Bishop Interview  September 2008

Randall Bramblett Interview  April 2008

Source Point/I'm Satisfied, John Hammond Reissue  January 2008

Clapton: The Autobiography  December 2007

Deuces  Charlie Daniels CD Review October 2007

Jamie Oldaker Mad Dogs CD Review January 2007

Jerry Lee Lewis, Last Man Standing  January 2007

John Hammond Interview  January 2007

Capricorn Rhythm Section  January 2007

Buddy Miles  June 2006

Delbert McClinton Interview November 2005

Road Trip To The Angelus  December 2004

Tony Joe White Interview  October 2004

Johnny Sandlin Interview March 2004

Greg Martin Interview   July 2003

Dickey Betts Interview  June 2002

Leon Russell Interview  November 2001

Dru Lombar Interview  June 2001

Bobby Whitlock Interview   December 2000

Dickey Betts Interview  November 2000

Gregg Allman Interview  May 1999

Jimmy Hall Interview June 1998

Capricorn Records

Legends: The Charlie Daniels Band 

Legends: The Marshall Tucker Band

Legends: The Allman Brothers Band



2008 Georgia Music Hall of Fame Inductions  September 2008

Deep Cuts  Tony Joe White Review  2008

Staple Singers CD Review  2008

Reflections On Gram Parsons  September 2006


Delaney & Bonnie in 1970 with the future Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlook) plus George Harrison and Rita cooliodge playing "Poor Elijah"

"When This Battle is Over" Music Video 1970


D&B with Clapton, Whitlock and Dave Mason, TV 1969.

"Midnight Special" Dickey Betts & Great Southern with Bonnie Bramlett, Charlie Daniels, Elvin Bishop. Aired on the Midnight Special, May 12, 1978.
Great Southern: Dan Toler-guitar, Dave Goldflies-bass, Doni Sharbono-drums, Frankie Toler-drums, Mike Workman-Hammond organ.





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