|Delaney and Bonnie
are best remembered in the U.S., as the
opening act on the infamous Blind Faith US tour, which consisted of 24 concerts over a span
of 7 weeks (July 12, - August 24, 1969).
Delaney Bramlett had moved to Los Angeles from his birthplace in Mississippi on
the advice of his aspiring musician buddies, J.J. Cale and Leon Russell. He soon landed a
gig as guitarist with the "Shindogs", the house band on the famed ABC TV music
show "Shindig". While the band was playing a show at a LA bowling alley he met
Bonnie (maiden name O'Farrell) a young gospel/blues singer from St. Louis who was causing
quite a sensation as the first white girl to become one of Ike & Tina Turner's
Ikettes. Ike & Tina were an hard working up and coming LA group
who were on the brink of breaking out. Legend has it that they married within a week and
Delaney & Bonnie was born.
Their reputation within the LA music scene spread quickly and they soon landed
a record deal with Electra when their debut on Stax went nowhere. Their superb backing
band, made up of the finest LA studio aces, Bobby Whitlock on keyboards, bassist Carl
Radle, and drummer Jim Keltner, stayed with them after the album was completed and they
were asked to join the Blind Faith tour. Their unique blend of soul, country, blues and
rock had a strong effect on Eric Clapton (as well as their notorious consumption of
alcohol and drugs) and he soon became a regular guest on their tour bus as well as on
Jim Gordon, Bonnie Bramlett, George Harrison,
Delaney Bramlett, and Eric Clapton
Concert in Denmark, Dec. 10, 1969 Photo: Jan Persson
Faith disintegrated after their much-hyped US tour, it was only natural that Eric
remain with his new found cronies. He did his best to avoid the spotlight and media
attention that had plagued him during the demise of Cream and throughout the short-lived
career of "supergroup" Blind Faith. He was content with his role of sideman but
that wasn't always possible.
In addition to D & B's roster of musical comrades (Cale
and Russell, Rita Coolidge, Gram Parsons, Jim Gordon, Bobby Keys, etc.) they were soon
joined on stage by a large number of Eric's pals including Dave Mason, Duane Allman, Jesse
Ed Davis, Billy Preston, and most notably, George Harrison. The duo "Delaney &
Bonnie" became known as "Delaney & Bonnie & Friends" when they began
their European tour.
They later toured Europe with John Lennon & the Plastic Ono
Bobby Keys, Rita Coolidge,
Bonnie, Delaney, Carl Radle, Eric Clapton, and George Harrison
(Concert in Denmark, Dec. 10, 1969 - Photo: Jan Persson
In addition to seeing D & B on the Blind Faith
tour (The Fabulous Forum - 8/15, 1969), I had the pleasure
of opening for them with ( I think) my band "Pegasus"
at an LA club, the name of which (and date), I cannot
remember for the life of me. I know it was on Ventura Blvd.
in the North Hollywood / Sherman Oaks area, and it was a
classier venue than the beer bars to which we were
accustomed. The club was not especially large, (around a
hundred seats, a couple hundred more standing, max). I do
remember that the club had a low ceiling above the stage,
which created problems for our on-stage sound (sort of
reverb / echo-like, - we had no monitors back then). I think
D & B used their own side fills, so they might not have
shared our sound problems. Either way, the sound was great
out front (for a house PA). I do remember that we had to
share the small stage with their equipment (at least their
drum set up).
is the life of an opening band.
It was a good thing we had a decent following
(for a Top 40 bar band), so our fans kept the dance floor
full; otherwise, the roomful of anxious D & B fans might
have booed us off the stage.
For some odd reason (old age, drugs, my mental
hard drive is full & it randomly deletes mental data), I
cannot really remember many details of the occasion.
Obviously, I didn't encounter any concupiscent young
lovelies, or I would no doubt remember. However, I do
remember it was a great gig. We got to see Delaney & Bonnie
in an intimate venue, and best of all, we only had to do one
60-70 minute set for the night. I don't even know if the
late - great, Carl Radle was on bass. At the time, I believe
I was still obsessed with Jack Bruce (and John Entwistle -
Chris Squire?). I didn't appreciate Radle until years later.
turned out to be a great gig, I never had a chance to talk to any of the band members. Their crew
had set up
and done their sound check before we arrived, leaving the drums on stage for
our set up. I have no clue where they were hiding (I suspect
their infamous tour bus was parked outside), but minutes after
our set concluded (sans encore),
their band swept in,
they did their set, and they were gone before the encore
I'm quite sure
that the show was after Eric Clapton had stripped them of both their rhythm
section, and Bobby Whitlock, for Derek&The Dominos. One thing I am sure of:
it was obviously before Delaney & Bonnie's divorce in '72, which resulted in the
band's demise. I'm guessing it was sometime in 1972 because I remember them doing a
version of Dave Mason's song, "Only You Know and I Know." The song was a Top 20 hit
from their last album, "Delaney & Bonnie Together".
My old buddy, and later my long-time soundman, Tommy Wright,
reminded me that the club was the "Brass Ring" . Even though
he wasn't there, and I hadn't even met him back then, he
SUNDAY, JULY 13, 2008 04:41 AM
is amazing !!!