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The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute) and To Bonnie From Delaney

Doug Collette By

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Delaney & Bonnie and Friends's best work functions as a primer on contemporary rock and roll, not to mention how the pair functioned as a catalyst to what's arguably the most prolific and productive instances of musical community that arose from the late Sixties and early Seventies. And even if the following two selections are the sole titles that have not yet been reissued in expanded form, the very fact these releases remain available on CD (on How High the Moon and Wounded Bird labels, respectively) is measurable testament to Delaney & Bonnie's abiding influence: they exist within a recording chronology including Home (Stax, 1969), a suitably authentic visit to Stax Studios in Memphis, the document of roadwork during which D&B's complementary attitude to collaboration crystallized On Tour with Eric Clapton (Atco, 1970 ) and Motel Shot (Atco, 1971), a largely acoustic work as spontaneously infectious as any of its predecessors, even if many of the players that appeared on the aforementioned concert piece had gone on to various and sundry other projects, many of which were issued within a few months of each other in the same year.

Still, referencing Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen (A&M, 1970), George Harrison's studio masterwork All Things Must Pass (Apple, 1970), Traffic co-founder Dave Mason's solo debut Alone Together (Blue Thumb, 1970) and Slowhand's work as Derek with the Dominos on the epic Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Atco, 1970) leaves out the essential contributions hornmen Jim Price and Bobby Keys added to pivotal entries in the discography of the Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones, 1971) and Exile on Main Street (Rolling Stones, 1972). Still, to state Delaney and Bonnie are more famous for their associations to other high-profile musicians than for work attributed to their own names is in keeping with the gracious humility by which they inspired the various players with whom they worked during their remarkably brief tenure together.

Delaney & Bonnie
The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute)
Elektra Records
1969

Due in part to Delaney's sometimes self-defeating self-promotion, he and his spouse hopscotched from label to label with their work and this second stopover of four had as much logic and authenticity as its counterparts: Elektra was originally a folk-based label that turned visionary by signing the Doors and Love earlier in the Sixties decade during which D&B made it there (temporary) home. Not surprisingly recorded live in the studio, the uniform force of the rousing singing and playing, as with the duo's best collaborations, is all the more laudable given the individual names that are pictured here: the list includes multi-instrumentalist/composer/bandleader/producer Leon Russell, drummer Jim Keltner, whose reputation likewise already preceded him, as well as vocalist Rita Coolidge, upon whose connection with Delaney and Bonnie her solo success is based (see "Groupie (Superstar)." And, given the cross-pollination of the times, not to mention their subsequent collaboration on Motel Shot, it's well to wonder if this smoldering version of "Do Right Woman Do Right Man" is the source for the late cosmic cowboy Gram Parsons' decision to cover it on the first Flying Burrito Brothers album.

Delaney & Bonnie
To Bonnie From Delaney
Atco Records
1970

Given their devout gospel roots, it only makes sense the songs of Little Richard (Penniman) would figure so prominently in Delaney and Bonnie's live and studio work: this seminal performer forsook his fame for the church, albeit only temporarily, after releasing records like "Miss Ann" included here. But that song of his appears here (with the author sitting in!) alongside an equally authentic rendition of Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen" as well as honest, forthright originals like "Alone Together," on all of which the duo are accompanied by the likes of long-time D&B supporterDuane Allman, Southern rock stalwart Jim Dickinson, (father of North Mississippi Allstars' Cody & Luther), not to mention The Memphis Horns themselves and iconic r&b saxophonist King Curtis. Even as produced by the esteemed Jerry Wexler, this varied, resplendent chemistry went for naught, at least commercially speaking, as this studio effort didn't maximize the breakthrough represented by the live release on which Slowhand is so prominent (perhaps because it was released in the very same years, so closely on the heels of that set?).

Tracks and Personnel

The Original Delaney & Bonnie (Accept No Substitute

Tracks: Get Ourselves Together; Someday; Ghetto; When the Battle Is Over; Dirty Old Man; Love Me a Little Longer; I Can't Take It Much Longer; Do Right Woman, Do Right Man; Soldiers of the Cross; Gift of Love.

Personnel: Bonnie Bramlett: vocals; Delaney Bramlett: guitars, vocals; Leon Russel: guitars, piano; Jerry McGee: guitars; Carl Radle: bass guitar; Bobby Whitlock: organ, keyboards, vocals; Bobby Keys: saxophone; Jim Price: trombone, trumpet; Rita Coolidge: backing vocals; Jim Keltner: drums, percussion.

To Bonnie From Delaney

Tracks: Hard Luck and Troubles; God Knows I Love You; "Lay Down My Burden; Medley: Come On In My Kitchen/Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean/Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad; The Love of My Man; They Call It Rock and Roll Music; Soul Shake; Miss Ann; Alone Together; Living on the Open Road; Let Me Be Your Man; Free the People.

Personnel: Bonnie Bramlet: vocals; Delaney Bramlett: guitar, vocals; Duane Allman: guitar; Charlie Freeman: guitar; Ben Benay: guitar; Kenny Gradney: bass guitar; Bobby Whitlock: piano; Mike Utley: piano; Jim Gordon: keyboards; Sneaky Pete Kleinow: steel guitar; Little Richard: piano; Jim Dickinson: piano; Jerry Scheff: bass guitar; Tommy McClure: bass guitar; Jerry Jumonville: alto saxophone; King Curtis: tenor saxophone; Darrell Leonard: trumpet, trombone; Wayne Jackson: trumpet; Jack Hale: trombone, trumpet; Ed Logan: tenor saxophone; Andrew Love: saxophone; Frank Mayes: tenor saxophone; Floyd Newman: baritone saxophone; Sam Clayton: congas; Alan Estes: conga, percussion; Ron Tutt: drums; Sammy Creason: drums.

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