Jerry B. from KLAMATH FALLS, OR Reviewed on 8/3/2010...
Early 1970s duo had a Soul all their own
Chris K. Wilson | Dallas, TX United States | 12/26/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Mention Delaney and Bonnie today and most people will ask "Who?" It's been a long time since this soul rockin' duo from the early 1970s last released an album. With the possible exception of "Only You Know and I Know," a terrific Dave Mason cover which cracked the top 20 in the U.S., you are unlikely to hear a single song by this pair on nostalgic radio. Too bad. Those uninitiated are missing out on a soul-soaked time capsule that will have you tapping your feet and singing along.This greatest hits compilation - or perhaps greatest moments - give us the best of this short-lived union. A husband and wife team, Delaney and Bonnie combined elements of blues, soul and rock that would put Big Brother and the Holding Company to shame. In fact, their cover on this album of "Piece of My Heart" is as bluesy and whiskey-soaked as Janis Joplin's own legendary version. They also wrote and performed the now-classic "Groupie (Superstar)," which was eventually covered by The Carpenters. Thankfully, that memorable cut is also included on this CD.Delaney and Bonnie's singalong anthems including "Get Outselves Together," "When the Battle is Over" and "Soul Shake" are extraordinary testaments of a time and place in American music when top-40 culture first embraced the best elements of roots rock. Listen closely, and the riffs of Grateful Dead, The Band and, of course, Eric Clapton (who discovered this duo) are instantly recognizable.Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell's voice is a stunning combination of Janis and Tina Turner, and her shrill gusto is worth the price of this CD alone. But combine the bluesy screech of Delaney Brammet with a who's who band list of members who played with everyone from Joe Cocker to Elvis Presley, and you have an extraordinary CD that brings back a time and a place when such rock and roll fushion was in its infancy.Delaney and Bonnie's divorce eventually ended this brief union of music, but "The Best of Delaney and Bonnie" recaptures their energetic and raw magic (many of these cuts are live tunes). A nostalgic trip? Yes. But like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, you can proudly blast this CD at maximum volume with the comfortable realization that spirited, soul-searching rock never truly dies."
Wonderful introducton to an amazing band
R. C. Schmults | Brookline, MA USA | 03/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If there ever was a group that should have been huge, it is Delaney and Bonnie. These guys helped Clapton get his solo career started, provided the nucleus for Derek & the Dominos, and much of the band for Joe Cocker's "Mad Dogs and Englishmen" tour (I am not a Cocker fan, but the live album is a great set). More bona fides: Clapton, George Harrision, Duane Allman, Leon Russell, Dave Mason, Steve Cropper (the list goes on), all played with them -- in some case dropped what they were doing to join them on tour as part of the band.So what is so special about them? They have a tremendous mix of blues, gospel, and soul wrapped in a guitar driven late sixties/early seventies rock band. If you like the sound of "Exile on Main Street," and/or Clapton's first solo album, you'll probably like this."
Why bother with new music when you can listen to this?
. | Chicago, IL USA | 03/03/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Six Stars..Listen to Delaney Bramlett,(and Dan Penn and J.J.Cale on their cds), and you'll pretty much hear how Eric Clapton learned to sing. Bonnie and Delaney took the color issue out of soul singing, by not knowing there was a such thing. I've listened to this cd five times in the two days I've had it, carrying it from the home cd player to the car's, and on to the player at work. Regarding others' comments on the sound of the live tracks on their concert cd,(some of which are included here):Sure, it's not the perfect mix that some of their studio stuff is, but the live tracks sound great, full of passion , and some of the best playing ever. (I must add my recurring endorsement of drummer Jim Gordon; Always the ultimate in groove, power and taste. Listen to "Comin' Home", (listen closely, as the percussionist is also doing quite a bit), Gordon's fills are wailing!, so busy, yet I didn't even notice how extremely complex until perhaps the 20th listening, because it's completely in the pocket, never there for any reason other than to make the tune as good as it can be. Now, when I listen to this song, I wonder if it ever would've made it's original impression on me if any other drummer had been in Gordon's place.)"
J P Ryan | Waltham, Massachusetts United States | 10/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Delaney & Bonnie & Friends (1967 - 72) is one of those groups that, notwithstanding respectable sales (including two top 20 hit singles) and a loyal following that included high-profile fans such as George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Traffic, Jimi Hendrix, the Stones, and numerous others, have largely been forgotton since their breakup despite a body of work that was undeniably influential in terms of moving rock 'n' roll away from the excesses of late-period psychedelia and towards a more emotionally direct approach, rooted in soul, r&b, early rock 'n' roll, and gospel music. This change in direction is best illustrated by Eric Clapton, who was so impressed by D&B's second album that he invited the band to open Blind Faith's 1969 tour. The guitarist was deeply affected by the spirit of their music, to the extent that along with The Band's epochal "Big Pink" Delaney & Bonnie are the clearest catalysts in Clapton's radical change in direction, away from what he saw as the formless excesses of Cream. Not only did Clapton tour and record with D&B during 1969 - 70, he hired the couple's band (Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon) to form Derek & The Dominos. Some bands (the Velvets, Stooges, Love, mid-70s Miles Davis) with only middling commercial success gain a posthumous aura of hipness (often thanks to one or more member's subsequent solo success) and attract a steady stream of new fans from subsequent generations, whereas others fall through the cracks, due to lack of airplay, name-dropping by hip 'zines and younger musicians, or albums that place in critics' all-time-best lists, not to mention an available body of work, all of which might attract curious music fans. D&B, sadly, fall into the latter category. I don't remember the last time I heard anything by them on the radio. A glance some of the superstars who played with Delaney (b. 1939, a session musician and member of TV's mid-60s "Shindig" house band) and Bonnie (b. 1944, and the first white Ikette) reads like a who's who of the era's greats: Clapton, obviously; Duane Allman, Dave Mason (Traffic), George Harrison, Bobby Keys (longtime Stones sax player), King Curtis, Little Richard, Gram Parsons, Sneaky Pete, Leon Russell, Billy Preston and Jim Dickinson are just a few of the superb musicians that played with the couple during their too-short career, which began at Stax in 1968 and ended with the couple's breakup in 1972. During those four years D&B issued "Home" (Stax, 1968), "Accept No Substitute" (Elektra, 1969), "On Tour With Eric Clapton" (Atco, 1970), "To Bonnie From Delaney" (Atco, 1970), "Motel Shot" (Atco, 1971), and "D&B Together" (Columbia, 1972). In recent years the Stax debut and the final Columbia album have been reissued in expanded, remastered editions, and Collector's Choice reissued an unadorned CD of the Elektra album, but none of the Atco material has been upgraded for CD, and only the live album has remained in print (in a so-so 1980s transfer). Remarkably, many of Clapton's projects of the era (Cream's "Disreali Gears", "Eric Clapton", the solo debut produced by Delaney, both Dominos sets) have been reissued in 2-CD 'deluxe editions' yet the high-energy "On Tour" set has yet to even be remastered. Atco issued their best-of in late 1972, and Rhino's CD version has been out for at least 15 years. It remains the only compilation representing the range of Delaney & Bonnie's work for three different labels. As such it is an excellent introduction, sonic limitations notwithstanding. The band's hit singles are all included: 'Soul Shake'/'Free The People', which reached #43 in 8/70; 'Never Ending Song Of Love', #13, 5/71; 'Only You Know and I Know, #20, 9/71; 'Move 'Em Out', #59, 1/72, as well as lower charting singles and key album tracks. These are all soulful, rocking gems, performed with heart and passion. Like all the group's work there is nary a whiff of pretentiousness or excess. Delaney & Bonnie performed with a palpable love of music and the implicit notion that music is an integral part of life. The soul and spirit that infused their work remains infectious. Bonnie rates with the finer rock/soul singers of her day, and Delaney functions as second vocalist and - more importantly - bandleader/producer. And they sure knew how to put together great bands. Take a chance on this compilation if you care about great rock 'n' roll. It is a fine representation. Should you want the original albums check out "Home" (Stax/ reissued 2006, with 6 bonus cuts), "Accept No Substitute" (reissued 2002, perhaps their most consistent studio album), or "D&B Together" (Legacy/reissued 2003, w/ 6 bonus cuts from the couple's post-D&B solo albums), all still in print. The Atco material, including the powerful live set, is still around on vinyl at reasonable prices in used record stores, if you have a turntable, and they were all made during the era of heavy, well-pressed vinyl, with thick-cardboard, textured covers, and gatefolds. Postscript: Sadly, I heard Delaney Bramlett died recently at age 69. Without Delaney's leadership of D&B the post-'60s career of Eric Clapton, for one, would have been very different. Bramlett (and The Band's "Big Pink") led EC to rethink the overamped flash and occasional excesses of Cream (live especially), and to embrace an earthier, song-oriented, and soulful approach. Clapton famously raided D&B's band to form Derek & The Dominos. Though largely forgotton in recent years - their major Atlantic catlog never issued on CD in the US - their influence on The Beatles, Clapton, Gram Parsons, and southern rock is indisputible. RIP, Lest we forget"
Compelling Rock/R&B/Soul with an all star cast
Gary Coffrin | San Jose, California, USA | 02/23/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Delaney Bramlett is a singer-songwriter who has a unique and powerful vision of music that combines southern R&B with hard rock and rambling country-soul. Sometimes the execution was sloppy, but the music always had a strong energy and appeal.
Delaney Bramlett was a member of the Shindogs, the house band for the TV show "Shindig." He married Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell, a member of Ike and Tina Turner's backup singing group, the Ikettes, in 1967. His voice had the southern roots, grit and country white-boy soul of a Tony Joe White. He loved playing loud guitar, and was sometimes smart enough to leave his ego aside and let others do the job. Many of the group's live appearances were sabotaged by his desire to be a guitar hero when he lacked the musical taste and sufficient sobriety to pull it off.
Bonnie Bramlett is an R&B/soul/rock singer-songwriter who has also started singing jazz tunes in recent years. She did backup chores for performers such as Fontella Bass and Albert King in the 1960's before joining the Ikettes. She co-wrote "Groupie (Superstar)" with Leon Russell, in 1969. Interestingly, she appeared in 18 episodes of the "Rosanne" TV series under the name of Bonnie Sheridan during the early 1990's.
Delaney & Bonnie, playing as a group from 1967 to 1972, oozed with talent. Three songs on this CD are live cuts from the album "Delaney & Bonnie & Friends on Tour With Eric Clapton." There is raw energy here, but also a sloppiness that likely came from way too much alcohol and drugs. "Never Ending Song of Love" and "Only You Know and I Know" and the superb "Soul Shake" let you hear Bonnie's voice to good advantage. The exciting "Piece of My Heart" showcases Bonnie's firm grounding in R&B.
As you expect with any Rhino release, the documentation and pictures are first rate. Among the big names who play on one or more cuts are Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, Rita Coolidge, Steve Cropper, Jim Keltner, Bobby Keys, Dave Mason, Gram Parsons, Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, and drummer and convicted murderer Jim Gordon.
This CD can be enthusiastically recommended for the soul singing of Bonnie Bramlett and the enjoyable amalgamation of musical influences. Delaney and Bonnie's talent and their eclectic musical vision are simply astounding. Their tremendously appealing country soul and R&B approach to music would greatly influence Clapton in the 1970's. However, the execution at times is just plain loose with the musicians more energetic than together. Five stars plus for their unique musical vision, but demerits for the sometimes poor cohesiveness and sloppy execution."