elaney Bramlett was born on July 1, 1939 in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. He moved to Los Angeles in the mid-1950's and
first came to the public's attention as a member of the Shindogs, which was the houseband for the television show 'SHINDIG.' In addition to the Shindog recordings and working with Leon Russell and J. J. Cale, Delaney participated in several unsuccessful solo singles before meeting his future wife, Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell, in California. Bonnie was born on November 8, 1944 in Acton, Illinois in California and grew up in a steelmill-working household in East St. Louis. Prior to their meeting, Bonnie's career had started by sneaking into adult rhythm and blues clubs in the Gaslight Square district of St. Louis, Missouri and she had been linked with Little Milton, Albert King and Ike And Tina Turner. Bonnie had headed to the West Coast and opened for The Shindogs at a Los Angeles nightspot. Delaney and Bonnie were married within a week in Los Angeles in 1967. Their music has been been described as being "channelled into a ensemble soul-revue package, emphasizing brass, percussion and the pair's powerful vocals." They signed a record deal with Stax, but their first album together, Home, was not very popular. In 1969, their second release (this time from Elektra), Accept No Substitute, was produced by Leon Rusell and Donald Duck Dunn, and was well received by musicians on both sides of the Atlantic,
though it didn't sell very well. Accept No Substitute included several excellent compositions including 'Get Ourselves Together and 'Love Me a Little Bit Longer'. This helped them to land a gig as the opening act for the US tour of Blind Faith, group composed of Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Rick Grech. Clapton had described them as "just down-home, ordinary cats. That's what I liked about them." After only a single album, Blind Faith dissolved and Clapton joined the Bramletts' as a member of their band.
or the remainder of 1969, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends toured England with
Eric Clapton; other guest appearances included Beatle George Harrison and Traffic's Dave Mason (who would join Fleetwood Mac two decades later) who described them as "a kick-ass band". In 1970, they released a very sucessful album entitled Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour (With Eric Clapton) which contained the single 'Comin' Home' and climbed to #29 on Billboard's albums chart in 1970. The Bramletts participated in John Lennon's Plastic Ono Band adventures to benefit UNICEF in Lyceum, a European tour, and on Clapton's first solo album. An American tour after Clapton left was less than sucessful because they were missing their star attraction. Clapton's relationship with the Bramletts had helped to overcome his reluctance to sing as he acknowledged in an October 1970 interview in Rolling Stone magazine, "I think it was probably my relationship with Delaney because he inspired me such a great deal, and he gave me the confidence that I needed. He told me that anyone could do it, literally, if they just put their minds to it." At this time in March, 1970, all of their other bandmates, with the exception of Bobby Whitlock, left to join Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs and Englishmen or Eric Clapton's Derek and The Dominoes; many also played on Dave Mason's first solo album, Alone Together. Delaney and Bonnie continued to record together, their 1971 'Never Ending Song of Love' which was written by
|The Bramletts and Eric Clapton
Delaney, Bonnie, and Carl Radle for the Bramlett children peaked on the charts at position #13. The Bramlett marriage failed after the release of Together in 1972 through Columbia Records; their final hit single together was justly called 'Move 'Em Out'.. Following their breakup, Delaney released several albums from MGM and Prodigal; one album, Giving Birth To a Song contains seven songs co-written with Billy Burnette. This album also contained the song 'Nothing Without You' which was later covered by their daughter, Bekka on Fleetwood Mac's Time album. Bonnie released three collections for Capricorn records during her conversion to a Born-Again Christian, toured with Stephen Stills and Little Feat, recorded with the Allman Brothers Band and Delbert McClinton, composed for Hank Williams, Jr., and even starred on the television sitcom, Roseanne.
n 1979, it was well publicized that Bonnie Bramlett was verbally assaulted by a drunk Elvis Costello over some derogatory comments towards Ray Charles and the status of black music in America; she subsequently punched him and was sentenced to some jail time. Although not quite a household name, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett were a great influence on many of their peers. In Jenny Boyd's book, Musicians in Tune, Rick Vito recalled, "When I was about sixteen or seventeen I started thinking that I would play music professionally, not just on weekends in bars around Philadelphia, near where I lived. But I never made a firm stand on that until I was twenty, when I heard the early Delaney and Bonnie records. I thought they were really saying something in a rock and roll way that nobody else was at the time. I was determined to introduce myself to their people, and somehow I got backstage at one of their shows and met them. They were very encouraging, and so the second time they came back they invited me to play with them onstage, so I sat in with them. It was one of those things that brought the house down, it was amazing."
Copyright © 1995-2002, Martin and Lisa Adelson, All Rights Reserved.