Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

The Best of Delaney and Bonnie

The Best of Delaney and Bonnie
Delaney and Bonnie

In the late ’60s and early ’70s, the husband and wife duo Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett created a vibrant blend of soul, blues, country, and gospel, but their music was often marginalized by the attention paid to members of their backing band that included Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, and George Harrison.

After signing to Stax Records in 1969, Delaney and Bonnie, with the assistance of Booker T. & the MG’s and Isaac Hayes, recorded their debut album, Home. Though a critical success, the album was a commercial failure and they were dropped from their label.

They recorded their follow-up album, Accept No Substitute, for Elektra Records. Their backing band included keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Keltner. Again, the album was a commercial failure, but the couple earned the appreciation of fellow musicians.

After his stint with Blind Faith, Eric Clapton joined Delaney and Bonnie; Clapton’s friends—Dave Mason and George Harrison—would occasionally join him in support of Delaney and Bonnie.

In 1970, the group briefly joined up with John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band and toured Europe, but when Clapton left to record a solo record and Radle and Keltner joined Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen Tour, Delaney and Bonnie were forced to cancel their tour. The duo recorded a couple of more records, but when their marriage fell apart, so did their musical partnership.

Delaney and Bonnie influenced many of their contemporaries. Eric Clapton said that “Delaney taught me everything I know about singing.” Delaney also taught George Harrison how to play slide guitar. Delaney and Bonnie co-wrote “Groupie (Superstar)” (a Top 10 hit for The Carpenters) and Eric Clapton’s “Let It Rain.”