This week’s post was planned to be something else. And then as what can only be a coincidence, I played ‘You Got It In People’ by Broken Social Scene and ‘Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour With Eric Clapton’. Very different musically from each other but both feature huge bands – 11 musicians each. As I put these on chase-each-other play mode, I ran a delightful debate in my head on which one to write about this weekend. And much as I like and admire Broken Social Scene, I gave precedence to the infectious energy, brilliant musicianship and the live immediacy of the Delaney & Bonnie record.
The husband-wife duo of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett made some lovely music in the late ’60s/early ’70s but it is this outstanding live album featuring a super-talented lineup that has become their hallmark.
The music draws on a rich vein of blues, rock and country and soars on the uplifting spirit of gospel. Clearly the band enjoyed playing together. And it couldn’t have been easy with 11 artists with superb musical sensibility but remarkably, the band plays with rare harmony. Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett’s and Rita Coolidge’s voices are richly complemented by the brass section of Jim Price and Bobby Keys (he became such an integral part of some of the Rolling Stones’ best work) and the organ of Bobby Whitlock while the rhythm section of Carl Radle on the bass, Jim Gordon on drums and Tex Johnson on percussion keep it real tight. And then there’s the searing yet very well controlled guitaring of that man Eric Clapton supported by Dave Mason (of Traffic). Clapton’s at the peak of his craft right through and for anyone who’s followed his career it’s clear that the foundation for his blend of blues, country and rock music in the post-Cream era was laid here. It’s also no surprise the band here featured on his early solo and Derek & The Dominos projects.
It must have been quite something to have been in the audience back then. On every song on this album, I have been jumping and throwing my arms up with all the religious fervor of a new convert – and that takes some doing (it’s a different matter that it’s not a pleasant sight) 🙂 Oh joy!
Before I close, I suspect I owe thanks to Babi Mitra of Landmark for having made this CD available at the store in Bangalore.
The song samples in the accompanying audio file are in the following order:
Things Get Better
Poor Elijah – Tribute To Johnson
Only You Know And I Know
I Don’t Want To Discuss It
That’s What My Man Is For
Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
I chose to leave out the closing medley of Little Richards songs.