It is with some sadness that I note the passing of Delaney Bramlett, who died last Saturday. For many of us he was just Delaney, as in Delaney and Bonnie and Friends. Friends who played regularly with Delaney and Bonnie, friends who included Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, George Harrison, Dave Mason, Leon Russell and Rita Coolidge. Here’s the full line-up as shown in Wikipedia:
Oh yes, and he also mentored JJ Cale, amongst others. He encouraged Clapton to sing, taught Harrison how to play slide guitar, both Duane Allman and Leon Russell counted themselves as proteges of his. Some CV.
Most of us of a certain age remember many of the people listed above, some as sessions musicians, many as stars in their own right. Readers of this blog would know that the song many consider to be the rock classic, Layla, was performed by Derek and the Dominoes. But not many would know that all four of the members of Derek and the Dominoes were “friends” of Delaney and Bonnie: Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle and Jim Gordon. There is enough evidence to suggest that without Delaney and Bonnie, there wouldn’t have been a Derek and the Dominoes.
I first came across Delaney somewhat indirectly; I was watching a film called Vanishing Point which, to people of my generation, defined car chase films along with the incomparable Bullitt. And stuck in the middle of this classic Seventies film was a pair of musicians. Delaney and Bonnie. I had to know more.
There wasn’t an internet in those days, but what I did find out was enough. Delaney and Bonnie had formed the touring support act for a small group called Blind Faith.
I was hooked, and I continue to be hooked. Delaney Bramlett, thank you for all you’ve done, the enjoyment you’ve provided to a whole generation.