It’s been a great birthday weekend thus far. We spent the day yesterday at Emerald Lake with family as part of our, hopefully, annual family reunion of sorts and when we got home I relaxed and caught up on Stage 14 of the the Tour de France before retiring to The Sanctuary for a bowl of Trout Chowder and a few pints of ‘A Nutmare on Elm Street‘ before hitting the sack rather early completely (and happily) spent.
This morning was more of the same, a quick breakfast and Stage 15 of the Tour and I have designs to get out on my bike this afternoon before we head to Toronto to take HRH to her first rock concert, The Flaming Lips at Nathan Philips Square as part of the Pan American Games celebrations. Right now though, I’m still being lazy and listening to some dusty gold before I get suited up for that ride, the ‘On Tour‘ album by Delaney & Bonnie with Eric Clapton.
‘On Tour‘ is the third album by the husband/wife partnership of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, released in 1970 on Atco Records. It peaked at #29 on the Billboard 200 in April 1970, at #39 on the British album chart, and was certified a gold record by the RIAA.
The album features Delaney and Bonnie’s best-known touring band, including Eric Clapton (fresh from the dissolution of short-lived super group Blind Faith, tired of being in the spotlight and relishing the chance to play as a sideman), Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock, Leon Russell, Rita Coolidge, Dave Mason, and George Harrison under his pseudonym “L’Angelo Misterioso.” Many of the players on this album would later go on to work with Harrison on his post-Beatles debut album ‘All Things Must Pass’ (see the Harrison link above) and with Clapton on his solo debut. The horn players Bobby Keys and Jim Price would play on the albums ‘Sticky Fingers’ and ‘Exile on Main St.’ by the Rolling Stones, and join them for their 1972 STP Tour. Whitlock, Radle, and Gordon would form with Clapton his band Derek and the Dominoes for classic album ‘Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs’.
By the time this album was released Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett could loosely be placed in the category of “seasoned veterans” within the music industry, despite the fact that they had only been recording as a unit for a very short period of time. Delaney had come up in the business as a session musician, spending a very important period of time in the mid-’60s working as a member of the house band for the TV series Shindig!. Working on the television show would bring Bramlett in contact with Leon Russell (also a member of the Shindig! band) and Russell would play a very important role in Delaney’s musical future (and the pair also filtered into a potent scene of musicians featuring former Byrds members Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman that would eventually spawn The Flying Burrito Brothers).
Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell was climbing her own ladder in the music industry, putting two notable notches onto her musical resume at a very early age, singing with blues legend Albert King and later, the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, both while she was still in her mid-teens. A few years later, she would eventually move to Los Angeles where she met and married Delaney Bramlett in 1967. Leon Russell and Delaney pooled their connections from working on Shindig! and quickly managed to assemble a group of players to back the newly established unit which would carry the tag of Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, due to an ever-changing lineup of musicians in the backing band (including heavy hitters like Dr. John, Stephen Stills, Albert Collins and one Jimi Hendrix, all of whom stopped by to jam with Delaney & Bonnie). Despite ace production and session assistance from notable players (including Donald “Duck” Dunn, Isaac Hayes and others), the band’s first album ‘Home’ (released on Stax Records) in 1969 was not a success. The band released a second album called ‘Accept No Substitute’ later that same year on a new label, Elektra Records with lots of pre-release buzz, that also failed to find an audience. By the end of 1969, Delaney & Bonnie found themselves without a label, but they had a new ally thanks to their friend George Harrison who introduced them to Clapton and, well, the rest is history as they say. Clapton was able to help the band secure a new record deal with Atco Records and he helped pave the way for the eventual release of ‘On Tour‘, recorded in December of 1969 and released the following year.
On another note, as no pictures of Delaney and Bonnie were deemed good enough for the album cover, a photo was used instead of a Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn in a desert, reportedly taken by manager Barry Feinstein while working as a photographer covering a Bob Dylan tour in 1966. It’s actually Dylan’s feet are those hanging from the car window.
Now, how this album came to be in my collection is anybody’s guess really. I have no recollection of where I picked it up or when but there it was when I was randomly sifting through my collection this afternoon looking for something to jump out at me. The album starts off with the gospel rocker ‘Things Get Better‘ followed by a medley tribute of Robert Johnson tunes on ‘Poor Elijah‘ and Mason’s rollicking ‘Only You Know and I Know‘. Later, Bonnie kicks off Side Two with a steamy ‘That’s What My Man Is For‘ before the band kicks into another pub rocker, ‘Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way‘ and the cooking ‘Coming Home‘. The album wraps up with another medley/tribute, this time to Little Richard including hits ‘Long Tall Sally‘, ‘Jenny Jenny‘, ‘The Girl Can’t Help It‘ and ‘Tutti-Frutti‘.
And with this listen in the bag I’m finally ready to lather up the sunscreen and mount up on Daisy for my planned (albeit much later and hotter) afternoon ride around the area before inevitably stopping off at the Sanctuary again for a cold brew (maybe two) and a few more hours of lazing around before we ultimately make our trek into Toronto later on.