Delaney & Bonnie & Friends – On Tour with Eric Clapton: Deluxe Edition

January 01, 1970

 

 

(Rhino
Handmade)

 

www.rhino.com

 

Looking
back, it’s shocking to think of just how many cookie jars Eric Clapton had his
hands inside immediately following the dissolution of Cream in 1968. The man
was like the Lil’ Wayne
of the era, for chrissakes!

 

One
can’t begin to list EC’s many collaborative endeavors without first mentioning
his pivotal role in the seminal supergroup Blind Faith with former bandmate
Ginger Baker, Traffic’s Steve Winwood and Family’s Rick Grech, a band of egos
that was over before it could even begin. Then you have the English guitar
god’s time competing with Klaus Voormann and Billy Preston for the role of the
“fifth Beatle”. Beyond having played that legendary slide solo on The White Album highlight “While My
Guitar Gently Weeps”, Clapton continued to collaborate heavily with members of
the Fab Four on their various solo endeavors during the late sixties, most
notably his major role in the recording of George Harrison’s experimental Hindu
masterpiece Wonderwall Music  and performing as a member of John Lennon and
Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band at the Toronto Rock ‘n’ Roll Revival festival,
which was released as the essential live album Live Peace in Toronto 1969.  

 

This
period also saw Clapton undertaking a role in the mind-boggling supergroup backing
up Mr. Preston on the late organ soul great’s Apple Records debut That’s The Way God Planned It, playing
alongside Harrison, Ginger, Keith Richards and “Mama Soul”, Apple Records
recording artist Doris Troy. And if that wasn’t enough, there was his stint in
the Music from Free Creek super
sessions with the likes of Jeff Beck, Linda Ronstadt, Keith Emerson, Mitch
Mitchell and Dr. John (which is in dire need of a proper unearthing because not
too many people can afford the hefty price tag of the rare vinyl copies
available on Amazon and its damn near impossible to find a decent Mediafire or
Rapidshare link to it online). And we dare not leave out mention of The Dirty
Mac, the band comprising Clapton, the Lennons, Mitchell and Richards so
prominently featured during the Rolling Stones’ whirlwind Rock ‘n’ Roll Circus TV special in late ’68.

 

However,
when you think about Clapton and his roundtable of pals as the 1960s drew to a
close, perhaps the most robust of all these newly minted unions was the one he
forged with Delaney Bramlett and his then-wife Bonnie, the first white act
signed to Memphis soul label Stax Records – she a sweet, sexy blooze belter who
performed with Albert King and Ike and Tina Turner in her teens; and he a
former member of the house band for ABC’s music variety series Shindig!. Clapton was so enraptured upon
meeting the couple that he hired the Bramletts to open for Blind Faith on their
short-lived summer tour and, by the fall, he ditched Winwood and Co. to join
their band. By the time the Bramlett Family made it to Europe in late ’69, they
had acquired an un-fuck-with-able ensemble of musicians that included EC, Leon
Russell, former Traffic guitarist Dave Mason, Rolling Stones horn section Jim
Price and Bobby Keys, singer Rita Coolidge and 
future Derek and the Dominos members Carl Radle, Bobby Whitlock and Jim
Gordon (the very collective primarily responsible for three of the greatest
rock albums ever created in Layla and
Other Assorted Love Songs
, Eric Clapton’s eponymous debut and George
Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, all
of which were released mere months following these shows).

 

Originally
released in 1970, the Bramletts’ debut on the Atco label (and third LP
overall), Delaney & Bonnie &
Friends On Tour with Eric Clapton,
was a 42-minute live document of that
tour culled primarily from the group’s pair of shows at Fairfield Halls in the
Croydon district of London, noteworthy due to the fact that George Harrison – a
huge fan of D&B’s uncanny compound of rock, soul and country and the one who
suggested them to Clapton as the opening act for the Blind Faith tour – sat in
with the band , although he was billed as “L’Angelo Misterioso” in
the original album credits to avoid any label drama a la John Lennon’s moonlighting moniker “Winston O’Boogie”. (Speaking
of guests in disguise: the LP cover photo depicting a car with someone sticking
their feet out the side window, was shot by D&B manager Barry Feinstein,
and it’s long been rumored that the feet belonged to none other than… Bob
Dylan.)

 

 

However, as stellar as this concert album may be, for years many fans
have chided On Tour with Eric Clapton for
its brevity and hoped that it would one day be released as an expanded edition.

 

Well,
for those of you who have been waiting 40 years for more material from these
epic concerts, your ship has finally arrived in the form of this gorgeous
Deluxe Edition, which inflates the original track listing of Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour
with Eric Clapton
to a massive four-disc box set containing four complete
performances from the Bramletts’ trek through England.  Inside the confines of this mock road crate,
you will find complete performances of the two Croydon shows cherry-picked for
the original album release along with a composite of the group’s early and late
shows at Colston Hall on December 2 and their complete 12/1 performance at
Royal Albert Hall. And in addition to some great unreleased versions of all
eight songs from the original, within these gigs you will find a wealth of
previously unreleased songs left off the 1970 LP, including ripping takes on
“My Baby Specializes” and “Everybody Loves A Winner” from Delaney & Bonnie’s
debut album Home, a cover of the
traditional country anthem “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and a Whitlock-sung
rendition of the Spencer Davis Group’s “Gimme Some Lovin’,” not to mention a
trio of quality opening set jams from D&B’s all-star backing band, including
the driving “Pigmy” from the second Fairfield Halls show.

 

This
deluxe edition of Delaney & Bonnie
& Friends On Tour with Eric Clapton
is an essential get for anyone who
considers 1968-1970 the golden age of Eric Clapton’s storied career, which continues
to gain steam nearly 50 years in given the greatness of his outstanding new
album, Clapton.  

 

DOWNLOAD: “I Don’t Know Why”
(Royal Albert Hall), “Everybody Loves A Winner” (Royal Albert Hall), “Opening
Jam” (Colston Hall), “Things Get Better” (Colston Hall), “Coming Home”
(Fairfield Halls, 1st show), “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”
(Fairfield Halls, 2nd show), “Little Richard Medley” (Fairfield
Halls, 2nd show) RON HART

Leave a Reply