Delaney & Bonnie & Friends: On Tour with Eric Clapton



APRIL 1970* (42 YEARS AGO)

Delaney & Bonnie & Friends: On Tour with Eric Clapton is released.
# ALL THINGS MUSIC PLUS+5/5
# allmusic 4.5/5
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
* Our research indicates April to be the most accurate – we have seen from March to June, 1970.
On Tour with Eric Clapton is the third album by Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, released on Atco Records in April, 1970, catalog SD 33-326. 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.
In the late 60s and early ’70s, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett played a vibrant, country-tinged blues-rock that also owed a heavy debt to gritty Memphis R&B (it is no coincidence that their first album was released on Stax Records). And while their singing and playing were consistently top-notch, their profile was not weakened by their association with Eric Clapton, who toured with them between his stint in Blind Faith and the formation of Derek and the Dominos. In fact, when considering Clapton’s musical evolution, it seems clear that the rootsy, downhome vibe of Delaney & Bonnie was a direct influence on the direction of his solo career.
This excellent live set showcases Delaney & Bonnie’s superb vocal performances (note Bonnie’s gospel-drenched take on “That’s What My Man Is For”), and Clapton’s superior playing. Whether on driving, Stax-style soul (“Things Get Better”) or good old rock & roll (on the fierce, extended Little Richard medley), the band–which consists of some of the finest musicians of the day, many of whom went on to play with Clapton and other luminaries throughout the ’70s–tears it up. But while the set teems with advanced musicianship, the overall vibe is one of straightforward fun and good times.
ORIGINAL ROLLING STONE REVIEW
Six Archbishops of Canterbury are buried in Croydon, England, and if you’re a connoisseur of orange marmalade, the variety that comes in those handmade earthenware crocks comes from Croydon, too. It’s also a “swinging place for big shows,” because Croydon was the scene of a concert that was to become Delaney & Bonnie & Friends’ first album for Atco, On Tour With Eric Clapton.
The Croydon audience, which more than likely went to see their local-boy-made-good Eric Clapton, rather than Delaney & Bonnie, ended in giving D & B a most enthusiastic reception. Rightly so, for even though they occasionally laid things on a bit thick, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends with Eric Clapton put on a show that was a beautiful hybrid of southern funk and British rock.
The Friends were fantastic at Croydon, especially Carl Radle on bass and Jim Gordon on drums, probably the tightest rhythm section going these days. The horns don’t get it on quite so well, and sometimes get carried away with second-hand Beatles licks more than they should, “Only You Know And I Know,” is really overdone by the horns, and they overwhelm everyone except themselves.
 Eric Clapton is a whiz on guitar, though he keeps to himself a lot, for fear of taking the spotlight from Delaney or Bonnie. On “Things Get Better,” for example, Clapton takes an extended solo exploring the possibilities of one note. Eric seems to have found a new humility during his association with Delaney Bramlett, and it is reflected in his playing. Diehard Clapton fans might be disappointed, but it’s nice to see someone of obvious talents decide to quit being a Pop Star and start being a good musician.
Delaney is developing into an amazing singer, as shown on his tribute to Robert Johnson, “Poor Elijah,” and his work with Bonnie is getting into the realm of the finest boy-girl soul duets that anyone’s done. Bonnie sings one solo, “That’s What My Man Is For,” and she’s not bad, but she’s been in better voice on the Bramletts’ previous albums for Elektra and Stax. Ah, well, perhaps the girl can’t help it.
If there was ever any doubt as to the future of Delaney & Bonnie & Friends after Clapton’s departure, it’s all been forgotten. Their first, post-Clapton single, “Free the People,” is a sheer delight. Opening with Salvation Army horns playing “Rock of Ages,” Bonnie sings in her best Sunday schoolgirl voice, “Free the people from the fire/Pull the boat out of the raging sea./Tell the devil he’s a LIEyuh,/Come and save the likes of me.” Delaney picks it up with his verse, punctuated by some hilarious horn riffs, and then they take off — just like “Hey, Jude” with a tuba. Some Top 40 stations have picked up on it, and with luck, it’ll be a hit.
And next time you spread orange marmalade on your English muffins (or whatever you spread it on), think of Croydon. A lot of people there love Delaney & Bonnie.
~ Chas. Burton (July 7, 1970)
TRACKS:
Side one
1 Things Get Better (Steve Cropper, Eddie Floyd, Wayne Jackson)    4:20
2 Poor Elijah (Tribute to Robert Johnson) (D.Bramlett, J. Ford, L.Russell) 5:00
3 Only You Know and I Know (Dave Mason) 4:10
4 I Don’t Want to Discuss It (Beth Beatty, Dick Cooper, Ernie Shelby) 4:55
                                               
Side two                                             
1 That’s What My Man Is For (Bessie Griffin)  4:30
2 Where There’s A Will There’s A Way (Bonnie Bramlett, D. Bramlett, Bobby Whitlock)       4:57
3 Comin’ Home (Bonnie Bramlett, Delaney Bramlett, Eric Clapton) 5:30
4 Little Richard Medley – Tutti Frutti/The Girl Can’t Help It/Long Tall Sally/Jenny Jenny (Richard Penniman, Bobby Troup)  5:45
2010 deluxe edition box set
Disc one
Royal Albert Hall 12/1/69
Intro/Tuning
Opening Jam
Gimme Some Lovin’
Band Introductions
Only You Know And I Know
Medley: Poor Elijah/Tribute To Johnson
Get Ourselves Together
I Don’t Know Why
Where’s There’s A Will, There’s A Way
That’s What My Man Is For
Medley: Pour Your Love On Me/Just Plain Beautiful
Everybody Loves A Winner
Things Get Better
Coming Home
I Don’t Want To Discuss It
Little Richard Medley: Tutti Frutti/The Girl Can’t Help It/Long Tall Sally/Jenny Jenny
My Baby Specializes
Disc two
Colston Hall 12/2/69
Intro/Tuning
Opening Jam
Gimme Some Lovin’
Things Get Better
Medley: Poor Elijah/Tribute To Johnson
I Don’t Know Why
Medley: Pour Your Love On Me/Just Plain Beautiful
Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
Coming Home
Little Richard Medley: Tutti Frutti/The Girl Can’t Help It/Long Tall Sally/Jenny Jenny
I Don’t Want To Discuss It
Crowd/Announcement
Disc three
Fairfield Hall 12/7/69 first show
Intro/Tuning
Gimme Some Lovin’
Introduction
Things Get Better
Medley: Poor Elijah/Tribute To Johnson
I Don’t Know Why
Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
That’s What My Man Is For
I Don’t Want To Discuss It
Coming Home
Disc four
Fairfield Hall 12/7/69 second show
Intro/Tuning
Gimme Some Lovin’
Pigmy (Instrumental)
Introductions
Things Get Better
Medley: Poor Elijah/Tribute To Johnson
Only You Know And I Know
Will The Circle Be Unbroken
Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
I Don’t Know Why
That’s What My Man Is For
Coming Home
Little Richard Medley: Tutti Frutti/The Girl Can’t Help It/Long Tall Sally/Jenny Jenny

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