Remembering Delaney Bramlett
Today marks the 8th anniversary of the day Delaney Bramlett died, and those who are well versed in rock history know what a blow that was to the world of music. For those of you who don’t know Bramlett or his accomplishments in the realm of rock ‘n’ roll, well, that’s what we’re here for.
When the website Swampland.com ran its obituary for Bramlett, the headline read, “The Death of a Southern Legend,” and that’s absolutely a fair description of the man. He started his career as a singer-songwriter in the early 1960s, working and writing alongside future stars like Mac Davis and Jackie DeShannon, and by 1965 he’d scored himself a gig as a member of the house band for the TV show Shindig! His attempt to launch a solo career wasn’t turning out to be as successful as he might’ve liked, but given that he found himself working alongside guys like J.J. Cale and Leon Russell, you can’t say he wasn’t in good company.
In 1967, however, the company got even better, as that’s when he met and, in short order, married a young lady by the name of Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell. As Delaney & Bonnie & Friends, the newly-minted husband and wife managed to wrangle themselves a contract with Stax Records, recording their first album for the label in early 1969. It failed to really take off, sadly, so it wasn’t long before they found themselves on the lookout for a new home for their music. Enter Elektra Records, who signed them and released their sophomore effort, THE ORIGINAL DELANEY & BONNIE & FRIENDS (ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTE), but the arrangement only lasted for a single album, thanks to some disgruntlement about the group trying to sign with a second label. You can’t really blame them, though: the other label was Apple Records, and the person who offered them the contract was George Harrison!
It’s at this point that Eric Clapton enters the picture, inviting Delaney & Bonnie & Friends to join him on the road as opening act for Blind Faith. That’s a pretty nice gesture in and of itself, but it’s nothing compared to Clapton securing them a record deal with Atco. Granted, the album they released was entitled ON TOUR WITH ERIC CLAPTON, so you can’t say that he didn’t at least get some free advertising out of it, but it’s nice nonetheless.
Rather than prattle on about Bramlett’s entire career, we’ll just go ahead and sum up: he did great work as part of Delaney and Bonnie, he did great work with other artists, too, and he was a top-notch singer-songwriter, which is why he’s still missed to this day. Indeed, the title of Delaney and Bonnie’s lone Elektra album says all you need to say about Delaney Bramlett: ACCEPT NO SUBSTITUTES.