Delaney & Bonnie Biography

Delaney Bramlett (1 July 1939, Pontotoc County, Mississippi, USA) first came to prominence as a member of the Shindogs, the house band on US television’s Shindig. As well as recording with the group, Bramlett made several unsuccessful solo singles prior to meeting Bonnie Lynn (b. Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell, 8 November 1944, Acton, Illinois, USA) in California. His future wife had already sung with several impressive figures including Little Milton, Albert King and Ike And Tina Turner. The couple’s first album, Home, produced by Leon Russell and Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, was only released in the wake of Accept No Substitute (1969). This exemplary white-soul collection featured several excellent Delaney compositions, including ‘Get Ourselves Together’ and ‘Love Me A Little Bit Longer’. An expanded ensemble, which featured Bobby Keys (saxophone), Jim Price (trumpet), Bobby Whitlock (guitar), Carl Radle (bass) and Jim Keltner (drums) alongside the Bramletts, then toured America with Blind Faith. The Bramletts’ refreshing enthusiasm inspired guitarist Eric Clapton, who guested with the revue in Britain. This period was documented on their Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour With Eric Clapton (1970) collection and a powerful single, ‘Comin’ Home’.

Lavish praise by the media and from George Harrison and Dave Mason was undermined when the backing group walked out to join Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs And Englishmen escapade. To Bonnie From Delaney (1970), recorded with the Dixie Flyers and Memphis Horns, lacked the purpose of previous albums. Motel Shot, an informal, documentary release, recaptured something of the duo’s erstwhile charm, but it was clear that they had not survived the earlier defections. Together (1972) introduced their new contract with Columbia Records, but the couple’s marriage was now collapsing and they broke up later that year.

Delaney subsequently released several disappointing albums for MGM Records and Prodigal but Bonnie Bramlett’s three collections for Capricorn showed a greater urgency and she took to singing gospel when she become a born-again Christian. She also launched an acting career as Bonnie Sheridan. Overwhelmed by their brief spell in the spotlight, the duo is better recalled for the influence they had on their peers.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.