Segarini: Chick Singers and a Few Good Men you May Have Missed Part Two – Delaney and Bonnie

Part One can be found here.

Of all the artists who have made serious contributions to the advancement of popular music, Delaney and Bonnie stand out as the most overlooked, underappreciated, and sadly unheralded in all but a few tiny circles. There has never been an effort to even have them ensconced in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (except for Delaney and Bonnie’s kid’s petition after Delaney passed away in 2008), and considering some of the artists who HAVE been inducted into Jann Wenner’s Hall of Successful Musician/Celebrities Who Everybody is Aware Of, that…is a travesty. Why do I believe that? Read on….

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Delaney

From September 16, 1964 to January 8, 1966, everybody I knew tuned in to ABC’s Shindig every Thursday (and then Thursday and Saturday nights in 1965) to see the absolute best the current music scene had to offer. No one missed it.

Shindig was the brainchild of Jack Good, a British entrepreneur, and after being retooled for American TV, debuted in September of 1964, replacing Hootenanny, a folk music show decimated by the British Invasion. The show was hosted by popular L.A Disc Jockey, Jimmy O’Neil. Jimmy O’Neil was on KRLA from 1959 through 1962; KFWB from 1963 through 1967, KDAY from 1969 through1971, and back at KRLA in 1984 and ‘85 and again from 1990 through 1993. O’Neil still lives in Hollywood and is involved in a number of entertainment projects.

Knowing many of you weren’t around to see this show when it aired, here are some segments. This one shows the diversity that the Brits brought to music in the mid ‘60s…and also proves all the music wasn’t, shall we say, as legendary as many believe. Here’s a song from the great duo, Chad and Jeremy, an early appearance of The Yardbirds featuring a very young Jeff Beck, and leads off with a group (and a song) best forgotten.

Shindig: British Invasion Freddie and the Dreamers, Chad and Jeremy,The Yardbirds

Shindig soared when it went to the heart of great American music. Bear witness to these clips. Also note that the staging focused on the artists and the music…not the flash and sizzle of the current raft of musical artists we get now. Hope you have great speakers and a large monitor.

Shindig Soul: Part One James Brown, Tina Turner, Booker T and the MGs

Shindig Soul: Part Two Major Lance, Joe Tex, Marvin Gaye and Tina Turner

Shindig Soul: Part Three James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye

So why are we talking about Shindig? We’re talking about Shindig because, Delaney Bramlett was one of the guitarists in the Shindig houseband, The Shindogs. Guitar legend James Burton was the other one. The band consisted of (at one time or another), Glen Campbell, Joey Cooper, Chuck Blackwell (drums), Billy PrestonJames BurtonDelaney BramlettLarry Knechtel (on bass), Leon Russell (on piano), and Glen D. Hardin. Wow. Here’s a clip. That’s Delaney singing lead with Joey Cooper.

Delaney had moved to L.A from Pontotoc, Mississippi in 1959 and became a session player and continued to be in demand even after landing The Shindog’s gig.

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Bonnie

Bonnie was born Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell on November 8, 1944 in AltonIllinois, and was an accomplished singer at an early age, performing with blues guitarist Albert King at age 14 and in the Ike and Tina Turner Revue at 15,, the first-ever white Ikette. She says, “For three days in a black wig and Man Tan skin darkener”. She moved to Los Angeles in 1967, and met and married Delaney later that year.

Theirs was a tempestuous relationship. They worked and partied hard. When we were recording the Roxy album in L.A at Elektra’s La Cienega studio, we would see one or the other frequently. Delaney, the classic ‘good old boy’, and Bonnie, the hot blonde singer with the drop-dead voice. They were the focus of the attention of damn near every great player in the city. The album Accept no Substitute (their second album but first for Elektra) was the reason why. That, and the fact that live, they were unbelievably good.

I recall the two of them having their own lives. Delaney would barge into the studio when we were recording to get the keys to an office to crash in sometimes, and I would see Bonnie regularly in the bars we all frequented. One of my fondest memories of Bonnie was standing at a bar in L.A with her and Janis Joplin and she turned to me and slapped me on my butt and invited me to join them on the musical train trip they were going to take across Canada. I wish I would have gone. We (myself and Randy Bishop) were also supposed to be on the back of that flatbed truck playing in the desert along with David Gates (from Bread), Rita Coolidge, Delaney, Bonnie, and a couple of others, for a scene in Vanishing Point, a film we both had songs in.

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The Accept No Substitute album was mind blowing. it was 1969 and there was nothing that sounded like it. According to Billboard Magazine, the biggest selling album of 1969 (believe it or not) was In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly.  Accept No Substitute barely dented the American charts. Recorded on 8 track tape, the album still sounds fantastic, and I don’t think I have ever heard a grand piano recorded this well, ever. Everyone on this record went on to a long term successful career. And what a lineup! Bonnie Bramlett: Vocals, Delaney Bramlett: Guitars, vocals, Leon Russell: Guitars, piano, Jerry McGee: Guitars, Carl Radle: Bass guitar, Bobby Whitlock: Organ, Keyboards, Vocals, Bobby Keys: Saxophones, Jim Price: Trombone, Trumpet, Horns, Rita Coolidge: Backing vocals, and Jim Keltner: Drums, percussion.

Here’s just one favourite from the album.

Delaney and Bonnie – Do Right Woman

How influential were Bonnie and Delaney? Did they make an impact?  From Wikipedia: Delaney and Bonnie are generally best remembered for their albums On Tour with Eric Clapton and Motel Shot. On Tour was their best-selling album by far, and is the only official document of their live work. Delaney and Bonnie were considered by many to be at their best on stage. In his autobiography, Atlantic Records executive Jerry Wexler stated that the studio album he produced for the band, To Bonnie from Delaney, “didn’t quite catch the fire of their live performances.” Clapton makes an even stronger statement in his autobiography: “For me, going on [with Blind Faith] after Delaney and Bonnie was really, really tough, because I thought they were miles better than us.” Motel Shot, although technically a studio album, was largely recorded “live in the studio” with acoustic instruments – a rarity for rock bands at the time, foreshadowing the “Unplugged” phenomenon by  twenty years.

Influence

Besides their recorded legacy, Delaney and Bonnie influenced many fellow musicians of their era. Most notably, Eric Clapton has said that “Delaney taught me everything I know about singing” and Delaney has been cited as the person who taught George Harrison how to play slide guitar, a technique Harrison used to great effect throughout his solo recording career. Bonnie, for her part, is credited (with Delaney, Eric Clapton and/or Leon Russell) as co-author of various popular songs, including “Groupie (Superstar)” (a Top 10 hit for The Carpenters in 1971; also covered by ex-Delaney and Bonnie backing vocalist Rita CoolidgeBette MidlerSonic Youth and many others) and Clapton’s “Let It Rain.” (Bonnie’s song authorship became a matter of dispute in the last years of Delaney’s life, with Delaney claiming that he wrote many of these songs but assigned ownership to Bonnie to dodge an onerous publishing contract – an assertion supported, indirectly, through statements made by Clapton. Many songs that Bonnie Bramlett contributed to during the band’s tenure, but for which Delaney Bramlett was not originally credited, now list both Bramletts as co-authors in BMI‘s Repertoire database.)

Friends and offspring

Delaney and Bonnie’s “Friends” of the band’s 1969-70 heyday also had considerable impact. After the early 1970 breakup of this version of the band, Leon Russell recruited many of its ex-members, excepting Delaney, Bonnie and singer/keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, to join Joe Cocker‘s band, participating on Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen recording sessions and North American tour (March–May 1970; Rita Coolidge’s version of “Groupie (Superstar)” was recorded with this band while on tour). Whitlock meanwhile joined Clapton at his home in Surrey, UK, where they wrote songs and decided to form a band, which two former “Friends”/Cocker band members, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon, would later join. As Derek And The Dominos, they recorded the landmark album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (1970) with assistance on many tracks from another former “Friend,” lead/slide guitarist Duane Allman. Derek and the Dominos also comprised the core backing band on George Harrison’s vocal debut album All Things Must Pass (1970) with assistance from still more former “Friends”: Dave Mason, Bobby Keys and Jim Price.

Finally, Delaney and Bonnie’s daughter Bekka Bramlett has also enjoyed a long history in the music business, most notably as a lead singer with Fleetwood Mac in the early 1990s, and subsequently as a backing vocalist with Faith Hill and Vince Gill.
I’m pretty sure if you asked them, Trucks and Tedesco and the Alabama Shakes would cite them as an influence too.

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Now for the real thing. Delaney and Bonnie and their friends live. See if you can spot all the ‘friends’ who were already very well known.

Delaney and Bonnie – Poor Elijah

Bonnie Bramlett and Delbert McClinton – Givin’ It Up

Bonnie and Bekka Bramlett – Strongest Weakness

Bonnie Bramlett – Hurt

And this rare, complete, unedited, take of Dave Mason’s Only You Know and I Know, with a cast of legendary players. An amazing recording.

Delaney, Bonnie, and Duane Allman – Only You Know and I Know

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Chick Singers

As Bonnie proves, there are more great female singers out there than just Amy Winehouse and Adele. Here are just a few of the great ones who deserve the same respect and success.

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One of the most beautiful and talented women to ever grace a stage, armed with perfect pitch and an amazing clear, pure voice, Laurel Masse still thrills to this day. I could listen to (and watch) her all day long.

Laurel Masse – Walk in Love

Laurel Masse – The Telephone Song

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A Canadian singer who deserves to be revered for her perseverance alone, Cheryl still kills every time she gets on a stage. If you’re in Ontario and are lucky enough to spot her name on a bill somewhere, you’ve got to go see her.

Cheryl Lescome – It Should Have Been Me

Cheryl Lescome – Born Blue

Cheryl Lescome – Try a Little Tenderness

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Another Canuck with more soul than most of the charting female singers of the day, Georgette touches down frequently in Kingston and Ottawa. Once again, she is a must see/hear.

Georgette Fry – She Just Wants to Dance

Georgette Fry – You Don’t Know Me

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I road managed a Quebec tour for this woman back in the mid ‘70s, a learning experience I will never forget. Never heard of her? Well, you have HEARD her. Here’s how….

Nanette Workman – A few tunes she sang backup on when she lived in England

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Locally, in Toronto, I have to turn you on to singer /songwriter/keyboard player, Stacey Kaniuk. By turns, she can channel the warm, personal, and pure sound of singers like Laurel Masse, Rumer, and Diane Birch, but she also has the range to inhabit the power and feel of Bonnie Bramlett, and Nanette Workman. See her live around Toronto, and keep an eye on her…she is just coming into her own.

Stacey Kaniuk – It’s A Man’s World

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Daryl Hall and I met and hung out a few times when I was in Roxy and he was in a band called Gulliver. We were both on Elektra. I was not surprised when he re-surfaced with Hall and Oates, my all-time favourite duo. Here’s the thing; Daryl is not only a killer singer, writer, and arranger, but he knows talent better than anyone out there. He always comes on board early when there’s something new in the air. If you’re not watching his web series, Live from Daryl’s House, you are missing some of the best music being currently made. Enjoy these clips from Daryl and his guest, the incredible Diane Birch.

Diane Birch and Daryl Hall – Nothing But a Miracle

Diane Birch – Choo Choo

Diane Birch – Valentino

Diane Birch – Fools

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Daryl has a couple of his songs covered by a singer I can’t get enough of. Great songs and one of the greatest voices out there. Bravo.

Rumer and Daryl Hall – I Can’t Go For That

Rumer – Sara Smile

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And finally, she’s only been around for a couple of years, but she is an intriguing combination of everyone from Cyndi Lauper to Edith Piaf, and looks like a Vargas Pinup. Curious to see and hear where she goes.

Paloma Faith – 30 Minute Love Affair

Paloma Faith – Upside Down

Paloma Faith – You Never Gove Me Your Money

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Segarini’s regular column appears here every Monday

Contact us at dbawis@rogers.com

Bob “The Iceman” Segarini was in the bands The Family Tree, Roxy, The Wackers, The Dudes, and The Segarini Band and nominated for a Juno for production in 1978. He also hosted “Late Great Movies” on CITY TV, was a producer of Much Music, and an on-air personality on CHUM FM, Q107, SIRIUS Sat/Rad’s Iceberg 95, (now 85), and now publishes, edits, and writes for DBAWIS, continues to write music, make music, and record.

3 Responses to “Segarini: Chick Singers and a Few Good Men you May Have Missed Part Two – Delaney and Bonnie”

  1. I remember that Blind Faith show. Saw it in Portland. Was it Taste who opened? Delaney & Bonnie were amazing. The sound was shockingly good for the Portland Coliseum. Hell of a band.

  2. Jim Chisholm in Campbell River Says:

    Thanks for all the great detail and links. I loved D&B. Saw them once in Montreal in early ’72. Bonnie’s voice and Bobby Key’s Sax were the highlights of the show. Powerful and soulful indeed.

  3. Jim Chisholm in Campbell River Says:

    Bonnie made some good solo albums. Are you familiar with Lady’s Choice (1975 Capricorn records I think)? Half the songs were duets with some great male singers. Soulful stuff! You really Got A hold On Me ( with Jimmy Hall and Mickey Thomas); Never Gonna Giv e You Up (Dobie Gray) Two Steps From The Blues (Greg Allman); Hold On I’m Comin’ (Mickey Thomas), and she smokes on Dylan’s Forever Young. Damn, I’m gonna listen to that tonight.

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