DELANEY & BONNIE AND FRIENDS - On Tour with Eric Clapton (1970) [Deluxe Edition, 2010] & Motel Shot (1971) [Expanded Edition, 2017]
Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett assembled an all-star group of "friends" in 1969 for a weeklong tour of England, a legendary excursion that would produce On Tour With Eric Clapton, one of rock's most powerful and enduring live albums. Clocking in at a mere 40 minutes, the original left fans wanting more for decades. The set, which comes packaged in a mock road case, contains Delaney & Bonnie & Friends' complete performance at London's Royal Albert Hall, plus a composite of the next night's performances at Colston Hall in Bristol, and both the early and late shows from the tour's final stop at Fairfield Halls in Croydon. Along with the Bramletts, the touring band showcased on these discs includes guitarists Eric Clapton and Dave Mason, bassist Carl Radle, drummer Jim Gordon, organist Bobby Whitlock, Jim Price and Bobby Keys on horns, percussionist Tex Johnson, and singer Rita Coolidge. Along with unreleased versions of all the songs from the original, this reissue also contains several songs not featured on the 1970 album, including "I Don't Know Why" a track the Bramletts penned with Clapton; "My Baby Specializes" and "Everybody Loves A Winner" from the Bramlett's debut Home; "Get Ourselves Together" from the couple's 1969 follow-up Accept No Substitute; the traditional "Will The Circle Be Unbroken"; a cover of Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'"; and the instrumental "Pigmy".
Though they never achieved the popular success enjoyed by some of their peers, Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett spearheaded the roots-rock revolution of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s along with The Allman Brothers and The Band, turning away from the exoticism of psychedelia towards music “rooted” in blues, country, and soul. Witness the fact that the “And Friends” that played with the pair included Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Leon Russell, Dave Mason and Bobby Whitlock….out of Delaney and Bonnie’s various aggregations arose Derek and the Dominoes and Joe Cocker’s band for the legendary Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour. And for Motel Shot, the duo’s fourth studio album and their third for Atco/Atlantic, the circle of “friends” included Cocker, Whitlock, and Mason, plus appearances by Duane Allman, Gram Parsons, and John Hartford among others! But for the most part, this is a largely acoustic, charmingly informal affair dipped in gospel and dominated by the Bramletts and Whitlock; the Motel Shot title refers to informal, after hours jam sessions on the road. But there’s a whole lot more to the story (and to this release!). The project began not in a hotel room but in the living room of engineer Bruce Botnick, with November 1970 sessions as a prospective release for Elektra Records. But, after Delaney had a falling out with label head Jac Holzman, the project moved to Atco, who put the “band” into a proper studio to re-record much of the material. Those later sessions comprise the original album, which has heretofore only appeared briefly on CD in Japan; but, after hours of tape research, co-producers Bill Inglot and Pat Thomas uncovered the original “living room” sessions that yielded the eight unreleased tracks on this Expanded Edition CD release – and notably is the first American CD release of the original Motel Shot album as well. Remastered by Inglot, with an essay by Thomas that includes exclusive (and extremely candid) quotes from Bonnie Bramlett, Bobby Whitlock, Bruce Botnick, and Jac Holzman, Motel Shot finally is presented here the way it was originally conceived, and takes its rightful place as one of the great albums of the classic era of the roots rock movement.
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