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Tue Dec 30 03:20:41 EST 2008
Dec 30 2008 by David Charters, Liverpool Daily Post
THE English bus driver's son was spellbound by the singing and
guitar-playing of the American sharecropper's son.
Those were the days when rock stars looked down on astronauts, priests,
scientists and politicians and all the other mere mortals.
Among the highest was George Harrison. He knew that the album, Accept No
Substitute, by Delaney and Bonnie, was very fine. Much later, Harrison's
friend, Eric Clapton, would admit that Bonnie Lynne O'Farrell and Delaney
Bramlett were "miles better" than his own band, Blind Faith.
Harrison, Clapton and Bramlett became friends. Indeed, it was said that
Harrison developed his own slide-guitar style from Bramlett, who is also
said to have inspired him to write My Sweet Lord.
In 1969, Harrison had suggested that Delaney and Bonnie should move from the
Elektra recording label to the Beatles' Apple. But contractual difficulties
made this impossible.
Almost in the style of Elvis, the couple were white performers with a
natural affinity for black music. He was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi. His
father left the home when Delaney was a child, so he was raised in a
log-house by his mother, Mamo, an enthusiastic musician. With her and his
elder brother, the boy picked cotton, while also learning to write songs.
These led him to talent contests and, as a result of winning one, he began
appearing on TV. There followed three years with the Navy, before he moved
to Los Angeles to write songs. In 1967, he met Bonnie - Ike and Tina Turner'
s first white Ikette, who, in a reversal of the usual stereotyping, darkened
her skin and wore a black wig.
Together, Delaney and Bonnie were electrifying, singing and playing rock/
blues with passion, best appreciated in live performances. Bramlett would
work with Leon Russell, Jimi Hendrix, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis and
many others. But his marriage to Bonnie was tempestuous. They divorced in
1973, after five original albums.
She became an evangelist and Gospel singer. Bramlett kept writing and
performing. Among his famous compositions are Never Ending Song Of Love and
Superstar, a huge hit for the Carpenters. He married three times and had
Delaney Bramlett, rock musician; born July 1, 1939, died December 27, 2008.
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