Delaney & Bonnie and Friends - On Tour With Eric Clapton (1970)

Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett were a husband and wife soul duo known for the ‘friends’, a large non-permanent group of famous musician associates who played with them both in the studio and on tour.

On Tour was the Bramlett's third album on their third record label (Atco). It was a live one, giving their fans an idea of what their concerts were like. And the Friends featured here took it up a notch, arguably eclipsing Delaney & Bonnie in terms of fame and recognition. They were joined by three hot-shot English guitarists - Eric Clapton, Dave Mason and George Harrison. Clapton was fresh from the dissolution of short-lived supergroup Blind Faith, who the Bramletts had supported on tour. Clapton had tired of being in the spotlight and was relishing the chance to play as a sideman. He learnt alot from his time with the Bramletts, and this would be evident on his first solo album. Dave Mason was best known at the time for being a founding member of art-rock band Traffic, though he was not in the group at the time. And of course Harrison was fresh from the break-up of The Beatles, keen to start exploring new musical territories (he appeared under the pseudonym L'Angelo Misterioso). The rest of the band supporting them was an equally impressive roster of A-grade sidemen and session guys - keyboard players Leon Russell (on piano) and Bobby Whitlock (on organ), bassist Carl Radle, drummer Jim Gordon, singer Rita Coolidge, percussionist Tex Johnson, sax player Bobby Keys and trumpet player Jim Price (the latter two best known as the the Rolling Stones' usual horn section). With such an amazing band behind them, the album is predictably a top-notch affair. The use of so many guitarists and just two horn players give it a bit more of a rock edge than its more soul-based predecessors.
Only one of the songs was from their earlier albums. The new tracks included a tribute to Robert Johnson (written by Delaney, Russell and Jim Ford), a new song by Bonnie and Whitlock (which would also appear on Whitlock's first solo album), one by Bonnie and Clapton and a few covers (including a Little Richard medley). Dave Mason also brought his own "Only You Know And I Know", which he would record himself on his first solo album the same year.
Through its use of other famous rock stars (and the obvious name-dropping in the title), On Tour became Delaney & Bonnie's most successful album, and remains their best known. However to be honest that is a bit of a pity, as all their studio albums are just as good if not better, yet remain obscure and underrated.

Accept No Substitute (1969) <|> To Bonnie From Delaney (1970)
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