DUANE ALLMAN

©2008 Michael Buffalo Smith

THE DELANEY BRAMLETT INTERVIEWS 2008  

http://www.swampland.com/articles/view/title:the_delaney_bramlett_interviews_2008_part_one

http://www.swampland.com/articles/view/title:the_delaney_bramlett_interviews_2008_part_two_duane_janis_and_eric


 

MICHAEL BUFFALO SMITH:
The Delaney Bramlett Interviews 2008 (Part One)
The Delaney Bramlett Interviews 2008 (Part Two): Duane, Janis and Eric
(published on www.swampland.com, 2008)

 

The Delaney Bramlett Interviews 2008 (Part One)

by Michael Buffalo Smith

Delaney Bramlett was born on July 1, 1939, in Pontotoc County, Mississippi. His mother taught him the guitar, and he moved out to Los Angeles in 1959 where he became a session musician, later joining Shindogs, the house band for the ABC-TV series Shindig! (1964-66), which also featured guitarist/keyboardist Leon Russell.

Bonnie Lynn O'Farrell of Alton, Illinois, an accomplished singer who had performed with blues guitarist Albert King at age 14 and in the Ike & Tina Turner Revue at 15, moved to Los Angeles in 1967, and met and married Delaney later that year.

Delaney soon formed a band of solid, transient, musicians to back he and Bonnie. The band became known as "Delaney & Bonnie and Friends" due to its regular changes of personnel. They secured a recording contract with Stax Records, and released their first album, Home, on Stax in early 1969. The album flopped, likely due to a serious lack of promotion for this white act on a decidedly black record label.

Delaney and Bonnie went on to record several more succesful albums, and on a tour opening for Blind Faith, they caught the ear of Eric Clapton, who asked to join the band.

They soon recorded a live album, On Tour with Eric Clapton (Atco; recorded in the UK December 7, 1969, released March 1970). This album would be the most successful of Delaney and Bonnie's career, reaching #29 on the Billboard album charts. Clapton also recruited Delaney and Bonnie and their band to back him on his debut solo album, recorded in late 1969/early 1970 and produced by Delaney.

By 1971, Delaney and Bonnie's relationship began to show signs of strain. Their next album was rejected by Atco, who decided to sell Delaney and Bonnie's recording contract - including the new album's master tapes - to CBS as a result. Columbia/CBS released this album, as D&B Together in March 1972. It would be their last album of new material, and the couple divorced in 1973.

Delaney continued onward as a solo act. His most recent appearances on record include the solo album Sweet Inspiration (2003) and Jerry Lee Lewis's Last Man Standing (2006). In 2008 he released an all-blues outting called A New Kind of Blues.

SWAMPLAND spoke with Delaney from his Los Angeles home


I really love your latest album A New Kind of Blues. Give me your thoughts on the album and the people that played on it.

Other than the old masters, I hadn’t heard any old style blues lately. And I had never had a chance to do a blues album before. Blues or country or anything like that. So I thought it was about time. I just started writing some blues songs and that’s how it came about. I had no idea how I was going to get it put out because most record companies have pretty much folded. Some subsidiaries and indies are still hanging on. So I started a corporation and did it my way, started my own way. It’s run by me and my wife Susan. Of course she does all the hard work and I just write the songs and do the music. (Laughs) She does all the typing and stuff with computers. I can turn mine on, that’s just about it.

Who all played on the album? I know our mutual friend Greg Martin played some on it.

He sure did. John Molo played drums, and Chad Watson on bass, John Thomas on keyboards, and David Scott Cohen played some keyboards, and David Morgan - I got a lot of Davids in my band (Laughs) - played some keys and sang some backgrounds with the girls. When we overdubbed the backgrounds it was me and David and then all the girls, so it was a lot of fun. (Laughs)

No doubt. And there are a lot of great songs on the album. Do you have any personal favorites?

“What Do You Do About the Blues” is a favorite. And “Cold & Hard Times,” where I play a solo I thought was kind of nice. Sounds like I was copying a little bit of Duane Allman on there. Everybody asks me what is my favorite song, the answer is it’s the one I’m writing right now. (Laughing)

I really love “Moanin’ Blues.”

Oh yeah, me too.

And the gospel tune, “I’m Gonna Be Ready.”

My mother told me to always put a gospel song on every album. She taught me to play and sing from the time I was a little bitty boy. And there was a black guy that lived with us named R.C. Weatherall, and he taught me about the blues stuff. But I would play in church every Sunday, and Mamo was a big Christian woman, she was very steadfast on it. I just lost her, by the way, about three weeks ago. That was hard on me. But she taught me one time to put a gospel song on every album, and I did every time except once. And I guess I could carry all the records that that one sold in one hand. (Laughs) It didn’t have a gospel song on it. She said “I told you.” It was one of the best albums, on Stax.

Tell me a little bit more about your Mamo, and hoe she influenced you.

Her and her sister and their first cousin sang. They had the most beautiful harmony I ever heard. And her and her sister both play guitar. They were with The Chuckwagon Gang for a while and they sang on their own, but I don’t believe they ever put out a record. Of course she sang on a lot of mine. On that acoustic album we did, Motel Shot, she was all over that one. My aunt got sick, and Mom was feeling pretty good and I wanted her to see her sister before she passed away, so I took her down to see her sister and their first cousin came by. I took a camera down and filmed them all singing one more time. Of course it wasn’t what it used to be but it still had that beauty to it. So I got that captured. I wouldn’t take anything for that.

Speaking of family, didn’t your daughter Bekka sing on the new album?

Yeah, she’s all over it. And I’ll say this in front of anybody, she’s the best singer on the planet. She’s amazing. All of my girls wanted to be singers, and they would say ‘Daddy be hard on us, because we want to be good,’ and I’d say I’ll be hard on you, but if you don’t want to do this just let me know and you can run off and play anytime you want to. I didn’t want to be one of those stage mother type things. So I taught them about being a lead singer, and about harmonies and what they meant, and how to hit them little ol’ licks that I do if they wanted to. And at some point the other girls would say, I’m tired, I want to go play. Bekka would get tears in her eyes and say “I don’t want to go play Daddy, I want to learn.” So I’d tell her okay, and to just let me know when she got tired. By the time she was four years old she could sing three part harmony or sing the 7th or the 9th or whatever you wanted. I used her on a song called “California Rain” when she was just four or five and the harmonies were just great. She had to hold her headset because she was so little it kept flopping down. (Laughs)

I was just watching a video online of Bekka at a table with some folks singing acapella and it was amazing. But of course, she got it honest from both you and Bonnie.

Yeah. That video might have been here at the house. Every Christmas we’d have singing. Sometimes Jerry McGee would be here and others and we’ sit and pick and sing. We did that on my Mom’s 91st birthday as well. Sure did. She would have been 92 on this past March 12th if she had lived. She was just two weeks away from it.

Just to close out the section on Bekka, I have always enjoyed seeing her backing up Faith Hill, but I always maintain that Bekka herself should be out front.

Well, if you’ll notice, Faith Hill is now hitting a lot of vocal licks she was taught by Bekka. They weren’t quite as up to par as Bekka’s, but I knew Bekka had been working with her. And Bekka has perfect pitch, you won’t ever see her go flat or sharp.

I love her voice. I listen to the album she did with Billy Burnette all the time. (Bekka and Billy)

I wrote a song for them one time, and ended up getting to play on it withmy daughter. And Billy is like a son to me. I was hoping that duet would last a while. I really loved they way they sounded together. I don’t know what happened. I guess they were both singing so much with other people. But I loved that album and their presentation onstage was great. And the first time they played The Ryman Auditorium they wanted me to sing a song in their show and I did. I remember when I walked out there I said I can’t believe it, I’m standing right where Hank Williams stood. It gave me chill bumps. (Laughs) So I got to play at The Ryman with my daughter. And their show was incredible. I mean, Bekka is the kind of girl who can walk into a room full of strangers and light it up. In thirty minutes she’ll know every one of them. She’s just got that personality. And Billy has that same personality. I never really found out what happened with that duet.

I know you have had some health problems. Tell me about the esophagus incident a few years back.

That was just before I started recording the album that is out now. And I didn’t even know what an esophagus was. But I wanted to get me a tan, you know. I looked like Mary White, I had a studio tan. (Laughs) So I said well, all that grass out there needs cutting. And I have a big place. I couldn’t get the tractor to work, so I just used the push mower, and it was 115 degrees. And for some reason there wasn’t anybody here but me. And I started seeing fuzzy things and felt like I might pass out. I was sitting here on the porch steps and a taxi cab drove up and a young man got out. He was a young man I had been producing named David Rosston. I said David, what are you doing here? And he said “I don’t know. Something told me to get on a plane and come see you.” He said I looked really hot, and I said yeah, I think I got myself a little too hot. And I asked him if he’d do me a favor and go into the house and get me some ice water.

He brought it to me and I just downed that water, boom! When it hit my esophagus, I started throwing up blood and clots of blood. I lost seven and a half pints of blood before I got to the hospital. I was lucky, he said, are there keys in that car? And I said yes. So he drove me to the hospital. He drove 100 miles an hour. I never passed out, and they said if I had it would have been the end of it. His car looked like somebody had committed a murder in it. The doctors all got together and decided it was my esophagus. So they immediately ran two tubes down my throat and hey put my esophagus back together. It took four hours, and they couldn’t put me to sleep. I couldn’t breathe. I thought for sure I was going to die from not breathing.

Finally the doctor told me they had me back together, but they were going to have to go in and do a clean up because of splattering I had blood all over the inside on my heart and liver. When I finally got back home, I looked good. I had lost all my baby fat and everything. (Laughs) I had two tubes hanging out of me and had gotten blood on my t-shirt. One of my daughters, Suzanne came by and saw me and screamed. She went into the kitchen and lit up all four eyes on the stove and started cooking. She said Daddy I have got to put some weight back on you! I said honey we can’t do it all in one day. The next day I told somebody to bring me a guitar and I had my little cassette recorder I still write on. I wrote down everything I wanted to write and I started recording. (sings) “Come on and lay me down on a big ol’ lumpy bed.

Put your hands all over me and let me lay down my head.” And that was the old “Moanin’ Blues.” I wrote that one, and then Jerry McGee came over. I asked him to set up the recording studio for two guitars. I told him I was still weak, and I was going to do one take, that’s all I could do. I had two people help me in there so I didn’t stumble or something. I sat down and we took one, and that’s what’s on the record. They asked me if I was going to make it through the song and I said, “of course I am.” Then I started writing all of those other songs, “What Do You Do About The Blues,” “A New Kind of Blues.” So we just went in the studio and did the album, nd now I feel fantastic.

That’s great.

So my word of warning to anyone reading this is, don’t get yourself too hot and then drink ice water, because that’s what they say did it. Like I say, I didn’t even know what an esophagus was.

You thought it was some kind of effects pedal. (Laughing)
(Laughing) Yeah! Where is it at, my feet?

One of the first times I ever saw you was in the 1971 film Vanishing Point. Tell me a little about that experience and how you ended up in that movie.

Well, we were doing the Festival Express train tour up in Canada. We went all the way across Canada, and on July 1 it was my birthday and they had told the crowd about it, but I had forgotten it was my birthday. So when i walked out onstage there were 40,000 people singing “Happy Birthday.” I asked someone, do we wait until this song’s over before we start, and they said “That’s for you, dummy.” I said, oh. (Laughs) And then bombs started going off all over the city- boom! Boom! I said come on, that can’t be for me. They said, “No, that’s because it is Canada’s Independence Day.” Ours is July 4th and theirs is the 1st. But that was really something.

Then I had a few days off, and my manager got a call asking if we could fly down to Nevada, that they had a part in this movie for me. They said we were going to be performing in the movie, so I asked him what song. He said I could just pick one, or write one. So on the plane on the way down there I wrote “Wade in the River of Jordan” on the way down. So we flew down to Burbank in the Lear jet, and then we had to get in the little puddle hopper over the mountains to the desert in Nevada. Flying in that little puddle hopper plane you could see the oil shooting out, it was a little scary. Leon (Russell) had gone to do something else and David Gates was there so I asked him if he’d do it.

David Gates that had the band Bread?

Yeah. Uh huh. My Mom was in it. She was holding Bekka, who was just a baby. And Rita Coolidge and Patrice Holloway. After that we got back on that little puddle hopper, and I was afraid we were going to hit the tree tops. That thing was sputtering and carrying on.

Would have scared me to death.

It did me! And I had my kids with me too. Then I got the news that we were booked on The Smothers Brothers Hour in about three hours. I said well, I am supposed to get back to Canada. They told me not to worry, they’d get us back to Canada. So after we did The Smothers Brothers, we got back on that Lear Commander, and I asked that pilot just how fast we were going. He said well, I ain’t supposed to tell you, but we are shittin’ it and gettin’ it. (Laughs) I said are we breaking the sound barrier? He said, we did that a long time ago. Then he said, do you want to fly it? I said yeah. So I sat down in the co-pilot chair and let me fly for a second. So we got to do the movie and the guy liked the song. It was a lot of fun.

Speaking of your songwriting, I heard a bootleg of The Black Crowes from an Australian gig a week or two ago and they sang “Poor Ol’ Elijah.”

Somebody told me that Chris Robinson liked our songs.

Yeah, and Gram’s as well. Among other things.

I heard the other day that Gram (Parsons) recorded “Never Ending Song of Love” before he passed away and it was in the can for years and that it had just been released. I need to get a copy of that and hear it. Gram was a great friend. Every time I was about to tour, he’d call me up and tell me to have a good trip. I always asked him, how do you know when I am going to leave? And he’d laugh and say, “I’m not gonna tell you.” And he never did.

He’d say, “I’ll be hanging out with Mamo. Gram was a happy fellow, but he was also a very sad man. His Dad and Mom both got killed in a car wreck when he was small, and they left him millions of dollars, but he never would touch it. He never did. He said no, I am going to be a musician and write songs. He said if i start spending their money, then I won’t know what it’s like to do it on my own. So he did everything on his own. But he had some real kind of sadness about him and my Mom picked up on it. He would come over every morning while I was on tour and sit and have coffee with her. He didn’t miss a day. And he told me “She saved my life.” I asked her when she was in the hospital, “Do you know how many lives you’ve touched or saved?” She said no. But Gram called her Mama, because he never had one. He was a real friends. You’ve got friends and then you’ve got friends, and Gram was a real friend.

We were about the same age. We had some great times. When we did that Motel Shot album it was on a little six track recorder and they hung microphones everywhere in the house so they’d pick up whoever was playing- me and Leon Russell, Duane Allman, Eric Clapton, Stephen Stills - whoever was playing. The reason I called it Motel Shot was because we used to wind down from our shows and I’d say, let’s go back to the motel and have us a motel shot. So they’d know I had written a couple of new songs and we’d go back to the motel and jam on ‘em. So when we did the album, I said this is going to be a take one situation. There would be no take twos. So in the middle of the session, Gram walks in and he’s had him a few too many beers. He walks in while Leon was taking a solo and just says real loud, “Hey Delaney! You ought to be recording this. This is great!” I looked over at him and said (whispering) “I am!” He finally figured it out, then came over and started singing. But you can hear the door slam and him talking on the album. (Laughs)

In Part Two, Delaney reminisces about Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, a never before printed story about Janis Joplin’s death and much more.


The Delaney Bramlett Interviews 2008 (Part Two) Duane, Janis and Eric

 by Michael Buffalo Smith

Tell me about the time Jimi Hendrix played in your band.

I had Jerry McGee for a guitar player, and we were getting ready to do a tour. The first stop was the Hollywood Palladium. Jerry said “Man, I just forgot. I signed a contract to do a tour with (Kris) Kristofferson. That was when Kris was getting popular as a writer and was getting into acting. So I said, what am I going to do? Because I always hated trying to play rhythm and lead at the same time, you know? It cuts down on my fun with the audience and the band. I love to play rhythm and do some twin guitar stuff like me and Duane did and all that stuff. So I was sitting in the dressing room and it was kind of dark, and I saw this shadow of a man with a guitar slung over his shoulder, and I said “Jimi? Is that you?” He said “Yeah. I heard you don’t have a guitar player.” I said “I sure ain’t.”

And he said, “Well I’m here to be it.” I said “Ain’t you on tour?” And he said, “No, I’m gonna work with you until you find a guitar player. I know all your stuff. He said, now, when you do twin stuff like you and Duane do, I know both parts. Do you want me to play the lead or the harmony?” I said “You play the lead and I’ll take the harmony, so I’ll have time at the end of the lead to crank up and get ready to start singing again. I said “You take a bunch of solos too, so I’ll have time to play around and have some fun. The first night at the Palladium, you could look at peoples faces and they were like, “Is that...no, that can’t be him.” So after a while I said “Hey, sing one of your songs.” So he played an old blues song. And he could play a guitar a little bit, you know (Laughing)...but he just played it straight. At the end of the show I introduced him and the crowd went crazy. He played the next show with me too. It was great fun, and at the end of the set we did a duet on “Yonder Wall.”

What stories are you willing to share about Janis Joplin?

With Janis it was what you see is what you get. She didn’t believe much in her singing. That’s why she was a screamer and all that stuff. She liked to party, but not as much as people thought she did. They expected her to so she did. But one time I sat down with her and I said “Janis, I want you to sing this song. I just wrote it. Just straight, me and you and the guitar.” and she said okay. Actually she had come by the house and asked me if I’d write her a song, so I did. So she came over and I sang her the song and then I said “Now you sing it.” She said “I’m gonna take it down to the studio and cut it right now. Do you want to go down there with me?” And I said yeah.

It’s the weirdest thing. The song goes like this. (Singing) “Five o’clock in the morning. I’m the only one around. Lord it’s Five o’clock in the morning. I’m the only one around. I need a little bit of that Southern comfort. Some place to lay my body down. I don’t want it but I just can’t help myself. Sometimes if feels so hard, guess I’ll wind up in a grave yard.”

She said “That’s my song." It got to be real late. Of course in those days it didn’t matter what time it was. We didn’t have times. So about three in the morning Paul Rothschild called and said “Okay, the track’s done, do you want to come on down?” She said “Yeah, Delaney’s coming with me, but I’ve got to go by my apartment first for a little bit. But Delaney’s coming on down and I’ll see you guys down there."

She was getting real popular and people bothered her a lot at that time, so she had to let him know to let me in. So I went down there an Paul let me in and we were sitting there, and sitting there. And Paul said “Where’s she at?” I said “She said she’d just be a minute, she was going by her apartment.” And she had this one girl that kind of looked after her, like a personal assistant so she wouldn’t be the only girl out there with all those guys. So we called the assistant and told her to run by Janis’ apartment and tell her we were waiting on her and we’re little worried about her. So she went over to the apartment and found Janis dead. She’d fallen between two beds and couldn’t get up and drowned on her own vomit. There was an empty bottle of Southern Comfort there, and I think she downed it before she came to the session and just tripped. That’s what it looked like. It’s really weird that I had written that song that day. Five o’clock in the morning, that’s when she died. I need some Southern Comfort. A place just to lay my body down. I couldn’t believe that.

That’s spooky.

Yeah, and soon after that her producer Paul died. Come to think of it, I don’t believe I’ve ever told that story about Janis to the media in all these years.

Well thank you for sharing it with us. A Southern man talking to another Southern man about a really special Southern girl.

Definitely.

I was just watching the episodes of the old Dick Cavett Show where he interviewed Janis.

(Laughs) Oh, she was something. I liked Cavett too. I did his show several times.

What can you tell me about George Harrison?

George was probably one of the sweetest men I ever met.

Seems like he would be.

Oh, he was pure. People ask me questions and they want me to say something nasty about George, but I couldn’t even if I made it up. George was constantly seeking the Lord. He was a very, very religious man. He could never find a place where he was happy though, but he was always seeking God. And that’s why he asked me at Albert Hall after a concert if I’d teach him to play slide the old Mississippi blues way. I said “George, you ain’t a bad guitar player. You’ve done pretty good with that little ol’ group you just left.” (Both laughing) I said, “You don’t stink as a guitar player.” He said no but I don’t know how to play that stuff you play." He said “I want to know and would you show me how to write a gospel song where it just praises the Lord?” And I said that I sure would. He’s heard a lot of my gospel stuff and he wanted to learn how to do that. He said “I’ve tried every kind of religion and I’m not happy, but if I could learn to write a song like that it just might set me on my path.” And I said “It just might do it.” So I came up with the first melody I thought of, which was (sings) “He’s my kind of guy. Do-lang, do-lang, do-lang.”

“He’s So Fine.”

Yeah. So we used the melody for a quickie lesson. And I started singing (sings) “My sweet Lord. I just want to feel you Lord.” And I said we’ll throw these backing singers in there singing “Hallelujah.” George’s eyes were getting bigger and bigger. The next thing I knew I was hearing that record out on the radio. And George called me up and told me “Your name’s not on it as a writer but it will be on the next pressing.” But I knew it wouldn’t be because they’d have to change the whole cover and everything. But he didn’t mean to leave my name off and it didn’t matter anyway, I was just happy to help him out. He told me “That song got me to where I’ve been looking to go.” And I said “Well, it was worth it.”

Of course every country in the world sued him and they won. They wanted me to go to these different countries and testify as to how the song came about, and I wanted to, but I had just landed a job writing music for The Stockard Channing Show. I said I couldn’t leave town because they were shooting a whole bunch of those things. He said “I’ll see if Bonnie can, because she was there.” I said I didn’t know if that would work, but I said “She’ll enjoy a free trip. She’ll take a free trip in a minute. The first court they asked her, “Did you write any of that with George?” She said “No.” The judge called it hearsay and said he couldn’t take her testimony. If she’d done what I did, then it would have been fine. But I’ve hated it ever since that I couldn’t go over there and help George. It might not have made a difference but I think that it probably would have. But you don’t break a contract with Stockard Channing. She’s rowdy enough without that. She’ll cut your eyes out. (Laughs)

How did you first meet your friend Duane Allman?

I met Duane through Jerry Wexler. I had met him before, but we didn’t get to know each other or anything like that. I’d seen him doing sessions with Aretha and stuff. But Jerry told me, “You need to get together with Duane Allman. You two would make some classic records, the way you play guitar and the way he plays. I said yeah, but he’s got a band. Jerry said “It’s worth a try.” So I called him up and asked him what he was doing nd he said nothing. I asked him if he’d play some shows with me, and he said “Yeah! Delaney I’ve always wanted to play with you.” I said, “Well I’ve always loved your playing.” Before I knew it he was at my house. From then on, The Allman Brothers would be on tour and they’d be looking for Duane and he’d be out here on tour with me. (Laughs) He’d call me from the airport and say hey bro, can you come pick me up? I’m here.

Phil Walden, who owned their record company, sued me about seven or eight times for soliciting. Duane would always say “Nope, you can’t sue him. I’m the one who solicited him.” So nothing ever came of it. But we got to be best friends, and if you saw one of us you saw the other. And King Curtis rounded out the trio. I mean, me and Duane and Curtis, we hung together and we made some real good music. You know Duane got little strung out on drugs, and I talked to him and asked him before he got any worse if he’d go to the hospital. He said, “Do you think it would work?” He got to the hospital, and it would have been easy because he wasn’t that bad off, but he was like me and had a bad temper. He told the nurse, “I need a little something to calm me down. I’m kind of hurting.” And the nurse yelled at him, “Oh all you druggie hippie musicians come here for help and just go back out and do it all again!” It made him mad, so he just got up, put his clothes on and got on his motorcycle and took off. And that’s when he hit that peach truck and died.

He was supposed to play with me the next night. We had two shows scheduled. I did the first show, looking for Duane. Then I asked my brother who was my manager at the time if he’d herd from Duane and he said no. Well just as I was getting ready to do my second show, my brother Johnny ran out onstage and told me Duane had been killed. I was stunned. I had to do the second show with that on my mind. It liked to have killed me.

Jerry (Wexler) called me and said everybody wanted me to sing at the funeral. I said, my God Jerry, do you know how hard that’s gonna be? He said yeah, but he’s your best friend. Sure enough it was hard just like I said it was gonna be. And see, just five weeks before that me and Duane had gone to Curtis’ funeral, because he was murdered, you know. Some Puerto Ricans were fighting outside his motel door and he asked them to quiet down because someone was going to call the cops, and he didn’t want to see the cops out there. Well, he turned around and got stabbed in the back. When he said “You hurt me real bad,” the guy stabbed him in the heart. He died on the way to the hospital. Duane and I went to his funeral, and five weeks later I went to Duane’s. The trio was busted up.

That’s awful man. One quote I read some years go came from Wexler, who said he once sat and listed to you and Duane playing acoustic guitars on his porch for hours. Jerry said it was some of the very best music he had ever heard.

Yeah. (Laughs) He said, here I am a recording producer, and you guys spent a week here doing that, and I didn’t record a single note of it. He said “That was the dumbest thing I ever did in my career. Because that was the prettiest music I ever heard.” We would have had enough for ten albums. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

I read Eric Clapton’s autobiography a few week ago, and he had a lot of great things to say about you, and credits you with teaching him to sing.

Well, Eric was timid about singing. His imagination of singing came through the guitar. I told him he needed to start singing, and he said he just couldn’t do that. I told him yes, he could. So I sat with him kind of like I did with George. I taught him the importance of using the diaphragm to achieve power and the throat for tone. I’ve done shows where I could barely talk, but I got through them using the diaphragm. I got through some shows on the skin of my teeth. When I was producing his first album, some of the songs I would sing, and then he’d copy me, and he’d work on them until he was satisfied with them. If you listen closely on the record, you can hear a ghost of my voice on some of it.

The way I got to be friends with Eric was when we opened a tour for Blind Faith. He and Steve Winwood were not getting along, and Eric nd Ginger Baker. They wouldn’t even fly on the same plane. Of course we just bussed it everywhere. (Laughs) We partied and had a good time. So one night Eric said “Can I ride the bus with y’all?” I said “Yeah!” So we’d just get in the back of the bus where it was bigger and we’d just sit and write songs. Then one night he said, “Would you mind, when y’all are playing, if I came out and jammed a little bit? I’ve kind of got your songs down.” I said “Not at all!” Later he asked me if he could join the band, and at the end of the tour he quit Blind Faith to come with me. Then later after I gave George the guitar lessons, he asked me, “You hired Eric, will you hire me too?” I said, “Yeah, I’ll hire you!” (Laughs) I’ve got all kinds of pictures of us sitting in the back of the bus. (Laughs) We drove all over Europe in that bus.

Well. I have one last question, and that is, can you tell our readers what you have on the boards for the immediate future?

Well, I am working on a new album that I am mastering in the mastering lab. I’ll tell you, if you like the current album, the blues album, then the new one is gonna knock you in the dirt. I’m in love with this blues album, but this new one, I can’t listen to it without getting chill bumps myself. There’s a lot of rock and roll on the new one. I re-recorded a song me and Eric wrote called “Bad Boy” that is on there. I think it will be out in six to eight weeks. And I am getting ready to do a whole bunch of interviews in Europe, and I want to start playing out and seeing old friends and meeting some new ones.

Well, Delaney. Thank you for your time brother.

You are very welcome Michael. Just call me anytime and we’ll talk some more.

You can count on it. Thanks again.

 

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