Delaine Alvin “Delaney” Bramlett (July 1, 1939 – December 27, 2008) was an American singer and guitarist. He was best known for his musical partnership with his wife Bonnie Bramlett in the band Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, which included a wide variety of other musicians, many of whom were successful in other contexts.
Bramlett was born in Pontotoc, Mississippi. He began playing guitar when he was eight years old, but didn’t get serious about the instrument until he was a teenager. He started singing in school and at twelve he had a quartet. Bramlett joined the United States Navy before he was 17, serving for two and half to three years. He took boot camp at Naval Station Great Lakes, spending over half his hitch there.
After his discharge, he moved to Los Angeles in the early 1960s, where he worked as a bartender before he started performing in clubs.
Bramlett was performing at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood when he was asked to appear in a pilot for a new television show, Shindig!. By 1965, Bramlett was a regular member of the Shindogs, the show’s house band. He collaborated as a songwriter with fellow musicians Joey Cooper, Mac Davis, and Jackie DeShannon. During this time, he worked with J.J. Cale and Leon Russell and released some unsuccessful solo singles. Bramlett was the first artist signed to Independence Records, headed by Phil Skaff. His debut single “Guess I Must be Dreamin” was produced by Russell, entering the Cashbox “Looking Ahead” survey on May 14, 1967.
In the late 1960s British guitar icon Eric Clapton joined Delaney & Bonnie & Friends on tour, after which Bramlett produced and co-wrote songs for Clapton’s debut solo album, Eric Clapton. Clapton has credited Bramlett for pushing him to sing and teaching him the art of rock vocals. Bramlett produced King Curtis’s last album, which produced two hit singles, “Teasin'” and “Lonesome Long Way from Home”.
Bramlett taught Beatles lead guitarist George Harrison to play slide guitar, prominently featured in Harrison’s hit “My Sweet Lord”. Bramlett wrote, recorded, or appeared on stage with many notable performers, including Joe Cocker, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Billy Preston, John Lennon, the Everly Brothers, Duane Allman, Spooner Oldham, Steve Cropper, and Billy Burnette.
Members of the Friends appearing in concert or recording with Bramlett on Friends albums include Clapton, Harrison, Leon Russell, Curtis, Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, Carl Radle, Jim Gordon, Bobby Whitlock, Jim Keltner, Bobby Keys, and Gram Parsons.
Their album Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour With Eric Clapton (1970) reached No. 29 on the Billboard 200. Between 1970 and 1972, the duo had seven songs chart on the Billboard Hot 100, including their best-known single, the poignant “Never Ending Song of Love”, which peaked at No. 13 and a cover of Dave Mason’s “Only You Know and I Know”, which peaked at No. 20. Delaney & Bonnie ended their professional and personal relationship in 1972.
In 2006, Bramlett was one of the duet artists on the Jerry Lee Lewis album Last Man Standing, singing and playing guitar on “Lost Highway”. In 2008, Bramlett released his first CD in six years, A New Kind of Blues. He died later that year.
Bramlett was married to Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell. The couple had a daughter Bekka Bramlett, who was briefly a member of Fleetwood Mac in the mid 1990s and has had a long career as a vocalist, backing various country and pop artists and releasing several solo albums. Their marriage was marred by violence due to their cocaine addictions. They divorced in 1972, ending their musical partnership as well.
Bramlett married Kim Carmel Bramlett in 1992. They were together for 13 years, the longest relationship of Delaney’s by far. Kim, a versatile musician/singer as well as chief engineer at the studio, recorded the last several albums during the period of 1989–2000. They divorced in 2001.
Bramlett died from complications of gallbladder surgery at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center in Los Angeles on December 27, 2008. Surviving were his widow Susan Lanier-Bramlett; a brother, John Wayne Bramlett; three daughters, Michele Bramlett, Suzanne Bramlett, and Bekka Bramlett; and two grandchildren. He was buried at Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
Described in an obituary as a “Southern Legend”, Bramlett’s song “Never Ending Song of Love” has been covered by others and was used on the soundtrack of the films RV and A Good Year. Bramlett co-wrote Clapton’s hit song “Let It Rain”.
Bramlett was inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame on January 18, 2011. (wikipedia)
And here´s his last album:
Delaney Bramlett is nothing less than a musical treasure. Now into his fifth decade as a musician, writer, producer and all around music mogul, Delaney sounds just as good as ever. A New Kind of Blues is his latest masterpiece, a collection of eleven smoking tracks, ten of which were written by Bramlett himself.
Delaney’s smokey soul vocals never sounded better, kicking the set off with “What Do You Do About the Blues,” an amazingly soulful, horn backed track. The sound of a cool Southern rain leads us into a Dobro blues called “Mighty Mighty Mississippi.” Swampy? You bet. So very good.
“Ol’ Moanin’ Blues” finds Delaney at his best, a modern day Robert Johnson, writing what he feels and feeling what he plays, and the title track, “A New Kind of Blues” gets so down and dirty, I felt like I was in a Mississippi juke joint. Great horns and keys only serve to enhance Delaney’s amazing guitar work.
“P.O. Box 32789” is a great blues about a bar fight, featuring Stan “The Man” Ruffeo on harp, and in his sole cover tune (“soul cover tune”) Delaney blows the roof off the joint with Sam Cooke’s “Change Gonna Come.” Have mercy!
Something about “I Got the Time” reminds me of Delaney’s old friend Leon Russell. What a killer track. But then again, I have nothing but good to say about every track on the record. It’s all good. It’s a star studded family affair of an album, with Delaney’s daughter Bekka Bramlett and his mother Iva “Mamo” Bramlett on backing vocals, and friends Greg Martin (Kentucky Headhunters), Jerry McGee, Mark Karan, Hank Barrio, and Chad Watson adding some guitar work. There’s a bushel of other great players featured on the album too, but us guitar players stick together.
The CD ends with a rave up gospel number, “I’m Gonna Be Ready,” showcasing Delaney smack dab in the middle of his element. One of my favorite albums ever was Delaney & Bonnie’s Motel Shot, because to me, Delaney is one of the finest gospel singers on the planet. Amazing. Can I get a “hallelujah?”
A New Kind of Blues is not to be missed. It is to be cherished. A new classic, from a living legend. (Michael Buffalo Smith)
Hank Barrio (guitar)
Delaney Bramlett (vocals, guitar, sitar)
Kim Carmel (horn, background vocals)
David Scott Cohen (keyboards)
Mike Faul (percussion)
John Fumo (horns)
Bob Gross (bass)
Mark Karan (guitar)
Darrell Leonard (horns)
Al Lichtenstein (drums)
Al di Marco (keyboards)
Jerry McGee (guitar)
John Molo (drums)
Felix Ramos (horns)
Don Randi (keyboards)
David Raven (drums)
Stan “the Man” Ruffeo (harmonica)
Joe Sublett (horns)
Chad Watson (bass, guitar, horns)
Bekka Bramlett – Iva Lazone “Mamo” Bramlett – Dawn Feusi – Janny Murphy
01. What Do You Do About The Blues (Bramlett/Morgan) 3.58
02. Cold & Hard Times (Bramlett) 4.42
03. Mighty Mighty Mississippi (Bramlett) 6.02
04. Ol’ Moanin’ Blues (Bramlett) 6.18
05. A New Kind Of Blues (Bramlett/Sharp) 4.56
06. Pontotoc (Bramlett/Morgan) 4.12
07. Ain’t Got Nothin’ To Lose (Bramlett/Gilmore/Sharp) 4.11
08. P.O. Box 32789 (Bramlett/Sharp) 4.45
09. Change Gonna Come (Cooke) 4.13
10. I Got The Time (Bramlett) 4.45
11. I’m Gonna Be Ready (Bramlett) 6.16
The official website: