The Secret Of Eric Clapton's Early Success

Eric Clapton's first solo record is a classic, with hits like "After Midnight" and "Let It Rain."  

This marked a turning point in his career not just because it was his first solo record, but also because he connected with an amazing group of American musicians led by Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett.

It's hard to overstate how important Delaney and Bonnie were at this point in Clapton's development as a singer and songwriter. In fact, Delaney Bramlett is famously cited as the guy who got Eric Clapton to sing. The working title of this first record was joking called, Eric Sings

Clapton clearly loved being part of this broader group of musicians, rather than a superstar leader of Cream and Blind Faith. He likened it to being in groups like The Band, made up of stunning musicians, equal partners in making the records sound great.​​​​​​

The other musicians in Delaney and Bonnie's band were giants in their own right. Especially the rhythm section of Jim Gordon on drums and Carl Radle on bass. These guys were considered one of the best rhythm sections in the world at that time.

And the horn section of Bobby Keys, who later went on to a long association with the Rolling Stones, and Jim Price added icing to the cake.

Here's another great result of their collaboration, Delaney & Bonnie & Friends On Tour With Eric Clapton

Check out this video clip of Eric and Delaney and Bonnie on the song "Elijah." Here Eric is just the sideman acoustic guitar player and Delaney is singing:

And for those who want to go REALLY deep, there's the box set from Rhino Records released back in 2010. But be forewarned, it's out of print and the price point is pretty steep:

Here's a link to a definitive article about Clapton's first record and his association with Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett. 

 

Related Links

If you like the early Eric Clapton records, you might also like the sound and musicianship on Gooseneck's latest record, Flyin' High. Get a FREE DOWNLOAD at this link or by clicking the image below:

3 comments

  • Lmq

    Lmq MA

    Leon Russell played on that album too.

    Leon Russell played on that album too.

  • No’l

    No’l L.A.

    It was already 1973, I was late to the party, but our guitarist was a fanatic who introduced me to this album. Some of the first tunes I’ve learned to play. It might be the reason why I still listen to the album.

    It was already 1973, I was late to the party, but our guitarist was a fanatic who introduced me to this album. Some of the first tunes I’ve learned to play. It might be the reason why I still listen to the album.

  • Switchboss

    Switchboss

    Lowell George wrote this one. It is the story of Delaney and Bonnie meeting, Delaney and Bonnie time together, Bonnie running off with Eric Clapton (that guitar player sure could play) and I my view a little disrespect for Bonnie in the end...... All the boys at the bar knew her tune. This is a cool song, with a cool story. I think that the song is even better when you know the story. Now you do. You need to get the lope just right, like Richie Hayward could, and cover this song! after all, "you're always handy with a song", and "you always like to sing along" too. I've seen the bright lights of Memphis And the Commodore Hotel And underneath a street lamp, I met a southern belle Oh she took me to the river, where she cast her spell And in that southern moonlight, she sang this song so well If you'll be my Dixie chicken I'll be your Tennessee lamb And we can walk together down in Dixieland Down in Dixieland We made all the hotspots, my money flowed like wine Then the low-down southern whiskey, yea, began to fog my mind And I don't remember church bells, or the money i put down On the white picket fence and boardwalk On the house at the end of town Oh but boy do i remember the strain of her refrain And the nights we spent together And the way she called my name If you'll be my Dixie chicken I'll be your Tennessee lamb And we can walk together down in Dixieland Down in Dixieland Many years since she ran away Yes that guitar player sure could play She always liked to sing along She always handy with a song But then one night at the lobby of the Commodore Hotel I chanced to meet a bartender who said he knew her well And as he handed me a drink he began to hum a song And all the boys there, at the bar, began to sing along If you'll be my Dixie chicken I'll be your Tennessee lamb And we can walk together down in Dixieland Down in Dixieland, Down in Dixieland

    Lowell George wrote this one. It is the story of Delaney and Bonnie meeting, Delaney and Bonnie time together, Bonnie running off with Eric Clapton (that guitar player sure could play) and I my view a little disrespect for Bonnie in the end...... All the boys at the bar knew her tune.

    This is a cool song, with a cool story. I think that the song is even better when you know the story. Now you do. You need to get the lope just right, like Richie Hayward could, and cover this song!
    after all,
    "you're always handy with a song", and
    "you always like to sing along" too.

    I've seen the bright lights of Memphis
    And the Commodore Hotel
    And underneath a street lamp, I met a southern belle
    Oh she took me to the river, where she cast her spell
    And in that southern moonlight, she sang this song so well

    If you'll be my Dixie chicken I'll be your Tennessee lamb
    And we can walk together down in Dixieland
    Down in Dixieland

    We made all the hotspots, my money flowed like wine
    Then the low-down southern whiskey, yea, began to fog my mind
    And I don't remember church bells, or the money i put down
    On the white picket fence and boardwalk
    On the house at the end of town
    Oh but boy do i remember the strain of her refrain
    And the nights we spent together
    And the way she called my name

    If you'll be my Dixie chicken I'll be your Tennessee lamb
    And we can walk together down in Dixieland
    Down in Dixieland

    Many years since she ran away
    Yes that guitar player sure could play
    She always liked to sing along
    She always handy with a song
    But then one night at the lobby of the Commodore Hotel
    I chanced to meet a bartender who said he knew her well
    And as he handed me a drink he began to hum a song
    And all the boys there, at the bar, began to sing along

    If you'll be my Dixie chicken I'll be your Tennessee lamb
    And we can walk together down in Dixieland
    Down in Dixieland, Down in Dixieland

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