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Cream: The First Power Trio in Rock

Cream

Formed: late 1966 in London, England
Years Active: 1966 through 1968
Group’s Main Members: Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce (passed in 2015), Ginger Baker

Over a cup of tea at his mother-in-law’s flat, Jack Bruce agreed to let ‘bygones be bygones’ with Ginger Baker and the three of them got together for the first rehearsal in Ginger’s ground floor maisonette at 154 Braemar Avenue, Neasden in North West London, just a stone’s throw from Wembley Stadium where English football history was very soon to be made. It was an auspicious summer. Continue reading Cream: The First Power Trio in Rock

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Delaney Bramlett 12/2008

Delaney Bramlett December 27, 2008 – Delaine Alvin “Delaney” Bramlett  was born on July 1st, 1939 in Pontotoc Mississippi. Life in his hometown wasn’t for the budding music man and the only way to survive was to pick cotton or join the Armed Services. As a young kid however he was hanging around a studio in town watching everything and did some early demos for another Mississippian, Elvis Presley and played a cardboard box as a drum on a George Jones record.

Delaney joined the Navy for three years and said goodbye to Mississippi. After his release from the Navy with Mississippi in his heart and his feet in Los Angeles he moved his family to be with him, where he has remained ever since.

Living in Los Angeles now, he became a regular on the TV show Shindig as a Shindog, the house band. He was already busy writing with the likes of Joey Cooper, Mac Davis and Jackie DeShannon. Over the years, some of his songs have reached “standard” status such as “Superstar”, “Never Ending Song of Love” and “Let It Rain, among others.

Known as a great songwriter, singer and musician, he has also been a mentor to some of the very best: Eric Clapton, George Harrison, J.J. Cale and Bobby Whitlock to name just a few.

After Eric Clapton joined Delaney on tour he produced and co-wrote songs for Clapton’s first solo LP. Due to contractual obligations he relinquished the writer credit to his then wife, Bonnie Bramlett enabling him to keep them in the family. Clapton still credits Delaney for pushing him to sing and teaching him the art.

He met Bonnie Lynn O’Farrell in 1967 and married her seven days later. Delaney & Bonnie & Friends shared the stage with “Friends” that included Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, George Harrison, Dave Mason, Rita Coolidge, Gram Parsons and John Lennon to name just a few. A complete list of collaborations both in songwriting and performance reads like a history of Rock and Roll. Delaney & Bonnie released five outstanding albums, their first recording being “Home” on Stax Records. Hit singles such as “Soul Shake,” “Never Ending Song of Love,” and “Only You Know & I Know” kept them on the charts. The duo broke up personally and professionally in 1973.

George Harrison had his first slide bottle placed in his hand by Delaney who quickly taught George how to play slide and write a Gospel song. Out of that lesson came “My Sweet Lord”.

The great attraction of Delaney was no doubt the raw soulful sounds and the voice that could tear your heart out with emotion no matter where you came from. Just being in a room with him made you a part of his special style and music.

He died from complications during gallbladder surgery on Dec 27, 2008 at age 69.

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Jesse Ed
Davis
6/1988

jesse-ed-davisJune 22, 1988 – Jesse Edwin Davis  was born on September 21, 1944 in Norman, Oklahoma. His father, Jesse Ed Davis II, was Muscogee Creek and Seminole while his mother’s side was Kiowa. He graduated from Northeast High School in 1962. He earned a degree in literature from the University of Oklahoma before beginning his musical career touring with Conway Twitty in the early ’60s. Eventually the guitarist moved to California, joining bluesman Taj Mahal and playing guitar and piano on his first three albums. It was with Mahal that Davis was able to showcase his skill and range, playing slide, lead, and rhythm, country, and even jazz guitar, also making an appearance with the band as a musical guest in The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus.

The period backing Mahal was the closest Davis came to being in a band full-time, and after Mahal’s 1969 album Giant Step, he went on to work closely with ex-Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison, playing guitar on several of their solo albums. He released his first solo album the self-titled album Jesse Davis in 1971. Davis also began doing session work for such diverse acts as David Cassidy, Albert King, Willie Nelson, Ringo Starr, Leonard Cohen, Keith Moon, Jackson Browne, Steve Miller, Harry Nilsson, Van Dyke Parks and others. In addition, he also released three solo albums featuring industry friends such as Leon Russell and Eric Clapton.

Prone to addictions, Davis disappeared from the music industry for a time, spending much of the ’80s dealing with alcohol and drug addiction.  Davis resurfaced playing in the Graffiti Band in late 1986, which coupled his music with the poetry of American Indian activist John Trudell. The kind of expert, tasteful playing that Davis always brought to an album is sorely missed among the acts he worked with.

Jesse Ed Davis was perhaps the most versatile session guitarist of the late ’60s and early ’70s. Whether it was blues, country, or rock, Davis’ tasteful guitar playing was featured on albums by such giants as Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, John Lennon, and John Lee Hooker, among others. It is Davis’ weeping slide heard on Clapton’s “Hello Old Friend” (from No Reason to Cry), and on both Rock n’ Roll and Walls & Bridges, it is Davis who supplied the bulk of the guitar work for ex-Beatle Lennon.

In the Spring of ’87, The Graffiti Band performed with Taj Mahal at the Palomino Club, and George Harrison, Bob Dylan and John Fogerty rose from the audience to join Jesse and Taj Mahal in an unrehearsed set which included Fogerty’s “Proud Mary” and Dylan’s “Watching the River Flow” and “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Peggy Sue”, “Honey Don’t”, “Matchbox”, and “Gone, Gone, Gone”.

He tragically died of a suspected drug overdose on June 22, 1988 at the age of 43.

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Carl
Radle
5/1980

carl-radleMay 30, 1980 – Carl Dean Radle was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 18th 1942. Although clarinet and piano lessons in his childhood failed to fascinate him, sometime during his years at Edison High School (Tulsa) he fell in love with rock and roll. By the time he graduated in 1960 he had bought an old used guitar and basically began to teach himself how to play. As he became more accomplished, he began playing in local clubs with fellow friends and musicians David Gates, Russell Bridges (Leon Russell), Johnny (J. J.) Cale, Jim Markham, Tommy Tripplehorn, Jim Karstein, Chuck Blackwell, Larry Bell, and a host of others, even though most of them were under the legal age limit for being granted entrance into the nightspots.

After graduating from high school this group of musicians, who would have to be considered the vanguard of what was to eventually be dubbed “The Tulsa Sound”, began migrating to California to try to break into the music business. Leon Russell was one of the earliest to make this move and his home/studio on Skyhill Drive in Hollywood became a haven for these young Tulsa musicians and assorted friends who needed a place to stay. They often played as back-up musicians in clubs, with new upcoming singers, like Bobby Rydell, fronting the act. During this time he recorded with a group called Skip & Flip, releasing a single, Tossin’ and Turnin’ / Everyday I Have to Cry.
After about a year of finding it difficult to make a living in the music world, in 1964 Carl decided to return to Tulsa and joined the Air National Guard, being stationed in Texas for about a year. After Carl’s discharge in 1965 and when he had once again returned to Tulsa, Leon Russell called him from California offering a “huge opportunity”, a position as new bass player for the Gary Lewis & the Playboys.

Carl decided to give the music business one more try and he made the move back to California. He recorded and toured with Gary Lewis & the Playboys for about one year, making appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, Shindig, Hullabaloo, and The Tonight Show. Fellow Tulsans Jimmy Karstein and Tommy Tripplehorn were also members of this group, and during this time they spun out many “top ten” singles, including “Everybody Loves a Clown” and “Count Me In.” To date, Carl’s contributions are included on fourteen of Gary’s albums. This trip came to an end, however, when in January of 1967 Gary was called into military service and the band dissolved.

Carl remained in California doing studio work and pick-up gigs including working behind Dobie Gray in club engagements. He did some recording with John Lee Hooker and appeared on two albums (“The Colours” and “Atmosphere”) in 1968 with a group called The Colours, which also included Tulsan Chuck Blackwell.

In 1969, Leon Russell once again influenced Carl’s destiny, by introducing him to Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett to help form the group “Delaney, Bonnie & Friends.” This group also included Leon, Rita Coolidge, and Dave Mason. On tour the group performed as the opening act for “Blind Faith,” a group which included Eric Clapton. Upon Blind Faith’s demise, Eric Clapton joined up with the Bramletts for a tour and album titled Delaney & Bonnie & Friends on Tour. Carl collaborated on writing and arranging two of their hit songs, “Get Ourselves Together” and “Never Ending Song of Love.”

This group disbanded after about a year and in early 1970 several of the members, including Carl, joined Leon Russell who was forming the “Joe Cocker, Mad Dogs and Englishmen” ensemble. The company had more than two dozen musicians and performers, and the tour covered 46 cities in 56 days. From it emerged the biggest rock and roll tour in history, a major movie and a gold album.

In the meantime, Bobby Whitlock had started hanging with Eric Clapton who wanted to put together a group to tour and promote his first solo album. Bobby called in Carl and L.A. born drummer, Jim Gordon. Sidetracked at first, they took time in May and July of 1970 to collaborate with George Harrison on his “All Things Must Pass” album, which included the hit singles “My Sweet Lord” and “What is Life”. During a break in June, Eric, Jim, Bobby and Carl began seriously rehearsing and they completed their first single, “Tell the Truth, with “Roll it Over” on the B side. After the George Harrison sessions were finished in late summer of that year, Clapton’s new group resumed sessions at Criteria Studios in Miami, Florida, with Tom Dowd at the production helm, resulting in what has become one of the greatest classic rock albums of all time, “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”. Duane Allman’s guitar work was also a prominent contribution to this effort.  The group took time off in August of 1971 to help George Harrison in his benefit effort, the Concert for Bangladesh, an ensemble of great artists including Bob Dylan, Billy Preston, Ringo Starr, Leon Russell, Jim Keltner, and others. The two live concerts held on August 1, 1971, at Madison Square Garden resulted in another album and movie.

Derek and the Dominos began working on sessions for another group of songs, but being dissatisfied with the results and the tensions that resulted, the band dissolved and a disillusioned Eric took a three year hiatus. For the next three years Carl stayed busy with session work on projects by various artists, including Art Garfunkel, Duane Allman, John Lee Hooker, Rita Coolidge, Leon Russell, Bobby Whitlock, Donovan and Freddie King.

In April of 1974, he coaxed Eric Clapton out of seclusion and resurfaced with a band consisting of George Terry, Carl Radle, Jamie Oldaker, Dick Sims and Yvonne Elliman on vocals. The group once again began recording in Criteria Studios, under Dowd’s direction, to create the popular “461 Ocean Boulevard” album. Carl again brought his arranging abilities into play on the “Motherless Children” track for this album.

For the next five years, Carl, Eric and this group of musicians including the addition of vocalist Marcy Levy, worked closely together on an almost endless string of highly successful gold and platinum albums.
In 1979, Eric was ready for a new sound. That summer he dissolved the band and all the musicians went separate ways in their careers. Carl worked for a while with Peter Frampton, but soon returned to Tulsa where he enjoyed working with local musicians once again.

He died from a kidney infection on May 30 of 1980, at age 37, effected by alcohol and narcotics.