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Where There’s a Will: Derek and the Dominos’ Bobby Whitlock Joined by Clapton, Harrison, Delaney and Bonnie On Reissued Solo LPs

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Bobby Whitlock - Where There's a WillThe story of Bobby Whitlock is one that intersects with rock royalty like George Harrison and Eric Clapton – and now Light in the Attic’s Future Days Recordings imprint is getting ready to tell the story of the Derek and the Dominos pianist-organist. On June 25, Future Days will reissue Whitlock’s two solo albums for ABC-Dunhill, Bobby Whitlock and Raw Velvet (both from 1972), as one 2-CD set entitled Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: The ABC-Dunhill Recordings.  For purists, the label will also issue the two albums as individual remastered vinyl LPs with the liner notes and the original artwork.  In any edition, though, Bobby Whitlock’s albums are a true southern soul stew, with guest appearances from the aforementioned Messrs. Harrison and Clapton plus Delaney and Bonnie, Klaus Voormann, and fellow Dominos Carl Radle and Jim Gordon.

A real-life son of a preacher man, Whitlock rose from the impoverished streets of Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri to follow his musical muse from Memphis all the way to the United Kingdom.  In Memphis, he befriended the house band at Stax Records, supplying handclaps for Sam and Dave’s “I Thank You” and recording for the label’s HIP pop imprint.  It was a Stax session with new signings Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett that led Whitlock first to Los Angeles and then across the ocean.  In sunny California, he joined Delaney and Bonnie’s Friends – a fluid group that also included Leon Russell, Jim Keltner, Rita Coolidge, Bobby Keys, Jerry Scheff, Joe Tex, Dave Mason, and future Dominos Radle and Gordon.  This hot new band was a favorite of George Harrison’s, and when he played Delaney and Bonnie’s tapes to Eric Clapton, the guitar god arranged for them to support Blind Faith on the band’s U.S. tour.  Before long, Clapton became disenchanted with his supergroup – including Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker and Ric Grech – and looked to the American band for inspiration.  Before long, Blind Faith was through, and Eric Clapton was touring as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends with Eric Clapton.

Hit the jump for more on Bobby Whitlock’s musical odyssey – including the track listing and pre-order links for Where There’s s Will!

Bobby Whitlock didn’t only tour with the group, but joined them to back Clapton on his 1970 solo debut.  The siren call of Joe Cocker’s raucous Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour soon beckoned to Delaney and Bonnie’s Friends, however, and many decamped.  Whitlock at first remained loyal to the Bramletts, but he later defected, too, desiring more musical freedom.  He found it on a visit to Clapton in England.  Soon, they hit on the idea of forming the band that became Derek and the Dominos.  Even before the release of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, the band had solidified by serving as the de facto backing group for George Harrison on his post-Beatles debut All Things Must Pass.  Whitlock even was a part of Harrison’s extended family when he dated Paula Boyd, the sister of the then-Mrs. Harrison (and the future Mrs. Clapton), Pattie Boyd.

To promote Layla, Derek and the Dominos toured America and England in the latter half of 1970, and following that tour, Whitlock set out to record his solo debut.  Despite the presence of Clapton, Harrison, Radle and Gordon on the record, Atlantic rejected it.  A fortuitous series of events led Whitlock to ABC-Dunhill, and the label – once home to the Mamas and the Papas and the Grass Roots – picked up Bobby Whitlock as well as committing to a follow-up.  These two albums have been compiled by Future Days on one CD.

Bobby Whitlock features Harrison and Clapton guesting on “Where There’s a Will,” “A Day Without Jesus” and “Back in My Life Again.”  Clapton also played on “The Scenery Has Slowly Changed.”  Delaney and Bonnie even joined their old Friend for “A Day Without Jesus,” “Country Life,” and “I’d Rather Live the Straight Life,” with Delaney contributing guitar to “Song for Paula.”  Bobby Keys, on saxophone, was present on the album, along with Jim Gordon, Carl Radle, Klaus Voormann and Jim Keltner.  On sophomore album Raw Velvet, Whitlock was joined by The Edwin Hawkins Singers on two songs, while Clapton, Delaney and Bonnie, and Jim Gordon reunited for “Hello, L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham.”  Whitlock wrote or co-wrote every song on both albums except for Raw Velvet’s “Ease Your Pain,” written specifically for Whitlock by Hoyt Axton.

The reissue, produced by Pat Thomas, is housed in a digipak and includes a lavish 48-page booklet with many rare full-color photographs, liner notes by Marc Roberty (co-author of Whitlock’s A Rock ‘n’ Roll Autobiography) and track-by-track annotations by Whitlock himself.  In Thomas’ words, Whitlock’s “first two solo albums are the missing link for all this seminal music that has been on CD for years: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, All Things Must Pass, Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Dave Mason’s Alone Together, and Delaney & Bonnie and Friends On Tour with Eric Clapton.”  Now, the chain is complete with the June 25 release of Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way.

You can order the CD or the individual 180-gram vinyl reissues below!

Bobby Whitlock, Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: The ABC-Dunhill Recordings (Future Days FDR 602, 2013)

  1. Where There’s a Will
  2. Song for Paula
  3. A Game Called Life
  4. Country Life
  5. A Day Without Jesus
  6. Back in My Life Again
  7. The Scenery Has Slowly Changed
  8. I’d Rather Live the Straight Life
  9. The Dreams of a Hobo
  10. Back Home in England
  11. Tell the Truth
  12. Bustin’ My Ass
  13. Write You a Letter
  14. Ease Your Pain
  15. If You Ever
  16. Hello L.A., Bye Bye Birmingham
  17. You Came Along
  18. Think About It
  19. Satisfied
  20. Dearest I Wonder
  21. Start All Over

Tracks 1-10 from Bobby Whitlock, ABC-Dunhill LP DSX 50121, 1972
Tracks 11-21 from Raw Velvet, ABC-Dunhill LP DSX 50131, 1972

Bobby Whitlock and Raw Velvet are also available individually on 180-gram vinyl.

Written by Joe Marchese

June 14, 2013 at 10:01

3 Responses

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  1. interesting…will probably pick this up.

    Jim Regan (@Jbones72)

    June 14, 2013 at 12:05

  2. fantastic… i’ve been waiting a long time for these… june 25 can’t arrive soon enough

    Ed Silverman

    June 14, 2013 at 22:36

  3. Great news long Overdue , Great albums of , rock n soul , Classics of Truely amazing musicans .

    Paul Dean

    June 29, 2013 at 13:00

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