Poor Eric Clapton. Having been through the supergroup wringer with Cream and Blind Faith, there was nothing he craved more than a little anonymity. No more “Clapton is God”; all he wanted to be was a player in a band that wasn’t being hyped to the stars, and where he could perform his six-string pyrotechnics in the background, as it were. Those are rich man problems, for sure, but Clapton was truly burnt out, and given the opportunity to tour with the American soul/rock/blues band Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett, he happily said yes. It was a respite and it paid off, as his guitar playing on the resulting LP, 1970’s On Tour with Eric Clapton, testified.
During the early seventies the Bramletts fronted a musical family that saw them taking in lots of famous orphans, including Duane Allman, George Harrison, Rita Coolidge, Dave Mason, and King Curtis. Despite a host of studio LPs Delaney and Bonnie were best regarded as an incendiary live act, one that led Clapton to not only say, “Delaney taught me everything I know about singing,” but “For me, going on [with Blind Faith] after Delaney and Bonnie was really, really tough, because I thought they were miles better than us.” In any event his time spent with Delaney and Bonnie was a happy one for the troubled musician.
On Tour with Eric Clapton didn’t just feature Clapton. In fact it was populated by a veritable who’s who of the best of rock’s supporting musicians, many of whom also played on that same year’s LP Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Clapton’s next project, Derek and the Dominos. You’ve got Dave Mason on guitar, Bobby Whitlock on organ and keyboards, Carl Radle on bass, Jim Gordon on drums, Bobby Keys on saxophone, Jim Price on trombone and trumpet, and Rita Coolidge on backing vocals; the folks who saw this iteration of the band live were lucky indeed.