Monday, October 8, 2012

Bobby Whitlock: One of Delaney and Bonnie's friends

If you haven't been "introduced" quite yet, meet Bobby Whitlock.  It's very safe to say that he's been around the music block a time or two.  If you have been "introduced" before, stay tuned over the next few days for a fun ride with a part of soul and rock 'n' roll history.

Bobby Whitlock (All photos used permission of Bobby Whitlock)
Whitlock's life is literally an open book.  When you read it, Bobby Whitlock:  A Rock 'n' Roll Autobiography (edited by Marc Roberty, with a foreword by Eric Clapton), you will find it is a who's who on some of the greatest names in rock music history, but it goes well beyond that. I had seen reviews on Amazon and read comments about it from Bobby's Facebook friends about how honest it was, and they were all spot-on.

Bobby is brutally honest in the book about his childhood of poverty and abuse at the hands of his father, his days as a rock star (recording on the Stax label with Sam and Dave, Steve Cropper, "Duck" Dunn; with Delaney & Bonnie; on George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" studio sessions where he teamed up with "guitar god" Eric Clapton, bassist Carl Radle, and drummer Jim Gordon in the earliest stages of the band Derek and The Dominos and recording the beloved rock album "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs"; on through his post-Dominos career) when he would do "rock star things," matters of life and death when it comes to his own health, his relationships, and continued hard times as a result of bad decisions made by himself and others, but it all comes "full circle" to an encouraging end.

His experiences are rich, and they are told in a very down-to-earth, conversational way. It's like just sitting down with Bobby as a friend and letting him tell his stories in his own way, with him just "letting it flow."

Whitlock will answer questions posed by me in an email interview to be published here on Wednesday, questions that came as a result of reading his book.

His stories from his childhood in the South are gripping.  He went on to quickly become known as a dynamite keys player and a soulful singer, which helped him to land at Stax where he played with some of the great soul and R&B musicians in the history of the genre.  Then it was on to Delaney & Bonnie and a bit of musical groundbreaking, which helped to turn into a big launching pad with the likes of a true gentleman named Eric Clapton, the sessions with the "quiet Beatle," the history that would go on to be made with the "Layla" album with Whitlock as a key songwriting partner and close friend with Clapton, a songwriting career with Whitlock tunes being recorded by the likes of Ray Charles, George Jones, Tom Jones, and a solo career that has had plenty of its own stories with deeply personal ups and downs.

It's no wonder Whitlock decided to put his story into book form.  And he's been open enough about his life that his autobiography has been a bestseller on the rock music book charts since it was published in the winter of 2010.

There is so much music history behind Bobby Whitlock's story, it's impossible to contain it all in one blog article.  For that reason, I'll spread it throughout the week.

TODAY:  The introduction, music through Delaney & Bonnie and Friends
TUESDAY:  Moving on to Derek and The Dominos with "Layla"
WEDNESDAY:  The email interview with Bobby Whitlock
THURSDAY:  Bobby Whitlock, post-Dominos
FRIDAY:  Bobby Whitlock, "The Time Is Now"

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