In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett focused their energy on building up a reputation among the best exponents of soul-infused American roots music, both on album and on the road. But on two occasions, their talents also took them into the top 20 of the American singles chart.
In the middle part of 1971, they had a No. 13 hit with ‘Never Ending Song Of Love,’ a Delaney Bramlett composition that also became a substantial UK hit in a cover by the New Seekers. On 25 September that year, they entered the Hot 100 with the follow-up, ‘Only You Know And I Know’ — not their own song, this time, but one written by Traffic alumnus Dave Mason. It went on to outdo Dave’s own version.
Mason had made No. 42 on the US chart with his original a year earlier, in the summer of 1970, but the couple’s reading of it would do much more. That chart week exactly 45 years ago, it was the highest new entry at No. 71, and made speedy progress, making the top 40 just two weeks later. It peaked at No. 20 in early November, the Bramletts’ last appearance there.
‘Only You Know And I Know’ served as one of several singles tasters for Delaney & Bonnie’s sixth album D&B Together, released in March 1972 as their follow-up to Motel Shot. Their infectious artistry was, as ever, a honeypot for some like-minded musicians, and the album featured guest appearances from their now-regular collaborator Eric Clapton, as well as Leon Russell, Duane Allman and Mason himself.
The remarkable guest list of D&B Together also included the complete cast list of Derek and the Dominos, the group featuring Clapton that had come together under the Bramletts’ wing some years earlier as Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. Keyboard player Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon all played on the record alongside later Dominos contributors Mason and Allman.
The record featured the additional presence of such great players as Steve Cropper, Billy Preston, Jim Price, Rita Coolidge, John Hartford and major R&B names including Tina Turner, Merry Clayton, King Curtis, James Jamerson and Eddie Kendricks. It was also the album featuring Delaney and Leon Russell’s ‘Groupie (Superstar),’ that had, by then, been popularised as ‘Superstar’ by the Carpenters. D&B Together was a record, and a line-up, deserving of a far higher placing than its No. 133 US peak.