Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Delaney & Bonnie

  • The Original Delaney & Bonnie [Elektra, 1969] A+
  • Home [Stax, 1969] B+
  • The Best of Delaney & Bonnie [Atco, 1972] A
  • The Best of Delaney & Bonnie [Rhino, 1990] A

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

The Original Delaney & Bonnie [Elektra, 1969]
A+

Home [Stax, 1969]
Now that Eric and George have given their imprimature, D&B's first release, on Elektra, is beginning to sell as it should. This one was recorded much earlier, with Duck Dunn and Jack Nix producing instead of Leon Russell, but released much later. Perhaps if I heard it first I'd like it more--or rather, even more, since I already like it--but I don't think it compares to the Elektra album (rated A plus in an earlier CG). The warmth that suffuses their music is obscured more than once by some perfunctory soul-shouting, and the arrangements are less than inventive. Nice enough, though. B+

The Best of Delaney & Bonnie [Atco, 1972]
Through white soul and Clapton rock and acoustic intimacy, their connubial celebration has had a steadfast sound, which means that this compilation--including cuts from the Elektra LP and put together with obvious t.l.c.--is their strongest disc. If a modicum of old marrieds is all you can take, it can displace all their albums except Motel Shot. And keep those divorce rumors to yourself. A

The Best of Delaney & Bonnie [Rhino, 1990]
Bonnie was the songwriter and the terrific singer, Delaney the bandleader and the real good singer. Theirs was a marriage made on Sunset Strip, where two Southerners' displaced rural conservatism met the counterculture's exaltation of earthtone authenticity in an image of hippie adulthood that lasted till the divorce was underway in 1972 (shortly after they agreed to dispense with Bonnie's live-in lover on the unbelievably tender "Move 'Em Out"). Their conjugal sturm-und-drang was "a natural fact," the most canny and heartfelt and effortless rock-soul fusion in history. Their solo careers were a depressing embarrassment. A

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