Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Delaney & Bonnie & Friends

  • To Bonnie from Delaney [Atco, 1970] A-
  • Motel Shot [Atco, 1971] A

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

To Bonnie from Delaney [Atco, 1970]
The all-their-records-sound-the-same putdowns can only mean no one is really listening. D&B's singing has always been subtler than its framework, and their framework has never been more understated than here, though a couple of mediocre songs and too many sustained-climax gimmicks do put a crimp in. Delaney sounds best when reminding us that he owes more to John Hurt than to Otis Redding, while Bonnie peaks with new humor ("Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean") and passion ("The Love of My Man"). A-

Motel Shot [Atco, 1971]
D&B's best since their Elektra debut in 1969 isn't what you'd call a grabber--comprising two acoustic jams of the sort that take place in motels and dressing rooms, it fulfills their most homespun-away-from-home ambitions. But though I suppose I'd prefer it if they hadn't recorded a few of the selections before, the country blues side is a seamless delight, the most unflawed listening music I've heard in a long while. And though I sometimes find the spirit-screeching on the gospel side a little painful, it sure sounds, like they say, authentic. A

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