Accept No Substitute: Bobby Whitlock Reminisces

Bobby Whitlock (left) and Eric Clapton, 1970
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Koh Hasebe/Shinko Music/Getty Images

Few have had a musical career quite like Bobby Whitlock. His work as a sideman has taken him incredible places, from the most revolutionary studios of the southern United States to rubbing shoulders with Beatles and guitar gods around the globe. On 2021's first new episode of the Rhino Podcast, host Rich Mahan hears some of Whitlock's greatest stories from his incredible career.

Whitlock, an accomplished singer/keyboardist/guitarist, spent his teenage years hanging and playing with artists on Stax Records, studying the label's house band, Booker T. & The M.G.'s and even becoming one of the first white artists signed to the label. (His first recorded work: handclaps on Sam & Dave's Top 10 hit "I Thank You.")

From there, Whitlock moved to Los Angeles to join a soul revue assembled by Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett. The group soon earned the attention of Eric Clapton, who hired them to open for Blind Faith and even sat in on their sets (as captured on the album On Tour with Eric Clapton.) Clapton called Whitlock "without doubt the most energetic sideman I had ever seen," and in 1970, the two collaborated on three landmark projects: Clapton's self-titled solo debut album; All Things Must Pass, George Harrison's solo debut after The Beatles' breakup; and Layla and Assorted Love Songs, from their short-lived Derek and The Dominos.

Whitlock shares his memories of all this and more on the latest episode, which you can find here.

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