MP3 Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel - Lovers
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10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Classic Rock, ROCK: Southern Rock
Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel
By Margaret Moser
Thereâs something about Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmelâs music that lingers. Itâs not simply musical pedigree â he was a member of Derek & the Dominos who recorded âLayla,â Rock&Rollâs greatest unrequited love song â though thatâs not where it begins. No, what Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel possess is good old-fashioned soul.
Southern soul, to be precise, with roots deep as the river bottoms of Mississippi and a heart as big as Texas. Southern soul, born of sin and salvation with a backbeat you canât lose. Southern soul, with one hand on the cradle of blues, the other on a guitar, and both feet dancing for joy. The alchemy of Rock and Soul, as defined by Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmelâs new CD Lovers.
Bobby Whitlock comes by his soul naturally. Born in Memphis, Tennessee to a family of âriver rats, whores, and moonshinersâ not to mention the occasional Southern Baptist Preacher and flattop guitar picker. He hung around Booker T & the MGs, landed a Stax recording contract while in his teens, and then took off with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends on their famous 1969 tour with Blind Faith. In that twist of blind fate, Whitlock met Eric Clapton; within the year he was living in England and a member of Claptonâs next project, Derek & the Dominos.
Whitlockâs contribution to Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is inextricable from Clapton and Duane Allmanâs dueling leads in the legendary title track. His vocals gave the album its muscular grit. And his bittersweet âThorn Tree in the Gardenâ closed the album. Yet when the bandâs short-lived brilliance darkened, Whitlock moved on. Having already played with George Harrison on "All Things Must Pass ", he played on the Rolling Stones "Exile on Main Street, Stephen Stills Manassas album "Down the Road", and has since had songs recorded by Ray Charles, Tom Jones, George Jones, Sheryl Crow and Derek Trucks. After returning stateside and recording several well-received solo albums, Whitlock turned his back on the stage by the late Seventies and focused on his family.
In another part of the world, a sassy sax-playing singer called CoCo Carmel had been hitting the road in Europe, where she could be found performing in England, France, Italy, and Germany. Raised in a military family, Carmel was used to traveling (which just might have been the impetus for her love of beautiful shoes) and found her way to Los Angeles. Blessed with a vibrant voice and never one to sit on the sidelines shyly, Carmel toted her sax with her to local clubs and asked anyone whoâd let her play, including Billy Preston and the estimable Dr John.
You might say that CoCo Carmelâs first recording hinted at the future. The 1987 single was titled âRose between Two Thorns,â but its titular resemblance to Bobby Whitlockâs âThorn Tree in the Gardenâ wasnât evident yet. Carmel stood at a turning point in her life when she met up with old friend and musical associate Bobby Whitlock around 2000. The rest is a page out of Rock and Romance 101.
The new millennium brought a much needed renaissance to Bobby Whitlockâs & CoCo Carmelâs respective careers. Whitlock had just released his first solo record in many years Itâs About Time, but the pairing of the two fueled an explosive creativity and before long, they hit the road. They reinvented the Layla songs with dynamic acoustic arrangements, resulting in the live recording Other Assorted Love Songs, but no idyll goes unspoiled. When faced with IRS difficulties, the two weathered the tax storm in the deep south. Then they packed up and headed to Austin, Texas in late 2006, which is where their story begins anew.
The next chapter of Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmelâs life began with a warm welcome into the fabled music community and undisguised interest from local players whoâd all grown up to the searing notes of âLayla.â Whitlock & Carmel worked up a set of material mostly from Layla and Assorted Other Love Songs and added new songs such as âLoversâ and âDice of Godâ and CoCoâs inspirational âTrue Loveâ. They reaped the benefit of a lengthy residency gig at Austinâs songwriter showcase the Saxon Pub as the seeds of the new recording kept on growing.
Whitlock & Carmel played high profile gigs during 2007, including the Austin Music Awards during South by Southwest in March then Mayâs star-studded Road to Austin concert, where their exuberant version of âLaylaâ stole the show from Kris Kristofferson and Bonnie Raitt.
It also led to new management that took an active interest in Lovers, a work already in progress. The next step was to translate all this into a CD, Lovers, scheduled for physical release on Valentineâs Day 2008â¦
âThis record is a document of our lives,â explains Whitlock. âWeâve been recording and writing about our experiences the whole time. Weâve had the essence of it all along but it needed to come into its own at the right time. When we got into the studio, it all happened.â
For the recording of Lovers at Willie Nelsonâs famed Pedernales Studios, Bobby Whitlock played Hammond organ, grand piano, and acoustic guitar as well as singing. CoCo Carmel not only plays sax and sings, she provided the steady bass. With jeweled accompaniment from guitarists David Grissom, Eric Johnson and Stephen Bruton, drummer Brannen Temple, and percussionist James Fenner, Bobby & CoCo are rightfully proud of their first full-length studio recording. The only thing lacking might have been Willie himself yet the red-headed stranger appears not once but twice.
Lovers is an electrifying tour-de-force for the couple, ten beautifully realized songs captured on CD like lightning in a bottle. And with Lovers, Bobby Whitlock & CoCo Carmel position themselves as world-class performers in the Southern soul tradition redefining soul music in a Rock&Roll way!
Contact: Jean-Claude Monney [email protected]://www.tradebit.com https://www.tradebit.com January 2008
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