Delaney & Bonnie

Accept No Substitute

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While Delaney & Bonnie will be forever associated with Eric Clapton and Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, the couple, along with a loose association of friends, recorded a number of classics in their own right. Released in 1969, Accept No Substitute contained the same blend of soul and rock & roll that would show up on Layla the following year. While the production, as Matthew Greenwald points out in the liner notes, has a "pop sheen," Delaney & Bonnie's earthy vocals, along with the band's rhythm & blues assault, nonetheless dictate the proceedings. The horn section and expressive guitar create a lovely mix on "Get Ourselves Together" and "Someday," giving the listener a taste of what gospel might sound like if performed by a good '60s rock band. This religious connection is even more predominate on "Soldiers of the Cross," a piece of lyrical fundamentalism that would fit quite comfortably into a Baptist choir's repertoire. This isn't to infer that Accept No Substitute is pious in any way; only that Delaney & Bonnie and their friends add a spiritual quality to the music they perform. One also shouldn't miss the imaginative "Ghetto," a song that cleverly combines soulful piano with strings. For those unfamiliar with Delaney & Bonnie's other work, Accept No Substitute is a good place to start.

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