Whitlock’s story is a remarkable one. Born to a hardscrabble existence and raised in abject poverty, he was abused by his preacher father and sent out to pick cotton in the fields. Moving from one railroad town to another, Whitlock was quite literally from the wrong side of the tracks.
Yet thanks to his singing and piano playing, music was Whitlock’s escape. Winding up in Memphis, Whitlock hooked up with Stax Records who signed him as the first white artist to their new pop label HIP. But it was soul music, not pop, that was in Whitlock’s heart – and his break came when Delaney & Bonnie asked him to join their band, The Friends. Following Delaney & Bonnie from Stax to Elektra Records, Whitlock found his life starting to intertwine with 60s rock royalty. Delaney & Bonnie took him on tour with Blind Faith, where Eric Clapton was impressed with Whitlock’s playing and the camaraderie he saw in The Friends. Soon, Whitlock joined Clapton, Jim Gordon, and Carl Radle in Derek & The Dominos, the crack unit that backed George Harrison on much of the seminal All Things Must Pass, and recorded the classic rock album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. During the recording of those albums, Whitlock tentatively made his first steps as a solo artist. Though drugs were already beginning to tear Derek & The Dominos apart, Whitlock was able to call on some high profile friends (and "Friends”) to play on his album including Clapton, Harrison, session bassist Klaus Voormann (John Lennon, Carly Simon, et al), drummer Jim Gordon, and others.
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