Where There's a Will There's a Way: The ABC-Dunhill Recordings (Future Days / Light in the Attic)
Reviewed by Scott Schinder, Fri., Aug. 16, 2013
Bobby WhitlockWhere There's a Will There's a Way: The ABC-Dunhill Recordings (Future Days/Light in the Attic)
Bobby Whitlock and Raw Velvet, the solo albums Bobby Whitlock cut in 1972 following his stint as unsung hero of Eric Clapton's Derek & the Dominos, have long been revered by aficionados as lost classics. Belatedly paired up on this smartly annotated package, these long-out-of-print gems live up to their cult reputation and then some, distilling a deeply personal country-blues-gospel-soul vision that retains its haunting resonance four decades later. Although best known as a sideman and collaborator, the Memphis-bred singer-composer-keyboardist-guitarist (and current Austin resident) emerges on Where There's a Will There's a Way as both a sublimely expressive singer and a wholly distinctive songwriter. Whitlock's tunes are viscerally direct, yet filled with unexpected twists and turns that give his raucous rockers ("Where There's a Will," "If You Ever") and ghostly folk ballads ("A Game Called Life," "You Came Along") a liberating musical depth that matches their lyrics' emotional impact. Despite the presence here of such high-profile former employers as Clapton, George Harrison, and Delaney & Bonnie, this is Whitlock's show all the way, and it's a memorable ride from start to finish.