Derek And The Dominos is white boy blues of the highest magnitude featuring Eric Clapton and Duane Allman.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: Derek And The Dominos
ALBUM: Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs
SERIAL: 2625 005
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Eric Clapton – vocals, lead guitar * Bobby Whitlock – piano, keyboards, rhythm guitar, vocals * Jim Gordon – drums, percussion, piano * Carl Radle – bass, percussion * Duane Allman – slide guitar
TRACK LISTING: 01 I Looked Away * 02 Bell Bottom Blues * 03 Keep On Growing * 04 Nobody Knows When Your Down And Out * 05 I Am Yours * 06 Anyday * 07 Key To The Highway * 08 Tell The Truth * 09 Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad * 10 Have You Ever Loved A Woman * 11 Little Wing * 12 It’s Too Late * 13 Layla * 14 Thorn Tree In The Garden
Truth be told, I’ve never been a fan of Cream or Eric Clapton. As the prototype power trio, Cream albums were patchy although their smoking 1968 performance at Royal Albert Hall should be seen at least once by any self-respecting rock fan.
Clapton’s solo style never interested me beyond his Phil Collins produced 1985 record ‘Behind The Sun’ which took a more AOR direction with a brace of memorable singles including ‘Forever Man’ and ‘She’s Waiting’.
Derek and the Dominos are another story. Of course everyone’s familiar with ‘Layla’ but I had never heard the full album, what was then a double LP until my senior year in my high school’s listening room and I was astonished. While rarely into white boy blues, as the years have passed I’m still of the opinion ‘Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs’ is blues rock of the highest order and hands down the best album Eric Clapton has put his name on.
From the opening chords of ‘I Looked Away’ the stage is set for this all-time classic album. A gorgeous love song, typical of Clapton’s oeuvre. It’s only bettered by ‘Bell Bottom Blues’, a Beatles flavored number which like ‘Layla’ has become a staple on American classic rock radio despite being only a minor hit at the time of its release.
It’s also the only tune that did not feature Duane Allman whose trademark slide work makes the album what is and because of Allman who would tragically die a year later. Derek and the Dominos sound is very much like a Southern rock band, in particular the catchy ‘Anyday’ and the swampy blues cover of ‘Have You Ever Loved A Woman’.
The remake of Jimi Hendrix‘s ‘Little Wing’ is superb, and one of the better versions I’ve come across, but then there’s ‘Layla’. With both Clapton and Allman on slide guitars, the sound is spectacular.
But its producer Tom Dowd who had the wisdom to splice the first rocking movement with the piano melody written, but uncredited by Rita Coolidge the former girlfriend of drummer Jim Gordon and a successful singer and songwriter in her own right. Allman’s lilting slide coupled with Gordon’s beautiful piano work has a mesmerizing effect in a song that seems to go on forever but not long enough.
The group toured but with the exception of two dates, without Duane Allman who had returned to the Allman Brothers fold. According to reports, the Dominos gigs were heavily drug and alcohol fueled although a live document ‘In Concert’ recorded in October 1970 appeared in 1973 and an expanded version ‘Live at the Fillmore’ in 1994. Recording in London, a second studio album never made it to the halfway point as the band imploded due to according to Clapton – ‘Paranoia And Tension’.