Derek and the Dominos “Layla and other Assorted Love Songs”


Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#756 in the Series) is Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

One of the greatest albums of all time and one of the defining moments in Eric Clapton’s legacy is all you really need to know about this album.

“The Layla Album” was released in 1970. It’s interesting to note that while it reached #16 in the US, the album did not chart in the UK.  What were they thinking?

The band was made up of Eric Clapton on guitar vocals. Duane Allman on guitar; Carl Randle, bass; Bobby Whitlock, organ and vocals and Jim Gordon, Drums.

Duane Allman did not play on three of the most popular songs. “I Looked Away,” “Keep on Growing” and “Bell Bottom Blues” as he joined the band shortly after the recordings had begun.

I’m going to quote from a Duane Allman biography here about his joining the band….

A serendipitous event put guitar greats Eric Clapton and Duane Allman in contact shortly after the Dominos had begun to record at Criterion Studios in Miami, Florida, in August of 1970. Veteran producer Tom Dowd was behind the mixing board for the Allman Brothers second album, Idlewild South, when a phone call had come in indicating Clapton was bringing the Dominos to Miami to record. On hearing this Allman indicated he’d love to come by and watch, if it would be OK with Clapton.

A week or so after the Dominos arrived Allman called Dowd to let him know his band was in town to perform a benefit concert on the 26th. When Clapton learned of this from Dowd he insisted on going to see their show, saying, “You mean that guy who plays on the back of (Wilson Pickett’s) ‘Hey Jude’?…I want to see him play…Let’s go.” Clapton and company managed to sit in front of the barricade separating the audience from the stage. When they sat down, Allman was playing a solo. When he turned around and opened his eyes and saw Clapton, he froze. Dickey Betts, the Allmans’ other lead guitarist, took up where Duane left off, but when he followed Allman’s eyes to Clapton, he had to turn his back to keep from freezing himself.

After the show, Allman asked if he could come by the studio to watch some recording sessions, but Clapton invited him there directly: “Bring your guitar; you got to play!” Overnight, the two bonded; Dowd reported that they “were trading licks, they were swapping guitars, they were talking shop and information and having a ball – no holds barred, just admiration for each other’s technique and facility.” Clapton wrote later in his autobiography that he and Allman were inseparable during the sessions in Florida; he talked about Allman as the “musical brother I’d never had but wished I did.

The album was produced by Tom Dowd. Tom also produced such acts as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Chicago, Rod Stewart, Wishbone Ash, Otis Redding, James Gang, etc.

The great songs here almost don’t need to be mentioned.  Who could forget “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad,” “I Am Yours,” “Anyday,” “Key to the Highway,” ” Little Wing” and of course “Layla.”

The band broke up while starting to record their second album. So all we really have from this great quintet was this album and two live releases.

As mentioned earlier, Layla and other Assorted Love Songs peaked at #16 on the Billboard Album chart.

“Layla” peaked at #10 on the Billboard Singles chart while “Bell Bottom Blues” reached #78.

It did not win any Grammy Awards but is in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Go Figure.

It was ranked #115 on the Billboard Top 500 Albums of All Time.  A little low fellows!!

Here’s the band on the Johnny Cash show performing “It’s Too Late” it’s followed by other goodies..

ALSO, you must check out the video below of a 13 year old Derek Trucks playing the solo at the end of Layla!

Track listing

Side one

  1. “I Looked Away” (Eric Clapton, Bobby Whitlock) – 3:05
  2. “Bell Bottom Blues” (Clapton) – 5:02
  3. “Keep on Growing” (Clapton, Whitlock) – 6:21
  4. “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” (Jimmy Cox) – 4:57

Side two

  1. “I Am Yours” (Clapton, Nizami) – 3:34
  2. “Anyday” (Clapton, Whitlock) – 6:35
  3. “Key to the Highway” (Charles Segar, Willie Broonzy) – 9:40

Side three

  1. “Tell the Truth” (Clapton, Whitlock) – 6:39
  2. “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” (Clapton, Whitlock) – 4:41
  3. “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” (Billy Myles) – 6:52

Side four

  1. “Little Wing” (Jimi Hendrix) – 5:33
  2. “It’s Too Late” (Chuck Willis) – 3:47
  3. “Layla” (Clapton, Jim Gordon) – 7:05
  4. “Thorn Tree in the Garden” (Whitlock) – 2:53

Personnel

Derek and the Dominos
  • Eric Clapton – lead, rhythm, slide and acoustic guitars, lead vocals
  • Duane Allman – Slide guitar on tracks 4 through 14
  • Jim Gordon – drums, percussion, piano
  • Carl Radle – bass guitar, percussion
  • Bobby Whitlock – organ, piano, vocals, acoustic guitar

Links

Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Mark (08 Sep 2011, 20:58)
    Reply

    Shocked that no comments have been left here yet. This album was out of my musical pallette for years. I’ve only just recently started listening to it and wonder why it took so long. On a positive note it all sounds new and fresh to my ears. I also think that of the big classic songs of the 70;s (Freebird, Stairway, Won’t get fooled again etc…) Layla is the one that stands up to the test of time best.



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