Album #176 – Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Album #176

Before you read this review, I encourage you to watch the video above. It gives the back story of how this album came to be. Rather than bore you with the back story, this video provides the back story being told by those who were there. Then, read my review. Ok !!??!!! Thanks!!!

OK, now that you’ve watched that video, it left something out. The other members of the group were playing with Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett. Clapton also was playing with them at the time. Clapton decided to record an album with the rhythm section: Bobby Whitlock on organ and vocals, Jim Gordon on drums, percussion and piano (on Layla), and Carl Radle on bass. Clapton had collaborated with Delaney & Bonnie & Friends on his first, self-titled solo album which was released four to five months before Layla. The reason this band is called Derek and The Dominos is due to the fact that while playing one of their first gigs as a band, they were supposed to be introduced as Eric and The Dynamos. Instead, they were introduced as Derek and The Dominos and the name stuck. Unfortunately, they only recorded one studio album together but what an album. The video tells the story of how Duane Allman became a part of the group. This album is a masterpiece. I am not using this term lightly. The guitar playing on this album is phenominal. They are a tight unit. Whitlock and Clapton’s vocals are distinct, have soul and are magical. Each song is just as amazing as the one before it. I can hear lots of different influences on this album including: country, blues, soul, r&b and rock. All of these genres blend together to create one magical album. Allman does not play on the album’s first three tracks. Those tracks are not diminished in any way by the lack of Allman’s presence. The master of the sound on this record, as you saw in the video above, is the late Tom Dowd. Dowd is one of my favourite record producers of all-time. He had worked with Aretha, Ray Charles, Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd and many others. He was more than just a producer. His background in science helped him in the recording studio. He also had a great ear and that helped him tremendously. The documentary that the video above is taken from is called Tom Dowd and The Language of Music. I have not seen the whole thing but I want to at some point. The documentary focuses on Dowd’s long career as a music producer and recording engineer and the stories behind those recordings. Anyway, this album is a must listen and, in my opinion, is Clapton’s best studio album. All of his other albums should be measured by the standards of this album. Radle would continue to play with Clapton off and on after this album was released but he would eventually pass away, far too young. Gordon continued to do session work and eventually went crazy, killed his mother and ended up in prison where he is to this day. Whitlock would record a solo album and eventually leave the rock world behind. This album would mark Clapton’s birth as a solo artist. I am so glad I have this album in my collection and it is definitely one of my favourite albums of all-time. Overall, I give this album 6 out of 5. It is just that good!!!!

Next: Bitches Brew by Miles Davis!!!

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