Derek and the Dominos – Layla and other assorted love songs (Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle) – Polydor

by | Nov 1, 2005 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Derek and the Dominos – Layla and other assorted love songs
(Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon, Carl Radle) –
Polydor Multichannel SACD B0003640-36,  77:07   ****:

This 1970 session produced and engineered by the great late Tom Dowd
(recently documentarized on film) is one of the few rock super classic
albums for sure – right up there with Sgt. Pepper, Pet Sounds, Dark
Side of the Moon, Highway 61 Revisited and their ilk. The 14 tunes –
nearly all by Clapton himself – were supposedly stimulated by a huge
crush the guitar-crusher had on George Harrison’s wife.  He worked
thru his hangup by bringing together in short order these wonderful,
deeply felt rock love songs. The seven-minute title tune is highly
original in starting out hard and driving but then halfway thru
morphing into a gorgeous sensuous instrumental featuring the piano –
almost like a movement of a rock piano concerto. Some authorities feel
it is the greatest rock ballad ever written. In my youth it was often
playing in a hippie/cultish/commune environment I occasionally spent
time in, and it brings back some enjoyable memories. Jimi Hendrix’
Little Wing treatment reminded me of The Band. Every track is just
great – there’s no losers. Plus, every bit of the original double-LP
packaging is here on this jam-packed  SACD, only a couple minutes
shy of the maximum you can cram on ’em!

The lyrics are moving and often desparate-sounding. They are not
reprinted in the booklet but the added intelligibility of the surround
mix (by Simon Climie) makes it fairly easy to understand them IF YOU
TURN IT UP LOUD. And this is surely one album for doing that with. The
spreading-out-and- around of the stereo original makes this much more
of a participatory listening session. For example, the bongos behind
you on I Am Yours have such a presence you want to turn around to see
the musician. The standard CD layer is pretty good except that it clogs
up during big climaxes and neither SACD mixes do that. Of course just
about everyone thinks Clapton is god of the guitar. (I was surprised he
wasn’t included for his terrific blues playing on the new 100 Years of
Jazz Guitar compilation.) Never mind there’s no fuzzy snapshots of
Clapton and the band in a video component or some boring interviews, as
you often get on DVD-As and DualDiscs – this is an aural trip, a
nostalgia trip, a heartbroke can’t-get-no-satisfaction trip, not a
videos presentation.

Tracks: I Looked Away, Bell Bottom Blues, Keep on Growing, Nobody Knows
You When You’re Down and Out, I Am Yours, Anyday, Key to the Highway,
Tell the Truth, Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?, Have You Ever Loves a
Woman, Little Wing, It’s Too Late, Layla, Thorn Tree in the Garden.

– John Henry

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