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October 22, 2013 / thackersam

October 20-21 – Sunday & Monday – Derek and the Dominos – LAYLA!!!

thCAOCLG1INo, we haven’t crossed over to the Ds just yet. I’ve had to make a couple of decisions like this – where to place a certain album or albums in the alphabetical range depending on their affiliation. So, whether right or wrong, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, the only album by Derek and the Dominos is filed under Eric Clapton. And if I didn’t have a crush on him before, this record made me head over heels. I’m sure it had similar effects on many a girl or woman back in the early 70s, many a boy or man, too. I still swoon and gush at the love story involved. I’m swooning and gushing now.

Though this is a double album, and I did write two separate posts for the White Album and Bowie Live, I can’t separate the song Layla from the whole record set, and it’s the second to last song on side four.

My perception of it is that the whole idea of the two-record set of love songs generated from the wrenched guts of one hell of a heartsick man, who was desperately in love with his very close friend’s wife. And what a song. Layla is equaled only in haunting romanticism to Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” and Roxy Music’s “More Than This.” And we have had the good fortune to be witness to both the screaming obsessive backed by his buddies, and the man obsessed in quiet solitude with only his guitar to help him slowly make his plea. A more sober, more learned man perhaps is displayed in the unplugged version, but it’s that screaming man that moved my 15-year-old heart way back.

The rest of the album is nothing to sneeze at either. It is filled with emotional angst and often plays out in physical metaphors, like “Layla – You’ve got me on my knees,” and the line “Do you want to see me crawl across the floor for you,” from “Bell Bottom Blues.” In their rendition of Billy Myles’ “Have You Ever Loved a Woman,” Clapton even has the opportunity to sing “She’s in love with your very best friend.” And while I praise Eric Clapton for this masterpiece, I need to acknowledge Bobby Whitlock, who wrote many of the songs with Clapton, and whose full-bodied, emotive voice balances with Clapton’s thinner vocal sound. Whitlock’s “Thorn Tree in the Garden,” a quietly tearful song follows Layla and ends the tormented journey.

The guitar work on Layla is also phenomenal. I had thought, all those years back, that this was all Clapton’s handiwork, but learned later on that it was mostly due to the contributions of the late Duane Allman.

Listening to the song Layla more intently as I lie on my back with legs against the wall, I think it, particularly the instrumental wailing slide guitar with a piano base that ends with chirping birds, I notice what may well be a strong influence on Bruce Springsteen’s work in the 70s and his use of the fabulous Roy Bittan.

It’s another Ram alternative – sides one and four for a regular workout. The whole thing if I decide to go crazy.

Eric Clapton eventually won the affections of his friend George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd, and they married. The perfect ending to a beautiful homage to unrequited love.

So it didn’t work out.

For those of you who don’t know, he cheated, a lot. The two-faced, lying bastard. And his drug and alcohol abuse sure didn’t help. Idiot.

Nonetheless, two days of inspired workouts.

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