Tuesday, October 2, 2007

classik: The Layla Sessions

"Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?"

Eric Clapton had a lot on his mind when he entered a Miami recording studio in late August 1970 with Derek & The Dominos. Not only was he struggling with the fame and inherent excesses brought on by his time with Cream and Blind Faith, he was also nursing a broken heart - a reliable recipe for the blues. Were it not for the bizarre love triangle consuming Clapton, his best friend George Harrison, and George's wife (the psychedelic vixen Pattie Boyd), it is likely that the definitive track of Clapton's career never would have been recorded, nor would he have played with the amount of passion and soul that is overwhelmingly obvious when listening to the tapes.

Prior to any official recording, the Dominos played marathon jam sessions to get warmed up, often times inviting their new friend Duane Allman to sit in as well. Producer Tom Dowd (who initially introduced Eric and Duane) recalls these early jam sessions lasting anywhere from 15-18 hrs at a time, using a multitude of studio engineers. Luckily, the engineers had the foresight to press "Record" during these legendary jams, which would eventually surface as its own disc included with the 20th Anniversary edition of the album.

Check out Jam I below. Although Skydog is not featured on this particular go-round, Clapton is able to pick up the slack, transforming a simple two chord progression into a fiery, cathartic beast, filled with the pain of his addictions and his longing for his (temporarily) unrequited love. And for the record, I think Clapton is a scumbag for stealing his best-friend's wife, although he is a scumbag who knows how to play a mean guitar, which somehow makes it less deplorable.

{ED. Sidenote: Pati Boyd is set to release an autobiography titled "Wonderful Tonight,", which Clapton also wrote about her}

Derek & The Dominos- Jam I

Derek & The Dominos- It's Too Late (Live on the Johnny Cash Show)

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