Forty years after it’s initial release comes this expanded version of Derek & The Dominos’ one and only studio album. In the intervening years the title track has been played to death on classic rock stations, rendering the once-emotionally powerful track virtually inert. Fortunately there was more to the double album than Layla. For those who have never gotten past the title track there is the wonderful Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, the beautiful Bell Bottom Blues, a stately version of Hendrix’ Little Wing and a plaintive version of Have You Ever Loved A Woman. Eric Clapton is in top form throughout, aided and abetted by Duane Allman on all but three of the original 14 tracks. The two guitar gods play off each other beautifully and Clapton hasn’t played with as much passion since.
This new Deluxe Edition comes with a second bonus disc. The highlights are four live tracks taken from the Johnny Cash TV Show from November 1970. The band previews a new song…Got To Get Better In A Little While and jams with Cash and Carl Perkins on Matchbox along with ripping into a rocking version of Blues Power. Other bonus tracks include early versions of Tell The Truth and Roll It Over, both produced by Phil Spector during the George Harrison All Things Must Pass sessions. These two tracks had originally been released as a single, but were re-recorded in Miami with Tom Dowd a few months later. The Spector versions are vastly inferior, sounding cluttered and unfocussed.
Also included are several tracks originally recorded for a planned second album that never materialized. These unfinished tracks feature newly-recorded overdubs by keyboard player Bobby Whitlock and remixed by original engineer Andy Johns. They are basic blues jams that sound fine but add little to the band’s legacy.
Derek & The Dominos fell apart after just a few months thanks to the usual drug and alcohol excesses. Clapton spent the next couple of years as a heroin addict, while drummer Jim Gordon was eventually institutionalized after killing his mother. Bass player Carl Radle died in 1980 due to the effects of drugs and alcohol. These guys paid a high price for their chosen lifestyle, but while they were together, they made some of the best rock & roll of their day.
Click here to listen to Matchbox with Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins: