Musical palate cleanser, it’s not about Lane Kiffin’s wife edition

Way back in 1971, I had a friend who raved about an album I hadn’t heard and did everything short of frog marching me into a record store to buy it.

It was Derek and the Dominos’ Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.  He was right.  As many times as I’ve listened to the title track since I bought the record, it still manages to grab me right from the introductory riff (which came from Duane Allman).  It’s a remarkable piece of work.

As much as it’s about the musicianship, it’s Clapton’s passion that seals the deal.  He rarely sounded this involved with his work and it elevates everything.

But, yeah, those guitars.

I hated the acoustic jazz version Clapton adapted many years later.  It sounded sleepy and passionless.  But reinvented with the help of Wynton Marsalis as a New Orleans-style dirge-like blues, it connects with me again.  (Check out Marsalis’ look at about the 5:40 mark as he watches Clapton wail away on the guitar.)



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29 responses to “Musical palate cleanser, it’s not about Lane Kiffin’s wife edition

  1. HR

    Who’s Kirby’ D coordinator going to be? What’s the scuttlebutt? I’m biting my nails over this one.


  2. That album never gets stale – it works from start to finish exactly as recorded. There will never be another like it. The band’s chemistry could never be reproduced. Thanks, Senator.


  3. Mary Kate Danaher

    And “Bell Bottom Blues”? Perfection.


  4. Will Trane

    The versions of this song isvery numerous.
    The one I like best is the one where the lead female background vovalist carries the vocals.
    Saw it once on the net but never been able to find again.
    Classic. Songfor all ages. Never grow tired of listening to it.


  5. DrHERBdawg

    Duane Allman is the best guitarist of all time. I love this song



    Clapton is one of the best guitar players of all time. He can make that Fender
    do things most only dream about.



    Yes, Duane Allman was awesome never get tired of the Allman Brothers.


  8. Jeff Sanchez

    Clapton may be the most overrated rock icon in history. Telling that this, his best stuff by far, came at the hands of Duane Allman (ymmv, of course)


    • gastr1

      He was just better when the others around him exerted themselves, as with Cream and Blind Faith. He has to get some credit in those bands too even if he was less than great on his own.


  9. Normaltown Mike

    when I die, I want the piano interlude with guitar accompaniment played as they close the service.


  10. Freedawg10

    Senator, this is not the first time your musical choice has been right on point. Thanks for sharing.


  11. bad byron

    While at a friend’s house, his older brother “frog marched” us in to his room to hear Layla. Ordinarily, he wouldn’t give us the time of day, but he was fired up. He cranked up the Marantz receiver, Phillips table, JBL speakers (and the bong) and I’ve been listening ever since. Just when it looked like this would be all you got from D and the D’s, the live album came out. Pure heaven and the guitar work on Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad was perfection. Don’t recall if that was Duane or Eric, but whatever.
    The acoustic remake of Layla with the cheesy background vocals was sacrilegious. A lot like Clapton doing You Look Wonderful Tonight….a blight on an otherwise phenomenal career.


  12. I’ve always maintained “Key To The Highway” & “Little Wing” were the main courses from the record. I can hear them at any time and I’ll always play ’em over again.

    And I always thought it a shame that Allman was not part of the LIVE lineup.


  13. Sax

    Drummer Jim Gordon wrote the little piano section that is so perfect for Layla to provide ice to Duane and Eric’s fire. But I’m haunted whenever I hear it by the story of what happened afterward to Gordon, who was one of the great session drummers but very mentally ill. Won’t repeat the story here, but you can Google it.


  14. TMC DAWG

    You cannot go. Wrong with Duane Allman aka skydog


  15. Damn if that clip is not near ’bout magic. Two of the greatest, on their respective instruments, of all time.


  16. Muttley

    The first guitar you hear is Clapton; the third time it cycles through the high, wailing part that comes in is Duane, and he contributed that part to the song, which brought it to life and transformed it from a ballad (presumably like the “Unplugged” version) into a rocker. As a result, he was given 2% of the publishing, but it was never paid until his daughter applied for it pretty recently. Duane’s playing becomes more distinctive and unmistakable as the song goes on. I think Duane’s on a Gibson and Clapton’s on a Strat. Duane adds his “chirping” sound at the very end, which Lynyrd Skynyrd reprised in tribute to him (and Berry Oakley) on “Free Bird” a couple years later. Amazingly, neither the song nor the album did much on release.

    The piano section was supposedly taken by Jim Gordon, without credit, from his former girlfriend Rita Coolidge, who had written the song with the title “Time”. Her version can be heard here, performed by Booker T. Jones and Priscilla Jones in 1973:


    • I think Duane’s on a Gibson and Clapton’s on a Strat.


      The piano part is by Gordon, who was working on a solo album at the same time Layla was being recorded and was using the band’s studio time to record for himself. Clapton heard it and offered to trade using it on the album for letting Gordon use the studio openly for his album, which wound up never seeing the light of day.


      • Muttley

        Never knew that about the Gordon album, I’d love to hear that. Yeah, I knew Gordon plays the piano part on that second section, I meant that according to several witnesses the actual composition was by Rita Coolidge, who wasn’t credited, and dated to the “Mad Dogs And Englishmen” tour (I think). I also mis-recollected a little about Duane’s Layla goldtop below- according to an account I looked up, he actually traded it in Florida for his sunburst shortly before the Fillmore shows in ’71. It’s now made its way to the Big House Museum in Macon. But I was right that it was dog-chewed!


  17. Muttley

    I thought Kiffin’s wife was named Bubbles.


  18. Look closely.
    Layla was there.


  19. Muttley

    That lead guitar and vocals version is fantastic, thanks so much for posting that. Duane truly owns this song, his playing on this is amazing, and that version separates him from Clapton perfectly, for anyone who wasn’t sure who did what.

    The guitar Allman used here was significantly chewed by a dog in the eighties, but it’s still out there on the market somewhere for around $20,000-$30,000 asking, last I saw. Duane traded it in at a shop in Macon, I’m pretty sure.

    Gregg should have added a backing vocal to make this track perfect.

    Go You Hairy Skydawg.