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.)