Saturday, January 9, 2016

Derek and the Dominos - 1994 - 1970 "Live at the Fillmore"

Live at the Fillmore is a live double album by Derek and the Dominos, recorded in two performances in October 1970 at the Fillmore East and released on 22 February 1994. It includes live material previously released on the In Concert album, live material previously released on Eric Clapton's Crossroads box set, and several previously unreleased numbers.
The set-list contains eight Derek and the Dominos songs (seven from the album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs plus "Got to Get Better in a Little While"), three tunes from Clapton's first solo album (on which the other three band members had played), and one song from two bands to which Clapton had previously belonged ("Presence of The Lord" from Blind Faith; and a different arrangement of Robert Johnson's song, "Crossroads" that Clapton had previously covered with Cream).

In his liner notes, Anthony DeCurtis calls Live at the Fillmore "a digitally remixed and remastered version of the 1973 Derek and the Dominos double album In Concert, with five previously unreleased performances and two tracks that have only appeared on the four-CD Clapton retrospective, Crossroads." But this does not adequately describe the album. Live at the Fillmore is not exactly an expanded version of In Concert; it is a different album culled from the same concerts that were used to compile the earlier album. Live at the Fillmore contains six of the nine recordings originally released on In Concert, and three of its five previously unreleased performances are different recordings of songs also featured on In Concert -- "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?," "Tell the Truth," and "Let It Rain." The other two, "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" and "Little Wing," have not been heard before in any concert version. Even when the same recordings are used on Live at the Fillmore as on In Concert, they have, as noted, been remixed and, as not noted, re-edited. In either form, Derek and the Dominos' October 1970 stand at the Fillmore East, a part of the group's only U.S. tour, finds them a looser aggregation than they seemed to be in the studio making their only album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. A trio backing Eric Clapton, the Dominos leave the guitarist considerable room to solo on extended numbers, five of which run over ten minutes each. Clapton doesn't show consistent invention, but his playing is always directed, and he plays more blues than you can hear on any other Clapton live recording.

With all due respect, it is borderline criminal that this terrific live album only receives a 3 star rating. I would like to refer to it as legendary, but this album is not as well known or critically acclaimed as The Allman Brothers Band's “At Fillmore East" (and expanded editions thereof) from the same (certainly legendary) venue and following year in 1971, but rivals it in terms of quality. If you are a fan of Clapton's music or more particularly his guitar playing, this is the definitive album. He and the Dominos perform numbers from their brilliant studio album, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, along with a few numbers that were to be released on their second album which never materialized. Clapton's playing is phenomenal, with extended solos and jamming that can get a bit tedious at times (“Let it Rain”), but otherwise his note choice is impeccable and his Fender Stratocaster (the infamous "Brownie" I believe) guitar tone has never sounded better, even while implementing his wah-wah pedal on the first two numbers. The Dominos are an experienced and more than capable rhythm section, with Bobby Whitlock's supporting vocals making up for Clapton's inexperience and deficiencies as a lead singer. Clapton tears through several blues numbers highlighted by “Key to the Highway” and “Have You Ever Loved a Woman,” playing with a fire and passion that he subsequently lost and never quite regained, cementing his legacy as an all-time great guitarist and at the forefront of greatest blues players. By far his greatest best album and an absolute must for any E.C. fan worth their salt.

Derek & The Dominoes was one of rock's first jam bands. Whereas their classic album LAYLA (1970) can be best remembered as the prime mixing of the blues and dual rock lead guitar, IN CONCERT is the testament of their impressive jamming abilities. They were associated with the Allman Brothers Band due to Duane Allman's crucial contributions on the Layla CD. However, the core quartet(Clapton, Whitlock, Radle & Gordon) were on their own for the subsequent 1970 tour. The Allmans' spirit was certainly there on the concert stage. In 1973, they released the album IN CONCERT, which is the main source of this more recent box set. Although the 1973 release met little fanfare (the band had already broken up 2 years prior), a listen revealed that this album rivaled the intensity and beauty of the Allman's Fillmore East classic album, which was recorded around the same time. Both albums contain extraordinary guitar solos, extemsive drum solos, essential blues reworkings, and plainly intense jamming. In the early '90s, both albums were remixed and similarly repackaged by Polydor: The Allman's FILLMORE CONCERTS and Dominoes' LIVE AT THE FILLMORE. Each box sets contained new liner notes, extra tracks. Everything sounds brilliant in its remastered glory. Eric Clapton and his American bandmates were at the top of their game when they came to the Fillmore in October 1970. This extraordinary box set faithfully preserves the mind-boggling complete live show they presented.
Very few people actually had a chance to attend a Dominoes concert, so this double CD certainly shows the rest of us what it was like.

Track listing
Disc 1

    "Got to Get Better in a Little While" (Eric Clapton) – 13:52
    "Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?" (Bobby Whitlock, Clapton) – 14:49
    "Key to the Highway" (Big Bill Broonzy, Charles Segar) – 6:25
    "Blues Power" (Clapton, Leon Russell) – 10:31
    "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" (Billy Myles) – 8:16
    "Bottle of Red Wine" (Bonnie Bramlett, Eric Clapton) – 5:34

Disc 2

    "Tell the Truth" (Whitlock, Clapton) – 11:28
    "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" (Jimmy Cox) – 5:33
    "Roll It Over" (Whitlock, Clapton) – 6:40
    "Presence of the Lord" (Clapton) – 6:16
    "Little Wing" (Jimi Hendrix) – 7:00
    "Let It Rain" (Bramlett, Clapton) – 19:46
    "Crossroads" (Robert Johnson, arranged by Clapton) – 8:29


    Eric Clapton: lead vocals, electric guitar
    Carl Radle: bass guitar
    Bobby Whitlock: piano, Hammond organ, backing vocals
    Jim Gordon: drums, percussion



  2. Thanx for this classic album!

  3. Chiquilicuatre y ZappaJanuary 10, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    many thanks