In 1970, with amazing results, two of the best guitarists of the day came together, although only briefly. Only one short year later one would be dead, the other removed from the music scene, but that brief moment, the “perfect storm” collaboration, is forever immortalized in a single song: “Layla”. The band was called Derek and the Dominos, the album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, and the guitarists were Eric Clapton, and Duane Allman.
Always aware of this album and in particular “Layla” the song, I only recently came to appreciate it in its entirety. Groundbreaking blues and rock and roll, this album can easily be considered one of the greatest rock and roll albums of all time, but other than the title track it is somewhat unknown. I chose this album for this month's rock and roll feature simply because I feel this album is timeless. Was it a “Perfect Storm” type of scenario that brought together such talent and produced such amazing results? Maybe... No matter the cause though, they truly do not make music like this anymore.
The title of this album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, can be both confusing and extremely accurate depending on your viewpoint. These certainly are not traditional love songs. They all do deal with “love” topics but more often than not its heartbreak. In a way, yes they are love songs, but if you're expecting sappy romantic love songs you might want to look elsewhere. The music itself is less about the psychedelic than other late 60s early 70s albums, like Clapton's work with Cream. Instead its a straights forward, blues rock explosion that ranges from foot stomping rock and roll to the purest blues. There is also a lot of the earthiness that would become more prominent on Clapton's own 461 Ocean Boulevard album released in '74.