Thursday, July 8, 2010

24. Derek and the Dominos - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Counting down my favorite 25 albums of 1970:

Derek and the Dominoes - Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs

Three months before releasing this album, Eric Clapton released his first solo album. The self-titled album would set the standard for his subsequent 70s studio albums - mannered, mature, pop-friendly songs performed with impeccable technique. This makes the raw emotion with which he tears through the songs on this album all the more exciting by comparison. His vocals have never been this passionate, his guitar playing never this searing. He bares his soul on every track of this album, which includes two bona fide classics: Layla, and Bell Bottom Blues.

Critical consensus (according to Acclaimed Music) rates this album in the top 5 of 1970, and if I was making this list 20 years ago, I would doubtlessly agree. Back then I couldn't get enough of Clapton's long jammy versions of blues standards, and the three such songs on this album (Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out, Key to the Highway, and Have You Ever Loved a Woman) are longer, jammier, and bluesier than usual. Listening to the album now though, I'm finding that these tracks, as great as they are, put an unwelcome damper on the intensity of the rest of the album.

No comments: