One hit wonders, iconic albums, career peaks…you could file Layla under every one of those categories. And while words like classic and timeless are tossed around too often, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs – the sole studio effort by supergroup Derek and The Dominoes – fits that bill.
I’ve worn the damned thing out in almost every conceivable format; I’ve heard several boots of outtakes and demos and even spent many an hour sifting through the live albums (both official and not) over the years. But the twin guitars of Eric Clapton and Duane Allman, the piano section from Bobby Whitlock that even Goodfellas couldn’t rob, the constant battle over which of the four sides (that’s album talk, kids) was actually superior…these are memories and images that have stood the test of time.
I’m not a big fan of these highly priced reissues that expand original albums beyond belief; for some they are a true testimonial of respect while others are a transparent cash grab. But that’s not my wallet in your pocket; I’m just here to pass the word. Looks like there will be a two-CD edition and a fully loaded motherlode version which includes books, vinyl, DVD-audio and more. I’m probably shooting for the former, since it contains some great live material on the second disc as well as a remastered version of the original masterpiece. From the press release:
THE 2CD DELUXE EDITION features:
• Six exciting performances from what was to be Derek and the Dominos’ second album, all remixed by the original session engineer, Andy Johns. The highlight of the six tracks is “Got To Get Better In A Little While” – the group’s last recording – presented in this collection both as a mesmerizing jam version and as the ﬁrst-ever release of the fully produced studio version, finally completed by founding member Bobby Whitlock on keyboards and vocals.
• All four audio performances from Derek and the Domino’s sole, historic television appearance on The Johnny Cash Show, November 9, 1970 – including Clapton’s famous jam on “Matchbox Blues” with Cash and rockabilly legend Carl Perkins.
• The two tracks produced by Phil Spector in early summer 1970 that amounted to the first release by Derek and the Dominos: “Tell the Truth” and “Roll It Over,” the A- and B-side of a single that was quickly pulled from circulation by the group.
• The Layla session out-take “Mean Old World”: the legendary acoustic duet performed by Eric Clapton and Duane Allman.
The SUPER DELUXE EDITION additionally includes:
• Newly remastered and expanded 2-CD set of Derek and the Dominos: In Concert, recorded at the Fillmore East and remastered from the original master tapes.
• Audio only DVD featuring DTS 5.1 and Dolby Surround 5.1 versions of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs mixed by legendary engineer Elliot Scheiner.
• High-fidelity, 180-gram reproduction of the original vinyl double album, remastered directly from the original UK album masters, featuring slightly alternate mixes of some songs.
• A hardcover book, artfully designed with rare and never-seen photographs, and featuring four meticulously researched essays by noted music historian and author Ashley Kahn fashioned from new interviews with Bobby Whitlock, Allman Brothers drummer Butch Trucks, engineer Ashley Kahn , producer Albhy Galuten, guitarist Derek Trucks; plus historic interviews with Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, and producer Tom Dowd.
• Facsimiles of Derek and the Dominos concert tickets and various promotional items, including the famous “Derek is Eric” button created to assure fans of the identity of the group’s lead singer and guitarist.
• Pop-up 3-D artwork and a high quality Layla art print based on the oil painting that graced the original album cover – “La Fille Au Bouquet” by Emile Theodore Frandsen de Schomberg – which has achieved cultural significance in its own right.
Or maybe all you really need to do is pull that old vinyl album off the shelf…there’s nothing wrong with that. But either way, one listen will remind you that they just don’t make ’em like they used to.