Music Monday: November 29, 2021

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Before we get to this week’s song, I wanted to let you know that beginning December 1, I will once again feature my 25 Days Of Christmas Music series. I would love for you to join me. And please share your favorite holiday tunes in the comments. Thanks to suggestions by so many of you in the past I have discovered new seasonal music I might not have found on my own. I hope I will do the same for you this year.

On November 9, 1970 Derek & The Dominos released Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs. I adore this album for so many reasons: the one-two punch of Eric Clapton’s virtuoso playing matched note for note with Duane Allman’s, some of Clapton’s best singing & writing were on these tracks, the band as a whole was unbelievably gifted, they did a beautiful cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” & several blues classics plus the power & beauty of the title track helps it remain an iconic staple in rock music history.

Several artists supposedly based a few of their songs on today’s tune. Two of my favorites are Dolly Parton’s “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Fade Away”. But even without those tributes, this song is still one of my all time favorites. Clapton’s expression of pain & angst is palpable in every word he sang and the band stayed with him every step of the way.

He has continued to perform this song throughout his career during his live shows and many versions are incredibly good (most notably the “24 Nights” version). But the original just knocks me out every time I hear it. Derek & The Dominos only made one record together but without it the landscape of rock music would look & sound unbelievably different. Bravo to a great album.

“It’s all wrong but it’s alright
The way that you treat me baby
Once I was strong but I lost the fight
You won’t find a better loser
“.

Allman and Dominos

Layla album

clapton allman

Top: Duane Allman with Derek & The Dominos in 1970 (L-R): drummer Jim Gordon, bassist Carl Radle, pianist Bobby Whitlock & Eric Clapton (center). Middle: The cover of the “Layla” album. Bottom: Clapton and Allman in 1970. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos: “Bell Bottom Blues” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Bobby Whitlock).

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 524

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Aug 2021 blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.

On Day 389 I shared a clip of Derek & The Dominos on “The Johnny Cash Show” which aired in January 1971. It was filmed two months earlier and featured the host & his guests singing a completely sublime version of “Matchbox” together with the song’s writer, Carl Perkins. But before that glorious moment, the group performed today’s pick from their only album released in November 1970. The studio sessions for that record, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs began 51 years ago on August 22, 1970.

Eric Clapton first met the other Dominos-pianist & singer Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon-in 1969. They were part of the band for the American duo Delaney & Bonnie who toured with Blind Faith that year. After the break-up of his group Clapton continued playing with the duo & their band which was rebilled as Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. Even George Harrison joined then for a few shows. But in the spring of 1970 Delaney started firing members of the group who demanded raises including the future Dominos. .

They reunited with Clapton during the studio sessions for Harrison’s All Things Must Pass album. After that Clapton & Whitlock began serious talks about forming a band and recruited Radle & Gordon as the rhythm section. The group flew to Florida to work with engineer Tom Dowd who Clapton knew from his time in Cream. Dowd took the band to see The Allman Brothers in concert, leading to Clapton’s meeting with Duane Allman. He ended up working with the group in the studio & played on all but three of the tracks on the Layla album. It was released three months later and it is one of my favorite records of all time.

And I wonder does she know
When she left me it hurt me so
I need your love baby please don’t make me wait
Tell me it’s not too late
“.

eric & bobby

Gordon and Radle

Top: Bobby Whitlock on piano and Eric Clapton on guitar during Derek & The Dominos appearance on “The Johnny Cash Show” in January 1971. Bottom: The rhythm section of the band: drummer Jim Gordon and bassist Carl Radle. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos: “It’s Too Late” (Performed live on “The Johnny Cash Show”, taped November 1970. Airdate January 1971. Originally released in 1970, written by Chuck Willis).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 331

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Feb 2021 Blog

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are still facing a serious situation but a new year gives us hope for the new days, seasons, opportunities & moments ahead. Still, music is something that will never change for me. It is my refuge, the most comforting part of my life & the one thing I consistently count on. So until a more normal semblance of life returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day. And if this helps anyone else, even better.

When I remember the albums that changed my life while I was growing up, Born To Run, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs, Elton John’s Greatest Hits & Let It Be are amongst the first ones I recall. But before I heard any of them, I was in love with another one that I did not even know existed. I only knew I was in love with songs like “I Feel The Earth Move” and “It’s Too Late” and the woman behind them when I was only a little kid. It was not until I heard today’s song that I finally sought out the album all three songs were a part of. It was Tapestry by Carole King, released 50 years ago today, Feb 10, 1971. It was not only transformative in teaching me about great music, it also taught me how talented one person-a woman-could be. She wrote & performed her own songs, arranged them and played her own accompaniment as well.

King, who was born Carol Joan Klein in NYC 79 years ago on February 9, 1942, started playing piano as a child. She learned from her mother who played as well. King met her songwriting partner & future husband, Gerry Goffin, when they were both students at Queens Community College and were married in 1959 when King was 17. Soon they became songwriters at the Brill Building & after the success of 1960’s “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” they were on their way. Ten years later King recorded her landmark album, released before she turned 30 years old. And by 1977, it had spent a record breaking 302 weeks on the Billboard albums chart.

I adore several female artists and each has her own gifts. Aretha Franklin is the undisputable Queen of Soul, Linda Ronstadt’s voice has an undeniable power & range all its own and Joni Mitchell is an eloquent poet & story teller. But King has an unbelievable gift and uniqueness that separates her from a group even that distinguished. And the songs from her 1971 album are absolutely invaluable to music. Happy birthday, Carole King. And happy anniversary to the beautiful Tapestry.

“Traveling around sure gets me down and lonely
Nothing else to do but close my mind
I sure hope the road don’t come to own me
There’s so many dreams I’ve yet to find
“.

Tapestry

Carole King’s iconic 1971 album, Tapestry. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Carole King: “So Far Away” (1971, written by Carole King).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 258

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

kurt v

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

November 27 marked the 78th birth anniversary of guitarist extraordinaire Jimi Hendrix. While I could appreciate how undeniably talented he was and how groundbreaking his sound was, most of his music did not hit my soul like other types did. But once I discovered the “Layla” album, I found a song by Hendrix that I truly loved. Side four track one of Derek & The Dominos incomparable album-released 50 years ago on November 9, 1970- was their cover of today’s song and it is simply beautiful.

Clapton met Hendrix in October 1966 when he came to London and joined Cream onstage at one of their shows. The two guitarists became instant friends and Clapton recorded this track four years later not long before Hendrix passed away in 1970. Of course, Clapton’s vocals got me from the first note he sang, and his & Duane Allman’s playing is absolute magic on the record, too. But at the core of this song is a melodic poetic ballad that is truly sublime.

When I’m sad, she comes to me
With a thousand smiles, she gives to me free
She says it’s alright
Take anything you want from me,
Anything
“.

Jimi Eric

Jimi Hendrix (L) with Eric Clapton (R) circa 1967. (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos: “Little Wing” (1970, written by Jimi Hendrix).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 249

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

kurt v

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Today marks the 74th birth anniversary of one of the greatest guitar players to ever pick up that instrument, Duane Allman. Born on November 20, 1946 in Nashville, TN to a United States Army lieutenant & his wife, Duane founded the band that would bear his family’s name when he was 22. According to his website it was his younger brother, Gregg, who taught Duane to play the guitar. Gregg received one as a Christmas gift the same year Duane got a motorbike. He learned to ride, Gregg started to play after learning the basic chords from a neighbor. After Duane totaled his bike, he became interested in what Gregg was doing. Duane learned as well then sold the wrecked bike to buy his own guitar around the age of 14. The brothers decided to pursue a career in music after seeing B.B. King in concert when they were teenagers. In 1957 the family was living in Florida and by 1961 the brothers were playing together at local dances in the Daytona Beach area.

After a brief stint in a band “Hour Glass” in Los Angeles in the late 1960’s, Duane returned to Florida. It was around this time he met drummer Butch Trucks and fellow guitarist Dickey Betts to form the hub of what would become The Allman Brothers Band, once Duane called Gregg back to Florida as well to join the group. Their self titled debut album was released in 1969. That year Duane also did sesion work for Aretha Franklin (on her cover of The Band’s “The Weight“), King Curtis (on his cover of “Games People Play“) and Wilson Pickett (on his cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude“). It was that record that first introduced Eric Clapton to Duane’s work and eventually the two met backstage at an ABB concert in Miami during the summer of 1970. It lead to his best known collaboration, with Clapton’s band, Derek & The Dominos, while they were recording their masterpiece, “Layla &Other Assorted Love Songs”. Duane appears on 11 of the album’s 14 tracks and he & Clapton bonded for life. In his 2007 autobiography, he referred to Duane as “the musical brother I’d never had but wished I did”.

Six years ago his daughter Galadrielle Allman (who was 2 when she lost her father), wrote a book about him based on countless interviews she conducted from family, fiends, bandmates and other musicians who worked with the guitar icon entitled “Please Be With Me: A Song For My Father, Duane Allman”. It’s not that I am not interested in his life because I am. But a part of me already knows all I need to: that his playing was fierce ferocious and forever, that his band was one of the greatest to ever take a stage & together they made some of the most incredible music of any generation.

My friends tell me, that I’ve been such a fool.
But I had to stand by and take it baby, all for lovin’ you.
Drown myself in sorrow as I look at what you’ve done.
But nothing seemed to change, the bad times stayed the same,
And I can’t run”.

Duane

Galadrielle Allman In Conversation With Jim Fusilli And Special Guest Gregg Allman

Top: Duane Allman in the studio circa 1968, Bottom (L-R): Duane’s daughter, Galadrielle Allman with her uncle, Gregg Allman at her book signing in NYC, March 2014. (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

The Allman Brothers: “Whipping Post” (1969, written by Gregg Allman).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 159

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Bruce quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

Today is a huge milestone, both in my world and the music world as a whole.  Fifty years ago today-August 22, 1970-the recording sessions for the album, “Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs”, by Derek & The Dominos began in Miami, FL.  Four days later, August 26, engineer Tom Dowd took the group to see an Allman Brothers Band concert.  According to drummer Butch Trucks, that was the one time he saw his bandmate, guitarist Duane Allman, nervous when he spotted the Dominos’ Eric Clapton in the front row.  After the show Dowd introduced the two guitarists and an all night jam session ensued.  When it ended, Allman asked if he could stay to listen to the recording work.  Clapton agreed on one condition:  that Allman play on the album.  He did and that is how two of the most brilliant guitar players in the world teamed up to bring us one of the most unforgettable and iconic riffs ever on the album’s title track.  Sa-woon.

I would not discover this album, namely the title track at first, until nearly a decade later, when I was about 14 years old.  But I will never forget the first time I heard it (see Day 86) because it completely changed my life and what I thought music should sound like from that point on.  But when I went to buy this masterpiece, I could not find it.  My local record store guy told me it was out of print!!!  I had no idea that could even happen!!!  Since this was years before I could drive to other stores in search of this gem, and decades before the world had the internet & ebay, I was relegated to trying to record the song from the radio.  I mostly ended up with a dozen clips of the piano coda.

A few months later, I started babysitting for a couple around my neighborhood.  The wife knew I loved music and encouraged me to bring my records over to listen to after the kids were in bed.  The first time I went there, her husband showed me how to use the stereo system and told me to feel free to listen to any of his records.  His collection consisted of 237 albums.  It was like a record store right there in the living room.  When the kids were asleep, I put my copy of “Born To Run” (BTR) on the stereo & began looking through the records which were not in any particular order.  I put several aside I wanted to listen to before coming across an album with an abstract painting of a blonde haired woman on it.  There was something covering half her face which turned out to be a bouquet of flowers.  It was very pretty but it did not have a name or title on it.

The album opened up but there were not any identifying names inside either, just a collage of pictures of people I did not recognize.  When I turned it over, I saw a picture of a guitar in the middle of the floor surrounded by an array of several other objects, but I still did not see a name.  What I did see were the album song listings below the picture.  It was a double album and when I got to side 4 track 3 & read the title, “Layla”, I said it over and over as if I was trying to convince myself it was real.  I remember thinking could there be another song with the same name other than the one I could not find because there is no way the actual “Layla” album could just fall into my lap like this, right?  Then my eye went up to the top of the back cover where I finally saw the title of the album:

LAYLA
and other assorted love songs
  DEREK AND THE DOMINOS

Layla framed

Top (L) The front and back covers of the “Layla” album.  The picture on the front,”La Jeune Fille au Bouquet” (Young Girl with Bouquet) is by Émile Théodore Frandsen. Top (R) is the inside of the album.  The bottom picture is my framed copy of the iconic album.  (Images found online.  Original sources unknown.)

I do not remember what happened immediately after that.  I might have passed out for several minutes, I might have let out a huge internal scream, I cannot really recall.  But I do recollect that my hands were shaking and I did not know what day it was.  When I regained my clarity, I was in complete denial that I had found the actual “Layla” album.  I opened it up to look at the pictures of the band again but I did not see anyone that looked like Clapton from photos I saw of him previously, so I still refused to believe my luck.  Then I took the albums out to read the song titles and saw his name credited under several of them.  Finally I decided the only way to know for sure was to put the record on and listen to it.  So I took BTR off the turntable (sorry Bruce) and put on side 4.  As I held the needle over track 3, I said a prayer that if this was indeed the real “Layla” song I had been searching for, I would never ask for anything again.  Ever.  I put the needle down, closed my eyes and held my breath.  Then I heard that unsurpassable delicious opening riff and I swooned.  And said thank you for the gift of such a sublime song, for stumbling upon this album and for everyone involved with making this musical paragon.

I stood there and listened to that one track for the next 90 minutes or so until the parents came home.  When the wife walked in she asked if I was alright because she said I was completely flushed.  I picked up the album to show her what I was listening to when her husband walked in as well.  He just looked at me, nodded and said “Clapton”.  And I nodded right back.

I asked if I could come back the next day to tape the album but he told me to take it home and bring it back next week when they wanted me to babysit again.  He also gave me his copy of “Slowhand” to take as well so I could have a Clapton double play party.  I had a new hero helping me learn more about one of my musical heroes.  It was exhilarating to find another kindred spirit who got music & all its wonder the way I did, the way the first cool autumn wind feels after the endless humid days of summer.

Once I listened to the whole “Layla” album I discovered other gems like “Bell Bottom Blues” (See Day 81), “It’s Too Late” and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad“.  On that last one, Allman’s solo segues into “Joy To The World” (yes, the Christmas carol.  Give it a listen.  You hear it at the 3:45 mark of the song and it is stupendous).

The last time I babysat for that couple before I left for college, the husband gave me that album as a going away gift.  I still have it, in a frame on a wall next to the two other albums that changed my life, BTR and “Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul”.  Aside from a handful of family heirlooms, those three records would be the things I would save in the event of a catastrophe.  It’s only right.  After all, they saved me.  How could I not do the same for them?

Duane and Dominos

L-R:  Allman with Derek & The Dominos in Miami, FL 1970 (L-R):  Duane Allman, Jim Gordon (drums), Carl Radle (bass), Bobby Whitlock (piano & vocals) & Eric Clapton, center (guitar & vocals)..  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Eric and Duane

Clapton & Allman in Miami, FL 1970.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Derek & The Dominos:  “Layla” (1970, written by Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.