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Bobby Whitlock Talks Derek and The Dominos… and More

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Last night we called Bobby Whitlock at home in Austin Texas to talk to him about the Derek and The Dominos In Concert album; after a few pleasantries we got down to business. So just what were Derek and The Dominos like when it came to playing live? “Well, even on our very worst day we were better than anyone else playing live at that time.” A proud boast and one that we think is fully justified when you listen to their’ live double album that was released in January 1973. We might be prepared to go one step further, it just might be as good an album as Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.

Bobby had got in touch with uDiscover over the weekend to correct us on our piece about George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’. In our original article we had not mentioned Bobby playing on the single, although we of course knew he played on All Things Must Pass. “I’m sitting here at home looking at my George Wall that includes my multi platinum record that George gave me for All Things Must Pass. I sang harmony vocals on the chorus and played pump organ on ‘My Sweet Lord’. With the acoustic nature of George’s album, pump organ was the perfect instrument and I was the only guy there who knew who to play one.”

Twenty year old Bobby had been at Stax’s Memphis studios during the recording of Delaney and Bonnie’s debut in early 1968. When the band went on the road he joined them and he played on their second album recorded for Elektra in Los Angeles in the spring of 1969, it was the start of an intensely productive recording period for Whitlock. “I’d arrived in the UK in 1969 with Delaney and Bonnie’s band, which included Carl Radle and Jim Gordon. In the year following our arrival we recorded non-stop. In early December there was the Delaney and Bonnie and Friends album recorded in London. Eric Clapton and George Harrison played on our tour of the UK and Europe which is how we got to know one another so well.”

“We all played on Eric Clapton’s first solo album, then there was All Things Must Pass; I never missed a day of recording, I was in the studio every day, even if I wasn’t playing, I just soaked it all up. We had started recording some more with Eric and then the three of us also played on Doris Troy’s album that George was producing for Apple. Jim, Carl and I were such a tight unit, we just played so great together. Jim and Carl were so experienced and there was me playing by the seat of my pants! But the thing I had was feel, my gospel and R&B background was a product of living my whole life absorbing southern soul.”

According to Bobby, “I got my blues from growing up; my whole family was a mix of River Rats, Moonshiners, Whores…and my Daddy was a Southern Baptist preacher. My Mom cooked on a open fire and I picked cotton, so I had the credentials.” Whitlock’s credentials are there for all to hear on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs that was recorded between August and September 1970.

But before anyone could hear the album the band was on the road. The band had made their live debut, and acquired their name, at London’s Lyceum in June 1970 when Dave Mason was included in the line-up. A short UK tour of the four-piece began on 1 August before they headed to Florida to record their debut. When the album was largely finished the band went back on the road for the second leg of a UK tour starting at Croydon’s Fairfield Halls on 20 September. In mid October the band began a US tour in New Jersey and on a little over a week later on 23 and 24 October they played the Fillmore East, both nights were recorded.

These are the shows that made up Derek and the Dominos In Concert, but according to Bobby Whitlock, “I didn’t even know we were being recorded, save for a couple of additional mics. And then of course it didn’t even get released until much later on. In fact no one told me it was coming out; the first I knew was when I read about it in Rolling Stone.”

With Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs released in November it meant that for the audience at the Fillmore East much of the material was new to them. The In Concert album finally got a release in January 1973 and made No.20 on the Billboard album chart, but could only manage a disappointing #36 in the UK. But with the band already history there was no means for it to be promoted, which actually makes their chart positions fairly respectable.

In Concert opens with Clapton and Whitlock’s ‘Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad’. It starts with Eric’s great guitar intro but it is when Bobby’s Hammond B-3 joins the fray that it becomes clear what made the band so special in concert. The fullness of the sound, the togetherness that Whitlock talks about in the playing of Jim Gordon, Carl Radle and himself is just magnificent.

In Concert captures the band in all their rampant glory and at all times there is that laid back Southern soulfulness that Messrs Radle, Whitlock and Gordon brought to the band. It’s an album that is all too often overlooked, but if you want to know what made this band as great as Whitlock claims then this is as good a place to start as any.

Last night Bobby Whitlock told us that he’s about to go back into the studio with producer Rob Fraboni to make as Whitlock says, “A very special album, but I cannot tell you anymore about who is going to be on it, as it is a secret.” Anyone who has been following Bobby’s recent musical exploits with his wife CoCo Carmel will know that Bobby’s songwriting as good as it always was. So here at uDiscover we cannot wait to hear the new record.

Listen on Spotify to the concert from the 40th Anniversary reissue of Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs plus the 3 different versions of the songs that were on Live At The Fillmore.
Download the album from iTunes, or buy it on Amazon

22 Comments

22 Comments

  1. gordon campbell

    January 27, 2015 at 5:57 pm

    Hey Bobby,
    Those were the days for sure. Im gonna be down in Austin in April recording at a private studio. Would love to have lunch or drinks… peace and love. gc

  2. George Covetskie

    January 30, 2015 at 1:40 am

    Bobby, MY favorite Album of all time is Derek and the Dominos. ( I also bought the Live record and I love it ) But I got to tell you, I Cannot phantom Layla or any of the other tunes being done without your Playing. It blew me away from day 1 to hear what you layed down. I am not a piano player, but if I did, I would start copying your stuff just have in my resume. I’m a guitar player and bassist. I’m doing Classic Country & Rock these days and they seem to like it. I use to play in a Rockin Blues Band in NY Called White Hot & Blue. We tried Layla and got so close it was scary but the ONLY reason we did not follow up on it, was because of the Piano part and anyone we tried, over did it. I just want to Thank you for being that part of my music history. Thank You !

  3. Keith

    January 31, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Why isn’t Duane (Allman) mentioned, he was the cat slidin’ all over the album

    • Fred

      April 30, 2015 at 8:32 pm

      Tru dat

    • Noodle

      April 30, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      Hi Keith: I was thinking the same thing.

    • rc

      May 2, 2015 at 3:00 am

      Damn right! No Duane, no Layla And Other Assorted….

    • Anthony

      June 29, 2015 at 12:03 am

      Duane did NOT play on the ” in concert ” live album

  4. Branislav Radovanović

    February 2, 2015 at 8:14 am

    In the middle of 80es, was given “In concert” together with about a dozen EC LPs by a school friend, In return, I gave her my Levi’s jacket. Already small notwithstanding, this was a best bargain I made record-wise, Of them all, “In concert” was the oldest, but by far the best. In times before internet, my only reference was NME encyclopedia, and even there it was not mentioned, by a single line.

    Nevertheless, it remains one of my “desert island” records and is of course still in my possession. “Live at Filmore” takes never comes close.

  5. Jipes

    February 2, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Great post, I loved the studio recording of Derek & the Dominoes but this live recording is really great !

  6. gary trenholm

    April 30, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Really udiscover.not one mention of Duane.WOW.
    play any of the songs off assorted love songs without Duanes guitar see what you got

  7. Kevin

    April 30, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    in response to “Keith” who asked why Duane Allman was not mentioned; it’s been well publicized that Whitlock has never had much regard or respect for Duane’s ability as a lead guitarist. He’s been quoted as saying Duane played the same licks over and over again with very little imagination.
    Anyone who can actually hear knows this to be anything but accurate – we can only guess Mr. Whitlock has his reasons for his opinions…

    • robert

      May 2, 2015 at 3:37 am

      I’tt totally disagree with that my friend. I have listened to the album more times than I can count. Duane brought an edge and a controlled rage to it. He doesn’t repeat except maybe Key To The Highway, my favorite. Eric keeps wooing louder with every rise of Duane’s wicked slide! BTW, it was Duane that said wait a minute. Let’s try this, on Layla. Eric originally wanted it to be a much slower and subdued love song. Duane said you have to scream for that girl! His guitar sounds like a violin at the ending of that song. My humble opinion..

  8. Bruce

    May 1, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    The drum/guitar duet that opens Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad is just incredible. Jim Gordon’s swinging beat and fills combined with Eric’s muted notes are something I’ve never tired of since the album came out. And when Bobby’s white hot organ joins the fray…mwah!

  9. david bundy

    June 15, 2015 at 4:54 am

    I was lucky enough to have been at the debut concert at the Lyceum & at the Fairfield Halls Croydon where I remember Eric saying can you all hear me? Should the rest of the band turn down? (applause) Or should I turn up? ( huge applause). Eric was playing thru a pair of Fender Dual Showman’s, I felt a Marshall stack would have got the job done better but nevertheless it was a special night Bobby and Eric were like “Sam & Dave” vocally !

  10. Rick

    June 28, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Bobby is great, his voice is unbelievable. I just don’t know why he bad mouthed Duane Allman regarding the Layla sessions. How could anyone not like Duane Allman’s playing?

  11. Anthony kabbeko

    June 29, 2015 at 12:05 am

    duane Did NOT play on the ” in concert” album

  12. NotADoc

    September 15, 2015 at 4:30 am

    I read back in the late 70s quotes from Bobby Whitlock about how to tell the difference between Eric Clapton and Duane Allman that ALL the best guitar on the Layla recording was Duane. Don’t know where the “Bobby dissing Duane” idea came from.

  13. Jim Brown

    September 16, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    Jim Gordon then played on Derek and the Dominos’ 1970 double album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, contributing, in addition to his drumming, the elegiac piano coda for the title track, “Layla.” In later years, Whitlock claimed that the coda was not written by Gordon: “Jim took that piano melody from his ex-girlfriend Rita Coolidge. I know because in the D&B days I lived in John Garfield’s old house in the Hollywood Hills and there was a guest house with an upright piano in it. Rita and Jim were up there in the guest house and invited me to join in on writing this song with them called ‘Time.’… Her sister Priscilla wound up recording it with Booker T. Jones…. Jim took the melody from Rita’s song and didn’t give her credit for writing it. Her boyfriend ripped her off.”[4] In his book, Graham Nash made the same claim for his one-time girlfriend.[5] “Time” was not released by Priscilla Coolidge and Booker T. until their 1973 album Chronicles.[

  14. Kmac

    April 25, 2016 at 9:30 pm

    Although Duane did not play on the live album, the author writes about LAALS and its personnel with no mention of Mr. Allman. BW’s opinion of DA’s guitar work aside, DA’ds role on the album and the ensuing historic and critical significance of his performance in the studio should not go unmentioned.

  15. Lloyd Zufelt

    March 5, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Has anyone ever asked Eric Clapton about what your saying?? I mean j y st listen to all of DA work of music it does not sound the same.

  16. D. Michael

    November 8, 2017 at 2:12 am

    Can anyone confirm for me that “Why Does Love Have to Be So Sad” and “Got to Get Better in a Little While” and maybe other tunes on the CD are different versions than the ones on the original album?

  17. R Gates

    November 9, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    The remastered “In Concert” was named “Live at the Fillmore” because the sounds of the two albums were so different. I prefer In Concert for its rough edges and original sounds of a live D&D. Some prefer ‘Live at the Fillmore’ but I think they are nuts. In Concert is so superior to the remastered, pastuerized “Live at the Fillmore”

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