Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Derek And The Dominos - Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs (1970)

I'm going to indulge a bit here and act on what lingering loathing I've lovingly lathered over the past few days regarding Mssr. Eric Clapton in the comments section and have decided to put, as Bob would say, the sacred cow on the chopping block for slaughter. I almost chose the overrated Wheels Of Fire, but decided this one would suffice. This is not to say that I'm going to spend the next few lines demoralizing Clapton, but his unwelcome and mediocre spirit will be criticized, for sure. It's not that mediocrity is necessarily a terrible thing, but when such mediocrity is so highly praised, that is when I become particularly agitated, hence his deserved exclusion off my top 50 list, and perhaps even 100, for that matter.

With that, let's get on with the story of Eric's -- er, Derek's -- manic love-fest of an album. It starts off well enough with "I Looked Away," the tender "Bell Bottom Blues" and the rollicking "Keep On Growing" and then, no matter how good Duane Allman's licks or presence, the album suddenly sucks. "Nobody Knows When You're Down And Out" is muddled bluesy dreck; "Anyday," featuring otherwise tasty Duane Allman slide, is pretty much drivel otherwise. This rather lifeless torpor continues on for the entirety of the album, to include the horrible "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" and the most tepid and uninspiring cover of Hendrix's "Little Wing". Two notable exceptions are the ferocious "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?" and, of course, "Layla," which I love oh so dearly. Of course, such a heap of praise is not without explanation. See, that opening guitar line -- that was not only played by Duane Allman, but was created by him as well; and those bird-like tones produced during the piano coda are his as well. In fact, I would be positively frightened to hear not only that song, but this entire album as well had he had not appeared on it. I suppose, perhaps, this is Clapton's true genius: surrounding himself with far better talent to substitute for his own shortcomings and riding their coattails. Hence, his additional lack of kudos from me for his time during Cream, Blind Faith and The Yardbirds, although as far as praise is concerned, this is Clapton's best work -- whatever that means. Regardless, it is what is. Thank you, Duane. Screw you, Eric. And I promise to be nice for the next few. C-


Barbara (aka Layla) said...

LOL! At least you like "Layla" :)

Master Cianan said...

haw haw! Man, I hope eric reads this.

The Mad Hatter said...

You know, I would thoroughly enjoy a conversation with him. I'd spent the whole time asking about Duane Allman and Jimmy Page.

s.jones said...

I agree with what you are saying. Clapton is a hack artist. However,i was wondering why on earth do people worship the ground he walks on? All his originals are mediocroe and obscure. his only hits are covers!