Derek and the Dominoes: Layla
The finest blues-rock album of all time?
Ten out of ten.
If it is not the best blues-rock album of all time, then I cannot wait to hear something even better.
Whatever the genre, great music always seems to come from powerful emotions. When he recorded this album, Eric Clapton was going through a real emotional wringer and this comes over so clearly here.
You can hear pain and frustration in his voice. This is a real case of an artist opening his soul and it makes for great music.
One quite remarkable thing is that, although the songs here were not all written by the band for the album, they all sound as though they were. Everything fits and the sum total is a set of songs that sound as if they belong together without there being any feeling of repetition. That is truely remarkable for over seventy minutes of music.
For me, the musical peak has to be "Layla" but "Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out" and "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" are also great performances.
This album was a band effort and all members are pulling their weight but that seems to have brought the best out of Clapton. Throughout his career, he has always been at his best when he has been a member rather than a leader. Too many of his pure solo works just seem to be a case of banging out another album without putting much into it.
Here you get Clapton's finest work and what just might be the best blues-rock album of all time. It's an essential part of any rock music collection.