Derek and the Dominos
Eric Clapton formed Derek and the Dominos in 1970, after touring the United States with a bunch of drunk hippies popularly known as Delaney & Bonnie & Friends. He stole the horn section, enlisted keyboard player Bobby Whitlock, bassist Carl Radle and drummer Jim Gordon (all from Delaney & Bonnie as well), then started jamming on a brand of blues rock that dispensed with his previous taste for heaviness. Instead, Derek and the Dominos incorporated elements of the emerging country rock scene, plus some gospel and a more traditional blues than Clapton had previously played. When the group went down to Miami to record what would become one of the great records of the rock era, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, Georgia-born guitar prophet Duane Allman sat in on the sessions. The assemblage of excellent musicians coupled with Clapton's state of intense personal turmoil led to a collection of songs and performances generally considered to stand as his greatest achievement as an artist. One listen to "Bell Bottom Blues" should convince any listener, as the traditionally aloof superstar performs with openly wounded sincerity. Allman's contribution cannot be overstated: the slide guitars that sing throughout "Layla" are some of his best work. Sadly, Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident less than a year after the album came out. As for Derek & the Dominos, Clapton's period of personal upheaval continued as he disbanded the group and became a recluse until the release of 461 Ocean Boulevard in 1974. In the interim, the great but admittedly uneven Derek and the Dominos In Concert was released, offering listeners a glimpse of the group's only tour -- specifically their dates at the Fillmore Auditorium in December of 1970.