Tedeschi-Trucks Band is the perfect band to revisit Layla and all the other assorted love songs
today at 11:40 am
What’ll you do when you get lonely
And nobody’s waiting by your side?
You’ve been running and hiding much too long
You know it’s just your foolish pride
We all know the story. Beatles legend George Harrison is married to model Pattie Boyd. It’s not working out. Harrison’s friend, guitar hero Eric Clapton is smitten with Ms. Boyd. Although she’s not happy with George, she’s not ready to leave him and certainly not for one of his best friends. People tend to do strange things when they’re in love, especially if it’s not returned. Eric Clapton wrote “Layla”, a song about unrequited love that turned into one of classic rock’s greatest anthems.
On November 9, 1970, Clapton and some of his favorite musicians at that time released the double album “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” under the pseudonym of Derek and the Dominos. One of those musicians was guitarist Duane Allman from The Allman Brothers Band. For seventy-five minutes the two guitarists traded licks. The guitars were searing and soaring. It’s one of the greatest guitar-centric albums ever. Fifty-one years later, those guitars still holds up.
If it was only the guitars that would be enough, but the album was much more than that. The songs that Clapton either wrote or covered showed how much in love he was with Boyd. You could feel the pain and angst in his vocals. When you combine those vocals with outstanding music, it makes for a special album. “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” is certainly that and more.
I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down
Like a fool, I fell in love with you
You turned my whole world upside down
Derek Trucks was born in 1979; nine years after the release of “Layla.” He said as he grew up his father helped him get to sleep by playing “Layla” and also the music of The Allman Brothers Band. The latter certainly made sense as his uncle Butch Trucks was a founding member and drummer for the band. By the time he was ten years old, Trucks was becoming a child prodigy on the guitar and he was obsessed with the slide guitar playing of Duane Allman. By the time he was twenty, he formally joined the Allman Brothers Band after several years of performing with them as a guest artist.
Susan Tedeschi was born on November 9, 1970. Coincidentally, that was the same day as the release of “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.” Her bluesy voice has been compared to many great artists from the past. She formed her own band in 1993. She married Derek Trucks in 1991. Both maintained their own bands before deciding to somewhat meld them together to form the Tedeschi-Trucks Band.
It’s easy to classify Tedeschi-Trucks as a jam band. They’re known for their live performances in which many of the songs are stretched out with solos from Trucks on his slide guitar. While they perform their own original material, they also do plenty of covers of popular songs from the classic rock era. Some of those have come from the “Layla” album. It wasn’t a huge reach to go from three or four tunes to performing the entire album in one set.
Make the best of the situation
Before I finally go insane
Please don’t say we’ll never find a way
And tell me all my love’s in vain
In 2019, the Tedeschi-Trucks Band was performing at the LOCKN’ Festival. The fans attending the concert had no idea what they were about to hear. This wasn’t unusual because the Tedeschi-Trucks setlist is constantly changing, even from one night to the next. The crowd settled in to hear the performance of “Layla Revisited”. The album was performed in its entirety from start to finish.
To pull this off, the band needed more guitars for a more powerful sound. Joining them that night was Trey Anastasio, from the band Phish, and Doyle Bramhill, who has played and toured with Eric Clapton, as has Derek Trucks, for many years. To say it worked is an understatement. What the fans heard and also shows up on the record is more than ninety minutes of rocking guitars….both solos and dueling licks.
While Anastacio and Bramhill more than hold their own and provide some tasty solos, the highlights from this set are provided by Derek Trucks and his now-legendary slide guitar. Each time he stretches out a lengthy solo, it can’t help but remind you of Duane Allman and his legendary slide play on the original Layla album. This is nothing new. Trucks has been doing this and giving all of us those same feelings for a couple of decades. However, on this album, he’s reaching a new high. This is one of his best performances yet.
The only downside for me on this album was I needed more Susan Tedeschi, especially in a lead singing role. Yeah, the vocals by Anastacio and Tedeschi-Trucks member Mike Mitchell are fine, but fans of the band come to hear the great voice of Tedeschi. Next time, more Susan…a lot more of her, please. But that’s just a minor complaint, especially when you get more than an hour of guitar greatness.
They are very few bands around today that can do justice in re-doing “Layla and Other Assorted Lovesongs.” Tedeschi-Trucks Band, because of their history with the music and their skilled musicianship made Derek and his Dominos proud.
Layla, you’ve got me on my knees
Layla, I’m begging, darling, please
Layla, darling won’t you ease my worried mind
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