Derek and The Dominos - Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs - Review
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critics' view

What is it about the experience of being in love that constantly has us yearning for it? Love is an obsession that forever rests in the back of our minds. An emotion that slumbers away in silence. But the moment we come face to face with someone that manages to captivate our attention, it awakens without warning. It's a jubilating feeling when we find someone to love. That person becomes the center of our world. And if our lips get the chance to touch theirs, it awakens a euphoric sensation that once experienced, only leaves us craving for more. As I said before, love is an obsession, a human necessity that seems to surface everywhere we look. Whether it's films, novels, or music, the concept of love is inescapable.

The music industry, especially, celebrates both the blissful and devastating sides of romance more than any other aspect of human society. From the ecstatic sensation of finding someone, to the miserable experience of losing that state of bliss- Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs perfectly illustrates all the different sides of love. The musical style of Derek and The Dominos reflects an evident influence from its central director, Eric Clapton. Since his work with the short-lived project, Blind Faith, we have seen Eric Clapton slowly diverging away from the heavy Blues-rock sound of Cream. In fact, the sound of this album is most reminiscent of the style found in Blind Faith's eponymous debut, as it expands on a less aggressive sound and even shares a similar enthusiasm for Americana music.

Songs like "I Looked Away" and "Keep On Growing", share a very distinct southern rock aesthetic that is very reminiscent to the music of The Allman Brothers, as they reflect that signature twangy guitar sound- an element directly influenced by Duane Allman who plays guitar alongside Eric Clapton. The album exhibits a vast variety of moods and diverse musical structures that makes Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs a truly captivating album. As I mentioned earlier, this album reflects the different outcomes that can be had when falling in love. The newly renditioned cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing", represents the ecstasy of love at first sight. A descriptive offering to the trancing sensuality of being in the presence of a lover. "Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad"", with its more elevated pace, expresses all of the frustration and regret that is felt when we realized that we've fallen for the wrong person. And then there is the gloomy acoustic ballad, "Thorn Tree In The Garden", which serves as an ode to past memories of a lost romance. But the album shines best when the musicians deliver the dreary rhythmic cries of old fashioned Blues. Eric Clapton's guitar performance in "Have You Ever Loved A Woman" is as impressive as it is spellbinding. Releasing a set of bluesy harmonic solos that decorate the music with a very soulful tone. And then of course, we have the album's centerpiece, "Layla".

Every song within this album tells a love story, but none are as enthralling or sincere as "Layla". This is Eric Clapton's passionate confession to Patti Boyd, the wife of his best friend, George Harrison. The song expresses all of the unrequited love Eric Clapton had silently kept locked inside himself. "Layla" is a very unique piece of music because of its rather contrasting movements. It begins as an eruptive, guitar-driven song, but as it progresses it transcends into a delicate piano ballad. Eric Clapton's performance in this song is among one of his best. The guitar solos are fiery and aggressive, expressing all of the intensity and frustration that seems to posses our emotions when we're in love. The latter half of the song is just as mesmerizing, providing a sensitive yet affectionate sound induced by the coalescence of Duane Allman's soothing slide guitar and Bobby Whitlock's sentimental piano arrangements. Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs is often recognized as one of the definitive releases in classic rock, and it is certainly one of Eric Clapton's finest efforts. The bluesy sound that coats the music of the album will be sure to prove itself as a captivating listen to the very end.

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