BOOTLEG SERIES #10: Derek and the Dominos – Live at Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA 16/10/70

Out of all the recordings that exist of Derek and the Dominos, this show is certainly the most unique. It featured a number of songs the band would only play once, or at least there is only one recording of these songs being played. It’s unsure as to whether certain songs were played at other shows but due to a lack of recordings for those other shows and without excessive research we will never know. But I sure am glad this one exists.

The band start with a great version of the Robert Johnson song Ramblin’ On My Mind, however they play it in more of an Elmore James style with the roaring slide guitar. A lot of people when hearing this may think that is Duane Allman on slide guitar but it is not, it is in fact Clapton as Duane wouldn’t join the band on stage for another month and a half. It’s interesting that the band would play this song so early in to their US tour (this was in fact their second US tour date after playing at Rider College in Trenton, New Jersey the night before) but this could have been for two reason. 1) The band only recently finished recording the Layla album a few weeks prior to this show where Clapton played a number of parts on slide with Duane and 2) the band were still no doubt putting together a setlist for their shows and altering the setlist from what they had been playing in the UK would have been natural due to the different audiences found in the US. But either way this is one hell of a song and I only wish they played it more during their tour dates.

It’s followed by Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?, a song from their Layla album which at this time wouldn’t be released for another month. It’s without a doubt one of the best versions of this song that I’ve heard from the recordings that exist and it lasts at just over 17 minutes in length. Absolutely incredible. The studio version features both Eric and Duane on guitar but it’s just Eric here and there really is no noticeable lack of a second guitarist. Blues Power comes next and Bobby Whitlock is on fire here on the Hammond organ, blasting away and laying down a beautiful musical landscape for Eric to solo over. Simply breathtaking. At just over 10 minutes in length it’s probably one of the longer renditions of Blues Power but that’s not a complaint because those 10 minutes fly by like there’s no tomorrow. In fact you have to take your hats off to the actual recording as well because you can hear every single instrument as clear as day. Carl Radle on bass sounds like he’s possessed, wow. Absolutely fantastic.

  1. Ramblin’ On My Mind
  2. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?
  3. Blues Power
  4. Have You Ever Loved A Woman
  5. Mean Old World
  6. Motherless Children
  7. Let It Rain

Have You Ever Loved A Woman is the first ‘slow’ song of the set and you get to hear Eric really take off. From the sound of his guitar I’m guessing he has his wah turned on during this song, however he’s not touching the peddle. Simply using it to boost the guitar signal and give it a different kind of tone. In fact he seemed to do this quite a lot as the same kind of tone can also be heard on the Live At The Fillmore album. Bobby switches to a grand piano here which really sets the mood and the foundation for when Eric takes off for his first solo at the 3:49 mark. Next up is another song which the band played rarely live (according to existing recordings anyway), Mean Old World. It’s a song the band actually recorded a few times in the studio with Duane but a song that wasn’t properly released until The Layla Sessions was released in 1990. And just like Ramblin’ On My Mind, Eric plays slide here. You really get to hear how fluent he had become with a slide since meeting Duane. He had played slide on a few tracks prior to this show but not to this standard, at least to my ear.

The third song the Dominos played at this show that they only played once (again, according to existing recordings) was Motherless Children. All Clapton fans know that he recorded this very song four years later for his 461 Ocean Boulevard album so it’s extremely exciting to see this song on a Dominos setlist and hear the recording as well. Eric again plays slide and it’s an absolute joy to listen to. What I particular love is the bass playing from Carl Radle actually and that was the first thing to strike me when I heard this song for the first time. I actually much prefer this version to the version that would appear on the 461 Ocean Boulevard album. The whole thing is better. There are of course similarities, in particular the main guitar riff, but it’s a completely different animal. It’s unsure how often the band had played this song when rehearsing (if at all) as Carl Radle makes a small mistake at the 46 second mark, carrying on playing where he was meant to stop with the rest of the band. I love stuff like that though, things that make these songs so raw and real.

To end the set, the Dominos play a song that they played at pretty much every other show. Let It Rain. The previous two songs almost made me feel like I was taken to a completely different show because of how rarely those two songs were played so going to a song that the band played countless times is a nice end to the show. Bobby returns to the Hammond and continues to deliver great playing throughout. This rendition nearly touches the 17 minute mark but falls just short. It’s a great version and Eric really takes off throughout but especially at the 5 minute mark. Great stuff!

This really is a unique show from the Dominos as it contains three songs that may only have been played on this one night in 1970. Only a certain amount of Dominos recordings actually exist (or at least are known about) so who’s to say if the band played these songs again on nights that there are no known recordings of.  Alas, we’ll never know. But thankfully we can cherish this recording and listen to these songs over 40 years since they were played at a venue in Philadelphia that no longer exists. Well, the Electric Factory name has lived on since 1994 but the original building was demolished in 1973. Whoever recorded this show at the time, thank you. It really is one of a kind.

(AUDIO NOT MINE)

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