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Derek & The Dominos – Wolfgang’s Vault (Mid Valley 528/529/530)

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Wolfgang’s Vault (Mid Valley 528/529/530)

Disc 1 (74:34) Fillmore East, New York, NY – October 23rd, 1970:  Got To Get Better In A Little While, Key To The Highway, Tell The Truth, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, Blues Power, Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Bottle Of Red Wine

Disc 2 (74:25):  Presence Of The Lord, Little Wing, Let It Rain, Crossroads.  Fillmore East, New York, NY – October 24th, 1970:  Introduction, Got To Get Better In A Little While, Blues Power, Have You Ever Loved A Woman

Disc 3 (76:39):  Key To The Highway, Tell The Truth, Nobody Knows You When You’re Down & Out, Let It Rain, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, Presence Of The Lord, Bottle Of Red Wine, Roll It Over, Little Wing

Mid Valley released Derek & The Dominos Wolfgang’s Vault as a quick and cheap release.  It’s a simple silver pressing of a download off of the site and was sold in their store in Shinjuku, Tokyo Blind Faith for $10.  For reasons unexplained it was pulled from release and only a handful of copies, almost all in Japan, are in circulation.  Speculation about the cause centers upon a concern that this borders on being a pirate since much of these shows have been released officially.  However both of these shows are among the very first released by the label, both features on Fillmore Double Night (Mid Valley 007/008/009/10).  Mid Valley’s action will ensure this to be one of the rarest titles from their catalogue and one of the rarest bootlegs in the world. 

For the lucky few to obtain a copy, this is an excellent sounding release of the two Fillmore East concerts taped by Bill Graham.  The packaging is simple and tasteful, in keeping with the general work of the label.  There is an insert with the complete text from the website describing the two shows:

October 23rd:

This is a complete recording of the late show Derek and the Dominos played as headliners over Ballin’ Jack and Humble Pie at the Fillmore East.

After months touring with Delaney and Bonnie and collaborating with them on his first solo album, Clapton took the nucleus of his band – Whitlock, Radle and Gordon – and formed Derek and the Dominos. By 1970, Clapton had amassed an impressive catalogue on which to draw, and these musicians jelled in a way that certainly brought out the best in the material. For many fans, this quartet was the most consistently exciting group Clapton ever toured with, and these concerts feature some of the most passionate live playing of his career.

Kicking things off with “Got To Get Better In A Little While,” a track from an unreleased second album, Clapton and the group immediately begin jamming at a level more refined than those he touched on with his days with Cream. The ferocious battles for dominance in Cream are replaced by a more cohesive and thoughtful mode of playing that lets everyone in the band shine.

A relaxed “Key to the Highway” follows, proving that Clapton could still play with a blues authenticity few others could match, even though the tune is really just a warm up of better things to come.

“Tell The Truth” and the “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” that follows both show the most intriguing side of this band’s original material. Bobby Whitlock’s impassioned vocals bring out a resonance in these songs that Clapton singing alone could never have hoped to achieve. Even without Duane Allman’s distinctive contributions on the studio versions of these tracks, the creative synergy the band achieves here is astonishing. This almost 15 minute version of “Why Does Love…” absolutely sizzles from beginning to end and features some of the most captivating jamming of the show.

Next up is “Blues Power,” here rocked out to over twice the length of the studio version before getting slowed back down again. “Have You Ever Loved a Woman,” a song Clapton redefined back in his days with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, gets an extended treatment here, and exemplifies his enduring passion for pure blues.

They go on to perform “Bottle of Red Wine,” another fine rocker, on which Whitlock shines, followed by “Presence of the Lord,” an introspective song Clapton recorded with Blind Faith and that was, in retrospect, a prototype for much of his later work. An intriguing wah-wah solo is a definite highlight.

A lovely cover of one of Jimi Hendrix’s most beautiful compositions, “Little Wing,” follows, and then it’s a monumental workout on the set closer, “Let It Rain,” featuring plenty of improvising and a lengthy drum solo from Jim Gordon.

For the encore, they return with “Crossroads,” here slowed down considerably from the frenetic Cream version, but still featuring many of Clapton’s trademark riffs and hot improvising from the entire band.

This night is the looser, more improvisational of the two shows, but both are wonderful performances. Clapton would rarely ever play with this much passion again. When this tour ended, Clapton went into deep despair and the flame in his guitar playing was forever diminished upon his return several years later. These shows capture the end of that initial incredible era in Clapton’s career, an era that justifiably made him a guitar legend.

October 24th:

The Derek and the Dominos In Concert LPs and CDs are excerpted from these Fillmore East concerts, when the group headlined a bill that included Ballin’ Jack and Humble Pie.

After spending months touring with Delaney and Bonnie and collaborating with them on his first solo album, Clapton took the nucleus of that band (Whitlock, Radle, and Gordon) and formed Derek and the Dominos. By 1970, Clapton had an impressive catalogue on which to draw, and these musicians gelled in a way that brought out the best in the material. For many fans, this quartet was the most consistently exciting group Clapton ever toured with, and these concerts feature some of the most passionate live playing of his career.

Kicking things off with “Got To Get Better In A Little While,” a track from an unreleased second album, Clapton and the group immediately begin jamming at a level far more refined than his days with Cream. The ferocious battles for dominance in Cream are replaced by a more cohesive and thoughtful mode of playing that lets everyone in the band shine.

Next up is “Blues Power,” here rocked out to over twice the length of the studio version. They slow things down with “Have You Ever Loved a Woman,” a song Clapton redefined back in his days with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, and which exemplifies his enduring passion for pure blues. A relaxed “Key to the Highway” follows, and then more intriguing jamming on “Tell the Truth.” A rather short “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” is a return to pure blues and a song this band rarely played, a welcome addition here.

Another monumental workout on “Let It Rain,” featuring plenty of improvising and a lengthy drum solo from Jim Gordon, follows before they get back to tighter arrangements. “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?” again shows the most intriguing side of this band’s original material, featuring impassioned vocals and incredible ensemble playing. Although this version is a little shorter than the previous night’s, the intensity level is extraordinary.

Blind Faith’s “Presence of the Lord” is up next, which segues directly into the rockin’ “Bottle of Red Wine.” “Roll It Over,” the B-side to their “Tell the Truth” single, lets Clapton play around with his wah-wah pedal and the whole band supply a funkier context. A lovely cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Little Wing” closes the set. This version expands considerably on the version played the previous night; and provides another prime example of Whitlock’s vocals adding the missing dimension to Clapton’s singing.

This night is the tighter, more focused of the two shows, but both are wonderful performances. When this tour ended, Clapton went into deep despair and, in the eyes of some listeners, the flame in his guitar playing was forever diminished, and would remain so upon his return several years later. These shows capture the end of that initial incredible era in Clapton’s career, an era that justifiably made him a guitar legend.

In 2011 Mid Valley re-issued this title but with much improved artwork.  It looks much better.  The font and photograph, taken from the same session, recall the cover of the 1973 LP In Concert.  It’s still offered at the same low price.  

CMR Music Store

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

Derek & The Dominos - Wolfgang's Vault (Mid Valley 528/529/530), 3.6 out of 5 based on 7 ratings

3 Comments

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  1. Avatar of pookie
    pookie says
    October 24, 2011, 3:06 pm

    After listening to this 3cd set in its entirety again; i wondered why are there no Domino shows available with the chuck berry medley available in soundboard?!

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  2. Avatar of pookie
    pookie says
    July 15, 2011, 8:41 pm

    Superb quality for those lucky enough to obtain it! Eric’s guitar never shone so brightly.g
    The rhythm section of carl dean radle on bass and jin gordon on drums are mystifying! Bobby Whitlock adds texture with his piano playing and back up vocals.
    Perhaps the finest bootleg i’ve ever heard; this one far outshines the old tarantura 4cd set.

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  3. Avatar of DLee
    DLee says
    February 24, 2010, 9:59 pm

    I highly recommend this soundboard, as it’s one that sounds very enjoyable. On the simple-but-deliciously-tasty front cover of the one I received Monday at a considerably low price, there’s actually a purple bar instead of the blue one, which gave me an urge to buy/eat a creamy dessert that’s vanilla-flavored, although I have no idea if the same effect would occur on Lindsey Vonn – known as Lindsey Kildow at the time of the previous Olympics before getting married. Anyway, again, I certainly have no regrets about my decision to get this one – I very much like it as an excellent addition to the ol’ collection.

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