Assorted Rock And Roll (Scorpio DD-07004)
Assorted Rock And Roll is the second multi-disc Derek And The Dominos set. The first, Affirmation, focuses upon two nights in Berkeley. This new release collects three concerts from the final two dates of their only U.S. tour with the two song fragment from Buffalo thrown in as filler. The Port Chester tapes appear on the 1999 release The Beat Goes On (Zeus Z 2023001/2/3) along with the two tracks from Buffalo as filler.
New York Connection (Silver Horse SH-7005 A/B) is a European release from 2003 that covers only the two Port Chester tapes in a gorgeously produced set. The Selden tape appears on the Zeus title The Final Act (Zeus Z 2024001). Feast Away (Zig Zag) is a six CD set with the August 18 Bournemouth tape and October 16 Philadelphia show along with the two Port Chester and Selden tapes. Tell The Truth (Wishing Well ECDR-702) is a professional CDR containing some of this material.
Since the sound quality is similar between all these titles, it is fair to say that the Scorpio is a one-edition collection of the two Zeus releases which is not a bad thing since these tapes haven’t been released much and this is a good way to place these tapes in the collection. As it seems for most Derek And The Dominos audience recordings, these rate from poor to good.
They are not unbearable however and can be enjoyed on some levels and are important since they are the final days of one of Eric Clapton’s strongest projects. Also, the performance in these shows exceed the California dates in Berkeley and Santa Monica which were released last year on Scorpio and Paddington.
Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York – December 5th, 1970 (early show)
Disc 1 (52:39): Tell The Truth, Little Wing, Blues Power, Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Let It Rain
The first disc documents the early show from the Capital Theater in Port Chester, New York. Some sources place this show on Friday night, December 4, but every release claims this is from the early Saturday show. It is shorter than the evening gig and since the tape cut in the beginning of “Tell The Truth” it is difficult to determine if this is the complete show. It is fascinating to hear. It is a fair to good audience source with slight amounts of distortion. It is very listenable once the ears adjust to the fidelity. The tape cuts in during the first verse of “Tell The Truth.” This edition of the piece is played at a faster tempo than in other concerts.
It includes a change to the minor key in the middle and the piece is extended to twenty minutes with Clapton playing every musical idea that pops into his head. Ever time you think the song will come to an end he takes off with another solo. It is the longest ever version of the piece and very exciting to hear this kind of improvisational work occurring on stage.
There is a cut in the tape afterwards and it runs for the duration of the short set. The rest of the concert sounds rote and banal after the brilliance of “Tell The Truth”, but “Little Wing” has Clapton banging the riff over the heads of the audience while they beg for the volume to be turned higher. “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” is an eight-minute, majestic sounding blues dirge. “Let It Rain” is the set closer and includes another classic solo by Clapton. The audience begs for more as he says “good night.”
Capitol Theater, Port Chester, New York – December 5th, 1970 (late show)
Disc 2 (53:36): Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, Blues Power, Stormy Monday, Key To The Highway, Tell The Truth
Disc 3 (50:14): Bottle Of Red Wine, Got To Get Better In A Little While, Crossroads. Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, NY – October 29th, 1970: Got To Get Better In A Little While, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad
The tape for the late show occupies disc two and most of disc three. It is louder than the early show with the same amounts of distortion, but again enjoyable on many different levels. At the beginning of the tape the house announcer can be heard saying, “The Capital proudly presents Derek And The Dominos.”
The first forty minutes is devoted to numbers that were ignored in the previous gig beginning with a fourteen-minute version of the mournful “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?” The self-effacing “Blues Power” is segued directly with “Stormy Monday” with Whitlock on vocals. His piano takes prominence until four minutes in the piece when Clapton rips out another solo. At the song’s conclusion Clapton shouts, “Bobby Whitlock!”
The following “Tell The Truth” is taken at a fast tempo as the previous concert. The song lasts only seventeen minutes but contains similar interesting solos. Clapton has the reputation for being a blues purist and perfectionist and is more interested in constructing orthodox solos, but it is performances like this which contradict that thinking. Here let the ideas flow out of his head as he gets caught up in the frenzy of the song, playing off of Whitlock’s loud piano.
The set continues on the second disc which features a rare, eight-minute version of “Crossroads.” The final two tracks on the disc are from the Buffalo show earlier in the tour. The sound quality is very thin and distant sounding and is nice as filler. These are the only two songs to ever circulate from this show and one hopes the entire concert will one day surface.
Suffolk County Community College, Selden, NY – December 6th, 1970
Disc 4 (72:37): Keep On Growing, Tell The Truth, Stormy Monday, Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad, Blues Power, Have You Ever Loved A Woman, Little Wing, Got To Get Better In A Little While
The fourth and final disc of this set is devoted to the final live concert by Derek And The Dominos. It is certainly unusual for a major act to play in such a small venue off the beaten path. Bands like Pink Floyd, The Doors and Yes played at SUNY Stony Brook just north of the Ammerman campus in the early seventies, but Clapton playing here is unique (and it is strange to think an important part of his career ended right in my backyard).
The tape is fair to good and is arguably the best sounding of this collection. It begins with a long tune up and the audience’s impatience and ends with the crowd begging for an encore (“NOBODY LEAVE!!” someone shouts right by the taper), so this is probably entire show unless they did come back for another song.
The optimistic “Keep On Growing” from Layla opens this concert with a nice groove before the band play “Tell The Truth.” This version is only thirteen minutes long but begins with the normal doodling before the band play a fast-paced boogie version of the piece. There are no other surprises in the set list.
When Assorted Rock And Roll was first announced it was hoped Scorpio found new, previously unheard documents from the Port Chester Restoration Project, but sadly isn’t. (That source, which produced wonderful sounding tapes seems to have disappeared since their website went offline.) This release is like other recent Scorpios: not a vast improvement over previous titles but not worse either and a good way to pick up this material.