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Derek & The Dominos – Let’s Play Domino (Godfather Records GR 528)


Let’s Play Domino (Godfather Records GR 528)

Civic Auditorium, Santa Monica, CA – Nov 20, 1970
Music Hall, Cincinnati, OH – Nov 26, 1970 (* bonus track w/Special Guest BB King)

Got To Get Better In A Little While – Key To The Highway – Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad – Blues Power – Have You Ever Loved A Woman – Tell The Truth – All Night Long (Derek’s Boogie) – Let It Rain – Everyday I Have The Blues (*)

Let’s Play Domino is GFR’s latest Clapton-related release to see the light of day. Using Paddington’s “Stormy Monday” as the source tape, it means you are treated to an excellent audience recording for the era with no crowd interferences at all. The guitars are more prominent in the mix than they are on Paddington’s release and this greatly adds to your enjoyment.

This is what the liner notes in the CD say:

“What you have in your hands is a great piece of history: a great recording of one of the last live performances by Derek & The Dominos, probably the most exciting band that Clapton ever toured with.

Forget about the battles for dominance in Cream and get ready for a more thoughtful style of playing that lets Clapton continue his natural progression and insatiable exploration of the Blues.

Let’s Play Domino captures the afternoon show at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica, CA on Nov 20, 1970 which sees a very rare appearance by Delaney Bramlett on second guitar.  Delaney would play on the evening show too and rumour has it that due to his excess of volume at these gigs, Delaney was never invited to join the Dominos again.

Drugs would soon take over, and with all band members being fairly strung out most of the time, it’s no surprise that the last live performance ever by the Dominos would take place just a couple of weeks later.

To top it all, you get a rearranged version of Everyday I Have The Blues as a bonus track. The Dominos are joined by no other than BB King!! in Cincinnati, OH just six days later than the gig in Santa Monica.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the music! “

The show starts with a fiery version of Got To Get Better In A Little While, a Clapton penned track from the Dominos’ unreleased second album followed by a much more relaxed Key to the Highway. Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad is a highlight with an outstanding work from Bobby Whitlock on backing vocals and a nice jamming on its outro.

Blues Power sees a guitar battle between Delaney and Eric before things get slowed back down again with a terrific rendition of Have You Ever Loved a Woman. It’s blues in its purest state and undoubtedly a showcase for Clapton.

Next in the setlist comes a very extended version of the rocker Tell The Truth which sees EC on some great wah-wah and on which Whitlock’s vocals shine again. The rare All Night Long features Delaney Bramlett on vocals and lots of Clapton’s trademark riffs. Let It Rain closes the afternoon gig.  It fades in but with the help of a 3-minute drum solo in the middle of the song, it still manages to clock at 10+ minutes.

The last track on the disc is a bonus song from the performance in Cincinnati just six days after the Santa Monica gig. This time it’s BB King the one who joins the Dominos for a lovely jam on a rare version of Everyday I Have The Blues, which is nicely rearranged and performed in a great Rhythm and Blues feel. Very good audience quality but slightly inferior to the first 8 tracks.

“Let’s Play Domino” is a single disc release that comes in GFR’s usual trifold cardboard sleeve with  b/w pictures of Derek. Not a new gig for the Clapton connosieur but GFR’s remastering makes this release a nice addition to anyone’s collection.

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

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  1. i saw D&D at Fairfield Hall Croydon London on 20/9/70, before the release of Layla. Del was smartly dressed and launched into a very fast ‘Tell The Truth’ he spoke only to announce ‘this is called red wine’. He encored with a great ‘let it rain’. in retrospect, i was fortunate to see clapton at the very end of his ‘classic’ period, he played very well-and loud. i have seen him a number of times since,it seems to me that he has all too often lacked the passion of this time.

  2. Pleasant show here with the guitar highly pleasing! I wonder out of curiosity if anyone on this wonderful site ever had the privilidge of seeing the Dominos live?!

  3. The Mid Valley version of the Skydog show is listenable, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.

  4. Read the review thanks and I’ll give it a miss. It’s a shame so many D&D recordings are of questionable quality as it was one of his best bands.

  5. The St. Louis show is featured on MVR’s rare “Speed Freaks” which was reviewed a few years ago by wgpsec. It’s far from being a tape that you will listen to very often…

  6. Given the quality of the Skydog recording I’d think they’d struggle to improve it. Best version I know of is the Tarantura 35th Anniversary box set of a few years back. Never heard the St Louis show so can’t comment.

  7. I agree about Delany’s playing also. He’just out of place. Maybe it was the drugs, man!
    If GF wants to work it’s remastering magic, then the “Skydog” show, when Duane Allman joined them for one of the only two times they played Layla, that would be welcome. And the St. Louis show for the other time they played Layla. That’s a hard show to find really.

  8. I’ve mixed views on this concert. To me Delaney ruined it with some pretty awful guitar playing. At times he’s just making a noise. Little wonder he wasn’t asked back again. The rest of the band are fine with EC playing great guitar, but because of Delaney I don’t listen to it that often.

  9. I have at least 8 D&D silver shows in my collection including “Stormy Monday” and this is one of the best as far as performance and sound quality. I agree with “Slowhander” that Godfather has improved the guitars in the mix and this only adds to the enjoyment of this show. I’ve always focused on “Why Does Love Have To Be So Sad” and “Let It Rain” and no exceptions here. . This is not to say that the rest of the show and bonus track are not enjoyable also. I would like to thank the taper for capturing this moment in time and sharing. Gatefold contains 8 various pictures of Clapton including several live shots. recommended for even the casual fans

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