Derek & The Dominos, ‘Live At The Electric Factory’ (Albatross AR-002)
Electric Factory Theatre, Philadelphia, PA. October 16th, 1970 (Early Show)
Ramblin’ On My Mind / Why Does Love Gotta Be So Sad / Blues Power / Have You Ever Loved A Woman / Mean Old World / Motherless Children / Let It Rain (73:53)
Back in the heady days of the 1990’s, as bootleg CD production was at it’s highest and several labels all clamoured to be king, Scorpio records had a littering of around 9 other sublabels – there was very little sense to most of these – they were just produced at various plants and given different names to avoid any confusion over their legitimacy.
One of the labels, Deep Six, offered a tape of Derek and the Dominos club gig at the Electric Factory Theatre in Philadelphia, PA on October 16th, 1970.
A fair to good audience tape of a fantastic show, designed to break in the band to America after Clapton’s break up with the rest of Cream and the short but successful career with Blind Faith. An amalgamation of musicians from the Delaney & Bonnie and Friends band plus the man they nicknamed, ‘God’, the band were already highly anticipated while Clapton wallowed in his late 60’s, early 70’s genius before the booze and drugs softened his brain.
This tape saw further release on titles such as ‘The Majestic Stand’ (MidValley), that releases earlier version, ‘The Majestic Stand’ on (Empress Valley) and ‘Feast Away’ (ZigZag Records) – a lower generation tape was unearthed in 2010, suggested to be at least 4 recordings closer to the actual source than that original gain. Geetars, who originally uploaded this upgrade wrote; “This is a legendary Dominos show… Some older reference guides inexplicably refer to this as a soundboard, but it’s clearly a marginal to average recording. Luckily a fantastic performance makes up for any drawbacks of the source material.
“Ramblin” features some of EC’s best ever slide playing. EC can at times play slide a little too precisely – but in this performance, he exhibits loopy, “out of the box” playing that clearly shows Duane Allman’s influence as he dances around all the notes. I don’t recall EC performing “Ramblin’” in this arrangement again, which alone makes it unique.
This performance is also notable for an incredible, mind bending, tour-de-force performance of “Why does Love…” And it’s not just EC here. If you listen to some of the very early gigs, the band were a little loose, but here they play as a single organism, rising and falling, playing off each other for all they are worth. “Why Does…” has always had a demanding and unusual bass line, and Gordon holds it down, driving the song in the same way that Entwhistle would actually drive the rhythm of The Who as Moon, or in this case Jim Gordon, lays out some 15+ minutes of drum madness, and Bobby Whitlock holding it all together with a shimmering B3 and his incredible vocals. This performance of this song is indeed “epic”, and unforgettable.
This show also features the first-ever live performance of “Motherless Children”, albeit in raw form, which in a way adds to its charm.
The disc and the accompanying notes I received read “1st Generation Audience Source”. One way to identify this source, is that it clocks in at 72:54, whereas the inferior source clocks in at 73:08, with the additonal time on the inferior source being extra space on the tape where it was copied along the way.
Sonically, this is a vast improvement over the 73:08 version, I’d say at least 2, perhaps as many as 4 generations’ improvement.
It goes without saying that this is also a real improvement over the commercial ROIO “Electric Factory” CD (Deep-6, Deep6-5).
In the years since 2000, this low gen recording has been traded a bit, first among a circle of the pretty serious collectors and then likely used as the source for some of the tweaked and remastered versions later released on various ROIO labels. Here’s your chance to get that original source, not to say that the “remastered” versions may not suit your fancy more than this untampered recording, but if you’d like the original, here you go in the best quality available.
As always, all proper thanks to the anonymous taper, and my long lost friend Tony, who burned brightly in this hobby and then disappeared to pursue other interests, likely with the same vim and vigor he exhibited with D & D.”
Now, the tape that Albatross used sounds as good as Geetars suggests if not better; From the understated introduction, you get a feeling for the recording – I would prefer to suggest that it is a good to very good audience recording, certainly more than listenable than shoddy. The only thing I would have to contest is the running time – 73:53 which is obviously longer than any other suggested recording – It sounds like it’s the right speed, certainly not slowed down, but there’s no recent record of it out there – Have the Albatross produced a new tape? I’d love to know but regardless, an excellent addition to your collection from this new label without having to seek out the very expensive multi-disk issues. Buyer beware though, these releases are limited to 350 in numbers though we have to trust the marketing department on that one – There are no numbers to quantify this fact.