Dallas 1976 Pre-FM Master (Beano-019)
Convention Center, Dallas, TX – November 15th, 1976
Hello Old Friend, Sign Language, Badge, Knocking On Heaven’s Door, One Night With You, Tell The Truth, Can’t Find My Way Home, Blues Power, Layla
It’s been a while since Beano released anything, and they chose to break their silence with Dallas 1976 Pre-FM Master. This is a straight copy of the KBFH tape posted on Wolfgang’s Vault recently containing nine of the ten songs that were broadcast in excellent quality. The final song, “Further On Up The Road” with guest Freddie King wasn’t posted and isn’t included on Beano (probably because it is included on the official release Freddie King (1934-1976) (Polydor – 831817-2)). There have been many releases of this broadcast and can be found on American Tour ’78 (The Swingin’ Pig – TSP-CD-063), Eric Clapton in Concert 1978 (Super Golden Radio Shows – SGRS030), Gentleman’s Appearance (Concert Series – ACS 025), Georgia Peach (EC 1978), The Guitar World (Flashback FL 0123), Layla (On Stage 12001), and Snowhead (Musichien 91CD-0303). Most of these releases pair the Dallas 1976 tape with the Santa Monica 1978 recording. The sound quality on Beano is an improvement over the other versions although isn’t as complete. It is in the quality favored by the DIR productions with an over emphasis on the higher frequencies with extreme clarity between all of the instruments. The show was a regular inclusion on the King Biscuit Flower Hour network with multiple broadcasts and received airtime in the U.K. on John Peel’s late night BBC Radio 1 show. There is also a complete, incredible audience recording of the complete show that can be found on Dallas (SH-007/008), Dire Circumstances (Turtle TR-210), and Hello Old Friend (Bell Bottom-033/034).
Dallas lies in the middle of a short, three-week tour in support of the latest album No Reason To Cry that focused on cities in the south and west with Clapton playing, four days after the final show at the Forum in Los Angeles, at The Band’s farewell concert in San Francisco on Thanksgiving day. Except for the missing encore “Further On Up The Road” and “All Our Past Times,” this tape has the rest of the show with the tune-ups and many stage announcements cut out.
Marcy Levy’s “One Night” was played between “Blues Power” and “Layla” but is moved out of sequence to after “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” for some reason. The set starts with two songs from the new album; the mellow “Hello Old Friend” and the Bob Dylan penned “Sign Language.” After getting the new stuff out of the way Clapton focuses on the older goodies for the Dallas faithful. There is a cut in the tape before “Badge” and the band play an eight-minute version of the Cream classic. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” is played in the reggae arrangement that both he and Dylan used on their tours in the late seventies. Clapton introduces Marcy Levy before “One Night With You.”
After a cut in the tape the band play a fifteen-minute version of the old Derek And The Dominos song “Tell The Truth.” It isn’t as adventurous as the twenty-minute marathons on the last live dates in 1970, but there is a great, long improvisation and the backing band keep up. Evonne Elliman is introduced for the following song “Can’t Find My Way Home.” Steve Winwood sang the original Blind Faith version of this song in his clear, soulful tenor that gives the song a plaintive and pleading connotation. Elliman’s soprano, by contrast, brings a new air of confidence to the song and sounds simply beautiful. The final two songs are extended epics. “Blues Power” last more than twelve minutes with an extended improvisational passage in the middle.
At about the nine-minute mark they hit upon a gospel-Pentecostal sounding motif dominated by the organ which sounds completely incongruous with the rest of the song. They speed up the tempo at a furious pace before the song comes to a crashing halt. The final song on this release is an eleven-minute version of “Layla.” After the first two verses and guitar solo there is a lengthy guitar solo before the band return, not with the coda but with the first part of the song again. Dallas 1976 Pre-FM Master is a good release, but it could have been improved if Beano went the deluxe release route by using this tape, the missing encore from the radio broadcast, and included the excellent sounding audience recording. That would have been the definitive version of this concert. As it is this is a missed opportunity.