Live at Winter Gardens is the second earliest known live bootleg of Derek and the Dominos, the first being from three days earlier at the Marquee Club in London. During this early period they were still getting to grips with playing songs they’d only recently finished writing back at Clapton’s Hurtwood Edge Surrey home.
The first track is a song the Dominos played on a number of occasions early on but one that never featured on their album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs and seemingly never made it past their UK set of dates. It actually reappeared two years later on Bobby Whitlock’s self-titled debut solo album. It’s a shame the Dominos seemed to abandon it because it’s a great song with a fantastic rhythm and feel. The second track, Anyday, did feature on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs but what’s clear to hear by the performance at Winter Gardens (along with other early performances) is that they were still experimenting with vocal melody and guitar parts. The album version also includes a blistering performance from Duane Allman but the band had yet to meet him by this point.
Bottle Of Red Wine was originally released on Clapton’s self-titled debut album from the same year but it just sounds so much better when played live by this band. The energy is infectious and Clapton is on top form in the solo, as he continued to be on this song for the remainder of the Dominos tour dates. It’s followed by another song off of Clapton’s self-titled debut called I Don’t Know Why. It seems that during this early period of the Dominos they were short on their own original material so it was natural to include songs they recorded together earlier. This song wasn’t played past their 1st leg of UK tours but that makes it one of the highlights of these early shows.
- Country Life
- Bottle Of Red Wine
- I Don’t Know Why
- Roll It Over
- Blues Power
- Have You Ever Loved A Woman
- Bad Boy
Roll It Over, unlike the previous two songs, is a Dominos original and one of the most explosive when played live. Carl Radle sounds majestic on the bass with a wonderful bass line. Unlike other songs around this period, this song didn’t change much and was continued to play live right through their US tour later in 1970. The only thing that changed was the length and the tightness of the band, naturally. Blues Power follows which is the third song here off of Clapton’s debut self-titled but unlike I Don’t Know Why, it become a live staple in their sets right up to their final show as a band at Suffolk College, Seldon on the 6th December 1970. You can’t help but notice that the band seem a little slow on this song compared to later live versions but as this show at Winter Gardens was only their 8th as a band, that’s expected.
Have You Ever Loved A Woman and Bad Boy are the two final tracks on the bootleg, the first would end up being recorded for Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs with Duane Allman in tow and the latter being dropped fairly early on the 1st leg of UK dates. That’s a shame because Bad Boy was by far a highlight from Clapton’s debut and the band sound great on every known performance of the song. The riff is extremely infectious with the bass and guitar playing as one while Bobby Whitlock throws down some great vibes on the hammond organ. That said, if there was a choice between this and an original song from the Dominos I’d go with a Dominos original every time.
The thing I love most about this early Dominos show is listening to how much they changed as a band over 4/5 months that they toured together. I love Anyday with it’s (at the time) still unfinished vocal melody and guitar parts and I love hearing songs they eventually dropped later on like Country Life, I Don’t Know Why and Bad Boy. Derek and the Dominos are an extremely underrated band which I hate with a passion. They did more together in their short life span than many bands do in their entire careers and it’s a crime that more people aren’t aware of their work.