In October 1968 Cream were pretty much over, apart from the remaining tour dates which would end with two final shows at the Royal Albert Hall in London on the 26th November. But mentally they all knew the musical journey they had embarked on in 1966 was coming to an end. Including this show, they would have 20 dates left until the end of Cream as a band but that didn’t mean the music would suffer. That didn’t mean they couldn’t continue to be a live force right up until the end. Far from it.
It’s been a number of months since my last book update and since then I have been working hard on my book on Derek and the Dominos. I started just over a year ago and in that time I have spoken to hundreds of people who saw the band play in both the UK and USA. I’m hugely thankful to everyone I have spoken to, a day doesn’t go by where I don’t speak to someone I haven’t spoken to already who saw the band live in 1970.
Having spoken to hundreds of people since last year I have been sent a vast number of previously unseen live photos of the band taken in the UK and USA. These photos have never been seen before by anyone apart from the people who took them and I’m excited to say that they will debut in my book when it is released. Projects like the one I am doing take a lot of time and effort, and I am very confident in saying that when my book is released it will be the most in-depth book ever written on Derek and the Dominos.
Recorded in May 1967 at Atlantic Studios in New York, the Disraeli Gears album sessions only took three and a half days. One of the tracks the band recorded was Sunshine Of Your Love which is now considered not only one of Cream’s finest songs, but one of the best songs of all time and Eric’s solo in the song is widely seen as the finest he ever put to vinyl. Exquisite would be a good would to describe it.
The solo features the famous “woman tone” which Eric made famous during this time and especially on Disraeli Gears, a thick and smooth tone we all know and love. It’s great to hear Eric’s guitar parts stripped away like this. When you listen to the track as a whole it seems very complex but in actual fact the guitar parts are quite simple, yet brilliantly executed.
I’ve spoken to many people who consider Layla to be a great song because of Duane Allman, but the band played the song live without Duane on a number of occasions. It’s important to note that even though Duane played a huge part during the recording of the Layla album sessions, he was never a member of Derek and the Dominos. When the band came back from recording Layla in Miami they continued with their UK tour before packing up the gear and heading to America. Now it wasn’t until mid-late November that the band started to play Layla at shows. Looking back it’s hard to see why the band didn’t play Layla as soon as they finished recording the album, but at the time the band were still finding their feet and Layla was far from being the landmark recording that we all see it as today. As the Dominos embarked on their US tour, the chemistry between the members grew and grew as each show went by. By mid-late November Layla found it’s way into the setlist and would remain there for when Duane joined the band at the start of December, however it would be dropped again before the tour wound up on the 6th December in Selden, NY.
I’ve been asked why I’m writing a book on Derek and the Dominos quite a lot, so I thought I’d start this entry by telling you all why. I see the band as one of the greatest bands of all time, and I know you do too. But a lot of casual music fans have never really heard of Derek and the Dominos. Sure, they may have heard of Layla but they associate the song to just Eric. More serious music fans may know of the Layla album in it’s entirety (and rightly so) but what about other areas of their career? The live shows for example have barely been covered at all in any great detail. Yes there’s a Fillmore East album but apart from that, there’s hardly anything been written on them. They are without a doubt one of the least covered bands in the history of music. There’s really no other way to say it.
Winterland was one of the most well known and legendary venues of the late 60’s and early 70’s. All of the major bands of the time played there, just like they did at the original Fillmore Auditorium, Fillmore West and Fillmore East. What did these venues have in common? The late great Bill Graham. From 1966 he rented Winterland as it could hold more people than the nearby Fillmore Auditorium, and he needed it for the larger concerts he was putting on. Originally the venue was called the New Dreamland Auditorium when it opened in 1928 and it was used for ice skating and concerts, as the venue could be easily changed between the two. However it wasn’t until 1971 that the venue was just a music venue, after Bill Graham had it fully converted to one. But in 1968 the venue certainly rivalled the nearby Fillmore Auditorium as one of the premier venues in the United States. Other acts that graced the stage included The Allman Brothers Band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and The Doors to name just a few. Basically, rock royalty.