1971 was a big year for the Allman Brothers in many ways. Not only did they finally achieve huge success after the release of their live album At Fillmore East which was released in July, but the year also saw the first chapter in their career come to a sudden and tragic halt. Founding member Duane Allman’s death on the 29th October 1971 would change the band forever, leaving behind (for the time being at least) the dual lead guitar format that had forged their musical sound from day one.
Coming four years after Clapton’s last studio output, 461 Ocean Boulevard was the album he needed to steady the ship going forward. Since the release of Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs with Derek and the Dominos in 1970, Clapton had witnessed the disintegration of the Dominos, the death of Duane Allman and had remained holed up in his Surrey home, too paranoid to venture outdoors due to the cocktail of drugs he was on at the time.
When the 20th Anniversary Edition of Layla was released in 1990, not everything was included from the Layla sessions. This alternative version and mix of Layla is something that didn’t make the cut even though it’s found it’s way onto certain bootlegs since. The most notable differences are Eric’s lead vocal at the beginning and the lead guitar parts by Duane, plus the lack of an acoustic guitar in the coda. Take a listen: