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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Eric Clapton "Layla" Isolated Guitar And Vocals

Here's a rare treat. It's the isolated lead guitar and vocal track from Derek and the Dominos (Eric Clapton's band with drummer Jim Gordon, bassist Carl Radle, and keyboardist Bobby Whitlock, and supported by guest guitarist Duane Allman) hit "Layla" from the band's one and only album Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs.

What you'll hear is a combination of a number of tracks - one of the rhythm guitar tracks in the chorus, the lead in the verses and choruses, the slide lead solo at the end of Part 1, one of the slide leads in Part 2, the end acoustic guitar, and the Leslie guitar at the end. Of course, you'll also hear Clapton's lead vocal as well. Here's what to listen for.

1. The high lead guitar in the intro and choruses is doubled, which isn't apparent on the final mix of the record.

2. The high lead guitar leaning to the left plays throughout the verses against Clapton's vocal, which is a violation of basic arrangement rules since it takes attention away from the vocal. Didn't seem to matter in this case though.

3. Clapton's vocal is doubled on the choruses, which again isn't very apparent on the final mix of the record. There's also a lot of reverb on it, and the verb really doesn't sound all that good, which is unusual for the time when everyone was using plates or chambers.

4. Duane Allman's slide solo at the end of Part 1 is truly killer, as he plays up much of it above the fretboard.

5. There are two slide leads on Part 2 (drummer Jim Gordon's piano part of the song). You hear Clapton's part here, which changes to an acoustic guitar during the last verse.

6. Check out the Leslie guitar at the very end at 5:25. Criteria Recording (where the song was cut) had one of the first guitar input devices for the Leslie that could vary the speed with a footswitch and Clapton loved it (and reportedly absconded with it back to England after the session). There's plenty more on Leslie guitar on the final mix, but you only hear that one piece here.



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10 comments:

Jay Schultz said...

Chillingly beautiful! Thanks so much for crafting this one.
Jay

Dave Lopez said...

This is so much history behind this song. It's a Tom Dowd production, Eric is singing about Patti Boyd - George Harrison's ex-wife - the last half of the song with Duane Allman was recording way after the initial tracking and Tom put them together later, etc.

I never heard all of the reverb on the vocals until you pointed it out, Bobby. Then I listened to the album version and it's definitely there. And you're right, it doesn't sound that good, but it doesn't take away from the performance so it's negligible. It's all about the performance, which on this song, is hair raising. Thanks for sharing!!

-dave lopez
www.davidalopez.com

Anonymous said...

I think the playing is absolutely great, but I still can't figure out the reverence for this recording. It sounds terribly muddy, and like a dead room. I like lots of muddy records (Exile, Velvet Underground), but this recording seems to epitomize the worst aspects of 70's recording.

Great arrangement, incredible solos for sure,though.

D Dyer said...

Why did this sound so bad when it was Tom Down and Criteria? What happened? This is an old riddle for me. I know Criteria was a pioneer in gear. I read somewhere that everyone was pretty wasted did this include Tom and is this a reason?

D Dyer said...

why the "bad" sounds when it was Tom Dowd and Criteria? What happened? It does seem to happen with the other albums too.

Bobby Owsinski said...

The tracking rooms at Criteria were really dead for one thing. There was a lot of imbibing of controlled substances for another. The monitors there probably weren't that accurate as well.

Geoff said...

Very interesting. The verb does sound a bit like a re-amp in someone's bathroom. Never noticed it before.

Sean Gould said...

I'd just like to point out that the intro and chorus guitar are two guitars playing an octave - so it's not technically doubled.

Also, as far as people commenting on the audio quality or sound of individual tracks, reverb, etc...
C'mon! It just proves the point once again that a hit song is a hit song and a great performance is more important than a great recording.

Anonymous said...

Sean, you are correct but the audio could have been much better that's all. As Bobby says, the room was real dead and you can hear it on all the early Clapton-Dowd-Criteria records.

Anonymous said...

Sean, the album was remixed for the 20th Anniversary box set and you are correct, the results where mixed. There's nothing like the original! Wanna add that the master tapes where/are in pretty bad shape so that may be why we have not seen another remaster since the 20th.

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