JULY ALBUM OF THE MONTH *****
(5 / 5)
The star rating system used for reviews here at Music Republic Magazine starts off at one star, which is rated as “Dull Zone”. Then you have two stars = “OK Zone”, three stars = “Decent Zone”, four stars = Super Zone.
The very, very best releases the magazine’s contributors review, will be awarded the maximum five stars, which in our rating system, is rated as “Awesome”.
So. To Tedeschi Trucks Band’s latest, a live offering paying tribute to the seminal Derek and the Dominos album, “Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs,” from 1970, which of course, featured Eric Clapton.
How does it fare? How many stars does it deserve? As a person who is not a big fan of most live albums, did it float my boat? Well, if you see it got five stars, our maximum and deemed to be in the “Awesome Zone”, I think you’ll get the picture. It is wonderful.
I have their previous live album, “Everbody’s Talkin’ ” from 2012 and most of their studio albums. Seen them live once, to review a show in London back in 2011 (the fabulous Robert Randolph and Family Band were support) and got to meet them at the backstage bar after the show. Derek was in major pain for that gig, as he had broken his big toe that day!
So I do admit I am a big admirer of Derek’s sublime slide guitar work, his wife Susan Tedeschi’s gorgeous soulful vocals (she’s a mean guitar player herself too), and the overall sound of this killer band which formed back in 2010.
Their live show is not just a gig. It’s an experience you’ll never forget. Breathtaking twists and turns in the set and every single person in that band are stars when it comes to their contributions and performances.
Derek and Susan may have their name on the billing, but this is very much an ensemble sound, and this new live record really captures that fact. Palpable chemistry deeply marinated all over it.
There are 14 tracks, and for me, not one dodgy cut here. Light and shade between the slower stuff and the groove-soaked numbers is spot on. There is one track I keep coming back to, though. It blew me away when I first heard it and then saw the video, (which you can watch, below). “Tell The Truth”.
This album is a historic, one-off live recording of “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs”, in its entirety, with special guest Trey Anastasio of the band Phish.
With gut-punch vocals from Susan Tedeschi and break-neck backing from the 14-piece band (including guitarist and frequent collaborator Doyle Bramhall, ex-Clapton sideman), this set and album feature dueling guitar solos from Derek Trucks and Trey Anastasio.
Recorded Saturday night, August 24th, 2019 in Arrington, VA, “Layla Revisited (Live at LOCKN’)” captures TTB at their incendiary best. The band’s collaboration with Phish’s renowned guitarist/vocalist, Trey Anastasio, was one of the four-day music festival’s most anticipated performances.
The performance of Layla came as a complete surprise to fans lucky enough to be in attendance at LOCKN’ that evening. Initially billed only as “Tedeschi Trucks Band featuring Trey Anastasio,” the artists made no mention of the set of music they diligently rehearsed and planned ahead of time.
But the links between the band and the album are deeply woven into the fabric of their existence. Propelled by two of the twentieth century’s greatest guitarists, Eric Clapton and Duane Allman, “Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs” was serendipitously released on 9th November 1970, the very day of Susan Tedeschi’s birth.
Later, Chris and Debbie Trucks were such fans of the album that they were inspired to name their firstborn son Derek. Decades later, Trucks would enjoy a fifteen-year tenure as a member of The Allman Brothers Band, and tour extensively with Clapton. Such is the depth of connection between the music and the performers that this album feels almost preordained.
“By the time that I started playing guitar, the sound of Duane Allman’s slide was almost an obsession,” says Derek Trucks. “His playing on ‘Layla’ is still one of the high-water marks for me. The spirit, the joy, the recklessness, and the inevitability of it. My dad would play that record for me and my brother to fall asleep to and further sear it into my DNA.”
These cosmic coincidences all align as Tedeschi Trucks Band give fans an invigorated, inventive take on beloved classics from “I Looked Away” and “Bell Bottom Blues,” to the album’s iconic title track.
For the live festival concert, the band ended with “Layla” and decided to play the original version of the album closer over the PA system as walk-out music. To complete this release, “Layla Revisited” concludes with Derek and Susan delivering a studio version of “Thorn Tree In The Garden,” for the first time as a duo with no additional accompaniment.
This album really is something very special indeed. Susan’s vocals seem to get better, album by album; so damned soulful and a blast of her back of the throat rasp when called for.
While Derek’s other-worldly guitar licks come close to making this devout atheist who is writing this review, believe in the big man and his wine-making son! If there really is a heaven, then this couple and their band should provide the soundtrack….
By Steven George
- I Looked Away
- Bell Bottom Blues
- Keep On Growing
- Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
- I Am Yours
- Key To The Highway
- Tell The Truth
- Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad?
- Have You Ever Loved A Woman?
- Little Wing
- It’s Too Late
- Thorn Tree In The Garden (studio)
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’