12.10-LITTLE WING (Derek & the Dominoes)

Derek & the Dominoes


By this time, Eric Clapton had left Blind Faith and also left another band with which he played for a few months, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends. He joined forces with D&B&Friends' keyboard player and songwriter, Bobby Whitlock, to form a new band called Derek & the Dominoes.( Reportedly, Clapton was tired of “supergroup” attention that he’d had with Cream and Blind Faith and wished to remain as anonymous as possible in the first sets that the Dominoes played.) Derek & the Dominoes, like Blind Faith, only managed to release one studio album, Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs. On this album was Little Wing as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. Wikipedia states that the song was recorded only a week before Hendrix’s sudden death. Clapton's version of Little Wing was released while Hendrix fans were still grieving.

Whereas the Hendrix version of Little Wing and been short and sweet, a delicate gem, Clapton remade the song into hard rock. Contrary to Hendrix’ intimate style, the Dominoes shout the lyrics aggressively. Clapton’s interpretation uses triumphal chords by way of introduction which are reminiscent of Cream’s White Room, and these chords continue to anchor the song between long segments of guitar improvisation. The end phrasing, formed also by struck chords that roll down the scale into the intro again, is also is unique to the Dominoes recording. The psychedelic styles of both the Experience and Cream in 1968 are subsumed by a more contemporary presentation. With Duane Allman of the Allman Brothers playing slide guitar on the track, there’s also a good dose of Southern Rock in the Dominoes performance.