Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs

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Whenever there is a survey of the “best” EC album, “Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs” (LAOALS) is the winner. When Duane Allman joined the Layla sessions in April 1970 and Eric said “Yeah, man, get out your guitar – we got to play!” they made one of the best Blues-Rock recordings ever, pushing each other to new heights.

A lot of stories and reviews have been written about the album, about the band and about the heavy use of drugs during the sessions, so I will focus on the guitar playing part of it. It’s not a 100% Blues album, we have to learn a lot of new things to play this stuff – new scales or slide guitar just to name a few.

“Eric Clapton wrote the book, man – The Contemporary White Blues Guitar, Volume I. His style and technique is what’s really amazing. He’s got a lot to say, and the way he says it just knocks me out.”
- Duane Allman

I said, “Let’s hang out – come back to the studio.” I wanted Duane to hear what we’d done. We just jammed and hung out, got drunk and did a few drugs. He just came in the studio and I kept him there! I kept thinking up ways to keep him in the room: “We could do this. Do you know this one?” Of course, he knew *everything* that I would say and we’d just do it – a lot of those things like “Key to the Highway” and “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” are first or second takes. Then I’d quickly think of something else to keep him there. I knew that sooner or later he was going to go back to the Allmans, but I wanted to steal him! I tried, and he actually came on a few gigs, too. But then he had to say, almost like a woman, “Well, you know, I am actually married to this band and I can’t stay with you.” I was really quite heartbroken! I’d got really used to him, and after that I felt like I had to have another guitar player.
- EC, Guitar World December 1994

“Tom hooked Duane up with Clapton,” Allman says. “We were playing a city gig on Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. I looked down from the stage, and Dowd’s standing there. Clapton is sitting on the ground in front of him. Clapton had this kick-ass set of red boots, I’ll never forget it. I kept thinking, ‘I hope to God Duane don’t see him [Clapton].’ It bothered me and I was playing keyboards. Duane probably saw him before me and it didn’t bother him a bit.” Duane Allman later asked Clapton if he would mind if he came to Criteria Studios in an industrial section of Miami where Dowd did most of his work. Allman recalls, “Clapton said, ‘Watch? My ass. Come on down and play!’ I got to watch part of it. At the end, there was a big jam between the Dominoes and us, which I don’t know has ever come out on a record. It’s a little soon to talk much about Tom. He was a great producer.”
- Gregg Allman, interview 2003

EC played a sunburst Fender Stratocaster (1999 auction price 450 000 US$!) called “Brownie”, which gave a sharp, “twangie” sound compared to the Gibson played by Duane. However, sometimes it’s not easy to distinguish between EC and Duane (I.e. Why does love got to be so sad?).

Derek and the Dominos:
Eric Clapton
(guitar, lead vocals)
Derek is Eric…
Duane Allman
(guitar, slide guitar)
Killed in a motorcycle crash in 1971 at age of 24. A legend on slide guitar.
Bobby Whitlock
(organ, piano, vocals acoustic guitar)
Still an active musician, co-writer of many songs. New album in 1999 including two songs from LAOALS.
Jim Gordon
(drums, percussion, piano)
Imprisoned for 16 years after he murdered his mother in 1983. Diagnosed as acute paranoid schizophrenia. Wrote the end (coda) of Layla.
Carl Radle
(bass, percussion)
Died in 1980 at the age of 37 of kidney failure, partially caused by drug abuse in the seventies

According to Bobby Whitlock the girl on the CD inlet is Kay Poorboy. She was in love with Carl and when he died she couldn’t take living without him and shot herself in the head with a pistol on Christmas Eve or day, they buried her next to Carl (source: http://www.stevehoffman.tv forum). She also found Carl Radle dead at his home. He had gone into a deep depression over losing his gig with Eric.

Most slide guitar parts were played by Duane, but not all. EC played some slide at the end of “Layla” and a duet with Duane on “Tell The Truth”. On the other hand Duane played a lead guitar part on “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad”, trading the licks with EC. Duane did not play on the first three songs of this album.
Duane's grave
The Dominos including EC also played on George Harrisons All Things Must Pass, which was released in the same year (1970). A two-day concert at Fillmore East (without Duane) was released as a double album in 1994.

A couple of songs were re-mastered afterwards, sometimes speed up a little, or edited in other ways. It’s well known that the coda (the end) of Layla was added afterwards. There are also some tape speed problems reported. I don’t care of this, the tabs are made by ear, so if the song was for example shifted from E to E#, it’s tabbed it the key of E#. If it’s not possible to get the key with standard tuning, I’ve noted it.

The lyrics for all songs can be found in the wonderful ECLA – Eric Clapton Lyric Archive

For the chords and scales use the chord generator.

Song list:

Disk 1:

Disk 2:

I Looked Away


I Looked Away (Clapton/Whitlock) is a nice ballad in the good old C major scale, no pentatonic (a few more notes to play than the pentatonic, the octave now really contains 8 notes, octa=8). The song sounds a bit country/songwriter style, but the guitar part is not as easy as it seems. Long parts of the song are played with double stops, that are two notes played at the same time, building up wonderful harmonies using two notes of a chord. Often there is a string between, which should not be picked. Three methods come to mind to play this: playing fingerstyle (grin), using a pick and a free finger or playing with a pick and muting the unwanted strings. Or ask your neighbour Duane to play the second guitar…

While the intro only needs the three major chords from the C-scale (C, G, F), the rest uses a lot of different chords like Dm, G7, E7, Am, D7/F# (hey, must we?), Fm9 (really?), Bb, Bb/F (stop this!). Feel strange? No problem, as always the chords fit to the scale, that means they use notes from the C major scale.

Chords like D7/F# are called slash cords, that means for this example play a D7 with F# as the bass note (which is normally D like E in E7 or A in Am etc.). So this is simple and easy to understand. Fm9 is simply F minor plus the 9th (G), Bb is simple except in some European countries where it’s called B (and B is H…), Bb/F again a slash chord.

Chords are:

C C/G G F Dm G7 E7 am D7/F# Bb Bb/F F9

How does the scale look like? You know it already – in the basics we had a scheme of the notes on the fretboard. I left out the flat and sharp notes (b/#) – and the rest is the C major (Ionian) scale! Here it’s again:

C Major

Let’s jump into the cold water and just begin with the intro. The first notes are quite similar to Johnny Cash’s Ring Of Fire:

  C                G          F        C          G          C
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------0--------------------------------0------------------------------------I
I----------0h2---2--------0-2-3--3-2-0-2----0h2------------0-2--first guitar plays---I
I---0-2-3-------------0h2--------------3---------------0h2---3--along with this-notesI
I-3----------------3------------------------------3----------------------------------I
0:00                                                         0:10

C                               G            C     G      C/G
I---------------------------------------------------------0--------------------------I
I-second--/5--6--5-5--8--/10-8-8-/10--10-8-6-5-3-1-0-1-3--1--------------------------I
I-guitar--------------------------------------------------0--------------------------I
I-starts--/5--7--5-5--9--/10-9-9-/10--10-8-7-5-3-2-0-2-3--2--------------------------I
I-here----------------------------------------------------3--------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------3--------------------------I
0:10                                  0:13                0:18 start vocals

Lyrics and chords

Detailed lyrics have been removed for copyright reasons, so it looks a bit onfusing.

   C           Dm
1. She....
2. But...
   G7          E Am G   F
1. and...
2. and...
               D7/F#     G
1. that...
2. I'm...

then with changing rhythm into A minor at 0:50 :

Am       Fm9
It...
Am       Fm9
that...
Am       Fm9
It...
Fm9      Bb
She...
Fm9      Bb
that...

then repeating the first vocals in C major:

   C           Dm
1. She...
2. But...
   G7          E Am G   F
1. and...
2. and...
               D7/F#    G
1. that...
2. I'm...

At 1:38 turning again into A minor:

Am      Fm9     Bb
And...
Am      Fm9     Bb
To...
Am      Fm9     Bb
I...
F9      Bb      F9      C
loving...

(Solo 1)

C         Dm
But...
G7        E     Am G  F
And...
          D7/F   G
I'm...

(Solo 2)

For the filling licks we can use the A minor pentatonic (first pattern at the 5th fret). Why? Remember back: C major is the relative major to A minor – the notes are the same, but the root note changes. And the pentatonic minor scale fits nice to the relative major scale. You can see this very soon if you take a look at the fills during the first vocals:

I---------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------8b(10)------------I
I--7b(9)rb7-p5---7b(9)-7~~~--------------7b(9)~~~---I
I--------------7------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------I
0:22                              0:38

To get the “flageolet” (harmonic) sound of the second lick, pick very near the bridge and mute the string a little bit – a sweet, floating tone.

The first solo is played somewhat like the intro with double stops like:

I---/12-10-8-10-/12-10-8-7--/13-12-10-8-7-5-7-8--8--10-12-14-------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---/9---7-5--7-/9---7-5-4---14-12-10-8-7-5-7-8--8--10-12-14--7b(9)-rb7-p5h7~~~------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:53                                                           2:05

And th e second solo (A minor, 1st fingering pattern at 17th fret):

I--------------------------------------------------------------------------and all---I
I-20(b)22~~~-------------(22)rb20-p17------------------------17-20-20b-20b-along in--I
I-hold bend into root-----------------19b-19-17h19p17----19b-------19b-19b-this------I
I-pick and put a vibrato------------------------------19-------------------pattern---I
I-on it several times------------------------------------------------------until end-I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
2:26

The end is played like the beginning…

Bell Bottom Blues

Layla...

OK, to shorten the download time, the next songs a little more compressed…

Bell Bottom Blues (Clapton) is another slow ballad in C major/A minor. Look above for the scale. The intro contains the basic chord progression of the whole song and goes like (notice the descending bass line!):

C                   E       A        C/G      F       G             F            G7
I-------------------------------------------------------------------13-----------10----I
I------------1---------------------------------------------------------13----10b----12-I
I--------------0--------1-------2----------------------------4------------14-----------I
I------0-2~------2----2---2---2---2------2--------3-------5----5\3---------------------I
I--2-3--------------2-------0----------3---3----3---3---5------------------------------I
I------------------------------------3--------1-------3--------------------------------I
0:00                                                                 0:12

The licks between the vocals are played in A minor pentatonic (1st pattern) like:

I---------------------------------------------I--------------------------------------I
I---------------8-----------------------------I--20b(22)--20-------------------------I
I-------5-7b(9)---(9)rb7-5-7b(8)rb7-p5---5~~--I--------------(21)rb19-17-17b(19)rb17-I
I---5h7--------------------------------7------I--------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------I--------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------I--------------------------------------I
0:20                                    0:23 snip... 0:34

The pre-chorus between (Do you wanna see me crawl across the floor) and the chorus (I don’t wanna fade away) are in the A major/F# minor key with the chords

A – E – F#m – D – E (for the pre-chorus) and
A – A7 – D – E – A – A7 – D – E (for the chorus)

Chords are:

E A C/G F G G G/ F#m D A7

The first solo at 2:17 again the C major/A minor:

I----------------------15b(17)rb15-----------------------15b(17)rb15-----------------I
I-12-13-15-15b(17)--13-------------15b(17)rb15-p13~~~-12-------------15b(17)rb15-p13-I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
2:17

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------13----15b(17)-----------I
I--12h14p12--------------------------------------------12-14----14-several-times-----I
I-----------14/12-10-------12b(14)rb12-p10----10-12~~--------------------------------I
I--------------------12-10-----------------12----------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
2:27

I----------------------------------15b(17)--15b(17)rb--------------------------------I
I--15b(17)rb15-13-15-13-13-15b(17)--------------------15b(17)rb-13-13-13h15p13-15-15-I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--play near bridge and mute to get semi-harmonic sound------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I

The rest can be found out by yourself – you know the basics now…

Keep on growing

Keep on growing (Clapton/Whitlock) seems to be a simple song to play. But when you try to find out the key it’s driving you crazy. It seems to be in the key of A, but not exactly. The reason it that the guitars were tuned up a quarter step and played using the key and fingering pattern of A, in real between A and A#, kind of A(1/2)#. Maybe this was the result of sound editing… It’s not funny to tune and re-tune the guitar for one song, so I’ll show only the very basics of this song.

The opening rhythm part:

I-------------------------------------12...-I
I-------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------11b(13)-------I
I--2-2-2-2-------7-7--repeat----------------I
I--2-2-4-4-5-5/7-7-7------------------------I
I--0-0-0-0-0-0------------------------------I

The chords for the vocal part are A (several times) G, D and A
(I was laughing…my fate)
The chords for the pre-chorus (I was a…) are E and A.
Most solo parts are playing using the first two fingering patterns of the A scale.

Chords:

G D A E

Nobody knows you when you’re down and out

Finally we get the Blues!
Nobody knows you when you’re down and out (Bessie Smith / Jimmy Cox) is a slow 8 bar Blues in C (originally in A) with a chord progression which differs from our well known I-IV-V progression. We also have Duane playing the slide guitar. The chords can be used for the unplugged version, too.

At first a look at the chords over the 8 bars (divided by |):

C – E7 | A7 | Dm – A7 | Dm | F – F#dim | C – A7 | D7 | G7

Chords:

C E7 A7 Dm F F#dim A D7 G7

Strange… but when listening, it has a kind of automatic playing, like an endless loop. This chord progression uses the cycle of fifth: E7 is the fifth (V) of A7, A7 is the V of Dm and D7, D7 is the V of G7, and G7 is finally the V of C. Yeah! If all chords are played as dominants, they are also called secondary dominants, because each chord’s root note is the V of the next chord.

The chords are played as slow arpeggios up and down – that’s all! For the licks you can use the C Blues scale (1st fingering pattern at the 8th fret). The F – F#dim7 chord change is important: walk up with the bass note from the 3rd to the 4th fret of the D string. For the chords use the chord generator.

Some licks:

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------13-13-15b(17)~~~--15b(17)--15b(17)rb15p13-------11b(13)-11b(13)-11---------8--I
I--/14-------------------3-times-----------------14~~---------------------10b(12)----I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:00  Intro                                             0:10

I--8-----------------9:major scale note!---------------------------------------------I
I----11-------------/----------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------10b(12)rb10-9----------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------10-------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------root---8-9-10\-------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------note-C---------------------------------------------------------I
                    0:14

The solo at 2:40, A minor:

I----------------------15b(17)rb15---------------------------------------------------I
I-----13-13-15b(17)~~~-------------(17)rb15-13h15p-----------------------------------I
I--14----------------------------------------------14~~~---10-12-12b(14)-several-----I
I--------------------------------------------------root-A----------------times-------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
  2:40                                              2:46

I--------------------------------------13----15b(17)~~-19-17-17b(19)rb17-------------I
I--------------------------------13-13----13-----------------------------17b(19)rb17-I
I--12b(14)rb12-10--------15b(17)-----------------------------------------------------I
I-----------------12~~~--------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
                  2:53

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--13\------13-13-----13-13-----13-13\-----------------11----------------------------I
I-------/14-------/14-------/14---------10b(12)-repeat----10b(12)-10-8---------------I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------10-8----------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------10-8-6---I
I----------------------------------------------------------------------------------8-I
                                        3:10

The rest is all this way – try it!

(Slide guitar is played by Duane in open D.)

I am yours

I am yours is the next ballad with EC on acoustic guitar and Duane on slide. Nice to play in C (once again!), no blues at all. For soloing, you have the C major/A minor scale.

Let’s with the intro, EC’s acoustic part:

                                          C
I-----5-5-5--------------------------------8------------------------------------------I
I--/5-8-8-8--------------------------------5-strum C chord here or first pos.---------I
I-----------(9)rb7-p5-----5----------------5------------------------------------------I
I---------------------5h7---5h7-5-----5----5------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------5h7-------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------8---------------------------------------------I
0:00

Now Duane on slide, originally open G, here noted in standard tuning, but still slide…

   C                               G    E
I--------------------------------------------------------------I
I----5-6-8-6-5-----5-8-6-5-----5-6-8-5-10-8---starting vocals--I
I--5-----------5~~---------5-5---------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------I
   0:08

Then the vocals start, with Duane playing some nice filling licks. Chords are (key A minor…):

Am          D7
I...
Fmaj7       Am
There...
Dm          G   C   Bm  E7
There...
Dm              C   Am
Each...
Dm          G   C   Bm  E7
lingers...

Chords:

C G E Am D7 Fmaj7 E7 Bm Dm

Then we have this wonderful slide solo (still in standard tuning, no slides noted):

I------------------10-12-13-15-17-19-20-17-------------------------------------------I
I--10-12-13~~~--13-------------------------13-15-13-13-15-17-13-12----15-13----------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------14-------14-------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:50

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-----13-15~-17-15-13----------------------------------------------------------------I
I--14-----------------16-14-12---------------------------12-14-------continued-------I
I------------------------------15-14--12----12-14--14-15-------15-14-all this way...-I
I----------------------------------------15------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
2:13

The songs ends with “I am Yours”, played with the Am chord.

Anyday

Some time ago I already added the chords for Anyday to the tab archive, so I can save some work…

Anyday (Clapton/Whitlock) is a slow song in A with Duane playing slide in drop d open tuning (e-b-g#-d-a-d). All tabs are still noted in standard tuning, so you don’t have to change your tuning. Locate the A notes on the fretboard!

The chorus (Anyday, Anyday, I will…) is in a different key, in D, with the chords D, A, G. Notice that D is the fourth of A and A is the fifth of D! This gives the strong, turning sound.

Chords: D/F# means Chord D with bass tone F# (slash-chord).

Let’s go right into it – the song starts with the following riff:

I---strumm chords--------------------------------------------5-------5---------------I
I----------------/14---------------------/14--repeat---------------------------------I
I----------2-2---/14-------0-------2-2---/14--a few----5b(7)---5b(7)---5b(7)~~-------I
I---2p0----2-2---/14---0-2---h2p0--2-2---/14--times----originally with slide---------I
I-------0--0-0---------------------0-0--------until----------------------------------I
I----------------------------------------------0:11----------------------------------I
0:00                                     0:06          0:15

You slide from the A chord on the 2nd fret into the same chord on the 14th fret (yes, it’s one octave = 12 frets higher!). The main lick is a bend/slide into the root note A.

Another cool lick is played over the chords G – D – A at the end of the verses, for example at 0:48:

I----------------------------------8/10--8/9--5--I
I------------------------------------------------I
I--19-17-------17b(19)-17b(18)-14----------------I
I--------19--------------------------------------I
I--easy--------bending-version-----slide---------I
I--version-------------------------version-------I
0:48

Chords and lyrics

Verse 1:

A       A/G       D/F#  F
Heard...
A       A/G       D/F#
  Yeah,...
A       A/G       D/F#  F
Nothing...
A     A/G         D/F#  F    G  D  A
I'd...

pre-chorus:

A        G   D  A   G  D  A
But ...
A        G   D  A   G  D  A
Like...
A        G   D  A   G  D  A
We...
A        G   D  A
We...

Chorus (changing the key from A to D!):

A       D    A    G      D A G
And...
D       A    G           D A G
Anyway,...

Verse 2:

     A   A/G      D/F#    Fsus2
Well...
A        A/G      D/F#    F
When...
A        A/G      D/F#    F
I'll...
A        A/G      D/F#    F
And I'll...

Chords:

A A/G G D D/F# Fsus2 F

The solo in A (5th fret!) is at 3:04 (chords: A A/G D/F# F). Duane plays a lot of hammer-ons and pull-offs and adds sometimes notes from the major scale – like EC. Both styles were influenced by each other those days…

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------------6b(8)~~~-rb6p5--------I
I--------5-7-4~~~-4h5p4-------5-7-7b(9)rb7b(9)---5h7p5---5h7p5----------------7p5----I
I-5h7~~~----------------/7--7------------------7-------7--------------------------7--I
I---root-----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
3:04                                            3:10

I---------8-5-0-7---5~~--7---5~~-----------------------------------------------------I
I-5-8-5-5---------8--------8----------8-10b(10)b(11)-(11)rb10-8-10-8--------13-15----I
I---------------------------------7/9--------------------------------9--/14----------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
                 3:15

I----------15-15b(17)-15b(17)~~--(17)rb15-12-15----12-14-12~~------------------------I
I--15b(17)--------------------------------------15------------15b(17)rb15b(17)rb15---I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
                                                          3:23

I-----------------back----I
I---13h15-13------to the--I
I------------14\--basic---I
I-----------------riff----I
I-------------------------I
I-------------------------I
  3:26

Key to the highway

I’ll discuss both the album and the live version from the Fillmore concert. Both versions have the same key (A), structure (8 bar Blues) and chords (A/D/E), so I’ll add a few more licks and slide parts here (Duane did not play with D & D at Fillmore!).

The song itself is pretty old, the first recording by Jazz Gillum was in 1940, one year before the composer Big Bill Broonzy recorded it. It was played often by other Blues musicians like Little Walter or Sonny Terry.

The more I listen to it the more I’m fascinated of it – a really great song to jam with. Too bad that the tape started too late and so missed the beginning…

Let’s build up this song again, especially for the beginners. Yes, we can play and enjoy this song with only a few riffs and licks.

At first a simple slow shuffle rhythm riff for the chords A (I), D (IV) and E (V):

  A                D                E
I---------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------I
I------------------2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4------------------I
I-2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4--0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0------------------I
I-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-------------------2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4-I
I-----------------------------------0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-I

The turnaround can also be played an easier way (the other version is at the KTTH page)

  A                      E7
I--------------------------I
I--------------------------I
I--------------------------I
I-2-2-5-5-4-4-3-3-2--0-1-2-I
I-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--------I
I--------------------------I

The song starts fading in like

I--9-9---9---9---9-----10-----12---12---12--------------------------I
I--8-8---8---8---8---9------9------9----9------10-12b-12b-----------I
I--9-9-9---9---9---9------9------9----9----/11--------several times-I
I--just the D7-----E7-----E chord-----------------------------------I
I-----------chord--chord--------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:02                                              0:08

and continues all this way in the A minor scale with some notes from the major scale.

At 2:42 starts the first solo. The important notes are B and A on the 12 fret. You can jam all around with only a few notes from the A major scale:

I-10--12-I
I-10--12-I
I---11---I
I--------I
I--------I
I--------I
Some notes for jamming, root is 10th fret, A string

A nice lick with these notes (later often used by Mark Kopfler!)

I----------12----------10-I
I--12b(14)----(14)rb12----I
I-------------------------I
I----------let ring!------I
I-------------------------I
I-------------------------I

The solo starts like:

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-5-8--------------------------10-10-10-12b(14)-12-10----10-10---12b-12b-12b-12b-12b-I
I-----8\7-6------6---------/11------------------------11-----------------------------I
I-----------7-7----------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------7-7~~~--back to the main theme...---------------------------------I
I-----major scale notes!-------------------------------------------------------------I
2:42

I---------------------------12-12---------12-12--------I
I-------------------12b(14)-------12b(14)-------repeat-I
I---10h12p10----10--let ring!-------------------severalI
I------------11---------------------------------times--I
I------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------I
2:53

Continued all along these notes…
The second solo starts at 4:13 with Duane on slide. It’s tabbed in standard notation, the slides are not extra noted(you can hear it). You can play it also without a slide and use bendings instead.

I--17-17~~~---17-15-12-15-12~~--20b(22)--18b(20)-------------------I
I-------------------------------slow-------------(20)rb18-15-------I
I--root note!------------------------------------------------14~~--I
I------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------I

This is just a little starting help. The song is more than 9 min long, and the complete tabbing is not very useful – it’s jamming. That means, you can copy some licks, play them in a different way or use your own “lick library”. The rhythm is constant over the whole song, the key also. Locate the A notes on your fretboard and search one or two fingering patterns that fit. For the last part for example the first A fingering pattern starting at the 17th(!) fret.

The live version

This version of “Key To The Highway” was played by Derek and the Dominos live at the Fillmore East on October 23/24, 1970 (6:25 min). I’ve tabbed the intro, it’s a great Slow Blues to start a little bit jamming with it (recently EC played an acoustic version with B.B. King, but I think the electric versions are much better.)

Song Basics

KTTH was written in 1941 by Big Bill Broonzy and Chas Segar.
The key is A, so the main chords are A/A7 – E/E7 – D/D7

Chords:

A A7 E E7 D D7

It’s an 8 bar Blues. This format has a different chord progression than the 12 bar Blues. A common example in G:

G7 – D7 – C7 – C7
G7 – D7 – G7 – D7

Or in general:

I-V-IV-IV
I-V-I-V

The main chord progression for this song is:

Intro:

A - E7 - A - E7

A - E7 - D - D
A - E - A (D/F#,Dm/F, A/E) - E7

A - E7 - D - D
A - E - A (D/F#,Dm/F, A/E) - E7

A - E7 - D7 - A
E7 - A (D/F#,Dm/F, A/E).

Vocals (8 bar blues):

A – E7 – D7 – D7
A – E7 – A (D/F#,Dm/F, A/E) – A (E7)

The descending turnaround (D/F#,Dm/F, A/E) is played like:

I--5---5---5---5---5---5---0---------0---0-I
I-(8)-(8)-(7)-(7)-(6)-(6)--------------3---I
I--------------------------------0h1-------I
I--5---5---4---4---3---3---2---------------I
I------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------0------------I
(8): can also be played

Rhythm guitar

 A7
 I-------------------I
 I-------------------I
 I-------------------I
 I--2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4--I
 I--0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--I
 I-------------------I

 E7
 I-------------------I
 I-------------------I
 I-------------------I
 I-------------------I
 I--2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4--I
 I--0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--I

 D7 (also played as chords!)
 I-------------------I
 I-------------------I
 I--2-2-4-4-2-2-4-4--I
 I--0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0--I
 I-------------------I
 I-------------------I

The structure of the song is:
Intro with solo I – vocal I – solo II – vocal II – solo III.

Intro

The intro solo contains the essential licks of the song, here is the tab:

I-12--12--12--12------------------------------12-10----------------------------I
I-12b-12b-12b-12b--------------------10-12-10-------12br-10----10h12p10----10--I
I-------------------0tr1....--/11---------------------------11----------11-----I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-----------------0------------------------------------------------------------I

I----5-5-5-5-5-5-0--------0---0--------9---9-----9-------10---12---12-12-------I
I-10------------------------3----------------8-----8---------------------------I
I---------------------0h1----------7/9---9-----9-----9-9----9----9-------------I
I----5-5-4-4-3-3-2-------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------0----------------------------------------------------------I

I------------12--10---------12--10---------12--10---------12--10---------------I
I------10-----------12br-10--------12br-10--------12br-10--------12br-10-------I
I--/11----11-------------------------------------------------------------11----I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I

I-----12-12-----12-12-----12-12------------------------------------------------I
I-/14-------/14-------/14-----------10-10-12b-10-12-10h12p10----10-10----------I
I-/14-------/14-------/14-------/11--------------------------11----------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I

(snip)

I--------17--19-19b-19br-17--19-17---------------------------------------------I
I-/17-19----------------------------15b--15br13----13b-------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------14-----......------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------I

(...)

The second and third solo contain similar licks. It’s not to fast to pick them out and play, just try it! When you look at the A Blues pentatonic scale, you’ll see that it doesn’t fit any more, several notes are missing. These missing notes belong to another scale: the A major pentatonic. EC just mixes both scales and so he gets more notes for improvising. Another approach is to use the major pentatonic and add notes from the minor, a style used by Freddie King for example. A bending from an A minor note into the major scale note is really cool, especially from a minor to major third!

The A minor pentatonic scale with the additional notes from the major scale (gray) looks like:
Scale A
Combining minor scales with major notes:

When you mix both scales, it’s getting complex. Some notes are the same in both scales, some not. To keep it easy, play in the good old Blues scale and “borrow” sometimes a note from the other scale (there are “wrong” notes now!).

More notes can be taken from the scale of the subdominant or dominant chord: while playing over the E7 chord (dominant) use notes from the E pentatonic, while playing over the D7 (subdominant) use notes from the D pentatonic.

You don’t need to learn new fretboard patterns – the major pentatonic scale is just 3 frets down the minor pentatonic.

BTW (see basics):
The A major pentatonic fingering pattern is the same as the F# minor pentatonic (relative scales). G major is E minor, C major is A minor and so forth. Just the root notes (the starting points) are different. Look at the music basics for a better understanding and use the scale generator to get fretboard schemes.

Tell the truth

Tell the truth (Whitlock/Clapton) is a kind of Blues in E with Duane’s “crying” slide guitar dominating the song. EC also played some slide in the end. “Tell the Truth” was originally going to be the single, however it was pulled because Eric and Bobby did not like the Phil Spector production and did not like that they didn’t sound like The Dominos, “Roll it Over” came out as the single (source: Bobby Whitlock).

“Yeah, that came to me one night. I was at Eric’s house; (I) stayed at Eric’s for six months and then we got a place in town – we called it “the Domino flat.” It was ‘hell on wheels,’ I’m telling you, we were a terror. But we were young and out of control. It came to me: the whole world was shaking, and it felt like it. The whole thing came to me, and I made up chords. It was an open ‘E’ but everything was backwards. Eric helped me on the very last verse, and I just wrote the whole thing that night – it just came to me – “the whole world’s shaking, can’t you feel it? A new dawn’s breaking, I can see it.” And there was a new dawn, and it was a new dawn in my life, and there was a new dawn in that it was a new day.”
- Bobby Whitlock, interview 2000

The intro (no slide) goes pretty easy like

E                          E7
I--------------------------4-----------I
I--------------------------3--repeat---I
I--------------------------4-----------I
I------2-2-----2-2---------2-----------I
I--2h4-----4p2-----4p2-----2-----------I
I----------------------0---------------I
0:00

Then Duane on slide:

I---------12----/17-/12---------------I
I--/10-12----10---------12\-----------I
I---------------------------/14-------I
I-------------------------------/14~~-I
I--------------------------------root-I
I--------------------------------note-I
0:12

The vocals start now with the chords E, A, B7 (sounds familiar?), Duane adding slide licks all the way. We have two verses, then (1:03) comes the bridge with different chords (whole world is shaking…): G – D – E – B – E – B – E – B.

Chords:

E E7 A B7 B7 G D B

We continue with the next verses (chords again E – A – D) and the second bridge with the chords shown above. At 2:41 Duane starts a slide solo like

I------9-----9--repeat---------------------------------------------------------------I
I--7/9---7/9----several--9\7---------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------times--------11\9------------------------9------9------9-------------I
I---------------------------------11~~----9-11-9-11-9-11---9-11---9-11---------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
  2:41                                    2:46

The slide then goes upwards to the 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th fret of the B and high E string. Try to get it by yourself! Tabbing it all would fill a few pages, but you know where to start now.

Why does love got to be so sad?

Another milestone from the same level as the title track Layla. Duane (without slide) and Eric both play the breathtaking lead guitar parts on it. It’s hard to play it, and maybe impossible to play it like Duane and Eric. But we’ll try our very best…

At first – the key. We get the first problem: the guitars are tuned down about a semitone. Not exactly, it seems to be a bit more than a semitone. I don’t know if this is an artifact from re-mastering or if the guitars really had been tuned down. It’s not unusual, especially in Rock guitar music, because you get a “fatter” tone – you can use thick strings and it’s still easy to bend.

(If you don’t want to tune your guitar down, you can try to play it in the key of Db major and the relative minor key Bb, the first chords are Bbm and Ab. I tried this first, but it’s not easy, so I’ll describe it the other way.)

To get the real sound and to use a better known key, we should tune our guitar down a semitone. Most guitar tuners have a special “flat” mode, using this tunes all strings down a semitone. Another way is to start tuning the deep E string down until the tone at the 6th fret gets the pitch of the open A string, than tuning all other strings as usually (see basics). Now you have to fine tune your guitar to the song, tuning all strings down again about a quarter tone.

The “virtual” key, that means relative to the position on the fretboard, is D major (or its relative minor Bm) and sometimes B for the chorus. I’ve added a scale chart to the scales page. I use this scale for chords and tabs, but keep in mind that it’s not the real key, just the position on the fretboard if the guitar is tuned to the song.

The starting chords are Bm and A. If you take a look a the D scale notes
(D(I) – E – F# – G(IV) – A(V) – B(vi) – C# – D),
you see that A is the fifth (major chord) and Bm is the sixth (minor chord).
They can be played like:

  Bm   A
I-7----5--I
I-7----5--I
I-7----6--I
I-9----7--I
I-9----7--I
I---------I

Chords:

Bm A

Now we start the solo like

I------------------10b-------------------10b--------------------10b------------------I
I--------------10------12-12-10-12----10-----12-12-10-12-----10-----12-12------------I
I------7-9-/11---------------------11---------------------11---------------11p9p7----I
I--7h9-------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:04

I--------------------------------------10-----------10-12-10-12b(14)rb12b(14)--------I
I--------10----------------------10-10----12--10-12----------------------------------I
I-9b(11)----9b(11)~~~--9-7-9p7-------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------9-----------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:10

Now the vocals start (Got to find…), the chords are
Bm – A – Bm – A – G – D – F#.
Blues players are not so familiar with these, but if you take a look at the D scale (see above) you’ll see that they are OK for this scale.

Chords:

Bm A G D F# Emaj7

The filling licks in D major (!) pentatonic (10th fret) are something like:

I------10-12------------(14)rb12-p10-12~~~---------------17---------------------------I
I--/12-------12\---or------------------------or--17b(19)----(19)rb17-p15-17b(19)b(19)-I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:14                     0:18                0:21

Another verse follows with the same chords as above.

Than we have the chorus (why does love…) with the chords Bmaj7 and Emaj7, we now change the key to B
(notes are B – C# – D# – E – F# – G# – A – B)
until 0:45. Looking at the basics you see that the D(I) and E(IV) can be played as major 7th chords because all notes belong to the D scale.

Changing back to D we have the next verse with chords as before and again the chorus in B, than we get the first solo in D starting at 1:14:

         Emaj7                         Bm           A              Bm
I--------17b(19)-17b(19)-17b(19)rb17-------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------10-12p10----10-12-b(14)-12-10-12p10-------I
I-be-----------------------------------/11----------11-------------------------11\9--I
I-so---------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-sad...-----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:16                                   1:16

   A            G               D                       F#                 F# / Bm
I-------------------------------12b(14)-12-10-12p10--------------------17---------17-I
I-------------------10-12p10------------------------12------15-17b(19)----17b(19)----I
I--7-9b(10)rb9--/11----------11-------------------------/16--------------------------I
I----slow-----------------------------------------------------------------repeat-----I
I----bend-----------------------------------------------------------------several----I
I-------------------------------------------------------------------------times------I
                1:21                                                   1:23

  A                    Bm                          A                    G / D / F#
I-17(b)19rb17-14-17-14----14-17-14----14-17-14----14-17-14-17-17p14-17-17p14---------I
I----------------------17----------17----------17------------------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------------------------------------repeat-------I
I-----------------------------------------------------------------------several------I
I-----------------------------------------------------------------------times--------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
 1:24                                              1:27

I-17-17-14-18-14-17-14-18-----------19----22b(23)--19----22(23)--repeat--------------I
I----------------------------/19-------19-------------19---------fast----------------I
I-------------------repeat----------------most guitars don't-------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------have 23 frets, so--------------------------I
I-----------------------------------------just-bend into it...-----------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:29                                 1:31

I-------------------------------14-14h17p14----repeat------------------22b(24)-22-19-I
I---22b(24)-22b(24)-22b(24)rb22-------------17---------22b(24)rb22-p19---------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
                                 1:34

Now the second guitar (EC) fades in like

I---7-10-7-7-12-10-7----10b--12b(14)rb12-p10-12-10-------------10-------10--repeat---I
I--------------------10----------------------------12-10-10h12----10h12--------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
1:39                                                           1:43

and continues all this way trading licks with Duane until the vocals start again from 2:00 until 2:45. Tabbing it all maybe possible, but it’s more important to know where you are playing here: they play together in the (remember: virtual) key of D major. Compare the “fading in” Eric on the tab above with the D scale using the grey (major) notes. The 10 on the high E-string is the root note D where he plays around. You can try to find out the rest by yourself.

After the vocals we have a second jamming together, this time in B major, chords Bmaj7/Emaj7. Some of the licks are noted below – take a look at the lime-line.

I--------------------------------14p11-14p11-14p11-----------------------------------I
I--12----12-----12----12-------------------------------------------------------------I
I-----13----13-----13----13--------------------------8h9---8h9---8h9-----------------I
I--------------------------------------------------------8-----8-----8---------------I
I--vocals fading out-----------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
2:33                            2:44                  2:48

Finally – the end with a bending into F#, which is the V of Bmaj…

I--------9--12-11-9\6-----------------------I
I-----10--------------7---------------------I
I--11-------------------8--9b(10)rb9b(19)~~-I
I-------------------------------------------I
I--F#m chord---------------bend into F#-----I
I-------------------------------------------I
4:34

Have you ever loved a woman

This one has already been described here.

Little Wing

Don’t forget: tune your guitar back to standard tuning!

Little Wing (Hendrix) is one of Jimi Hendrix’ signature songs. Recorded in October 1967 at the London Olympic Studios for his second record “Axis: Bold As Love”, Hendrix played it using the E pentatonic scale plus some extra notes while the Dominos played it using the A major scale. Hendrix died a few days after Derek and the Dominos recorded this song.

The intro starts with a special chord sequence: E – F#m – D – E, played as barre chords like:

  E   F#m   D   E
I-7---9-----5---7--I
I-9---10----7---9--I
I-9---11----7---9--I
I-9---11----7---9--I
I-7---9-----5---7--I
I------------------I

Chords:

E F#m D

How do this chords fit in the scale? Take a look at the A major scale (not pentatonic, see basics). E is the V, played as major chord, F#m is the vi, played as minor chord and D is the IV, played as major chord. So all chords belong to the scale. A simple scale chart:

A Major

The intro chords start and end with the V (E major chord), there is a suspense build up which leads to the following notes:

I----------------------------------------------------------------------------12------I
I-10b(12)rb10-7~~~-7-9--5-7------------5h7-5/7--9-10-10h12-12b(14)~~-12b(14)---------I
I---------------------------6~~~---6h7-----------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
  0:14

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-12b(14)~~~--(14)rb12-10-9~~--9-10-10b(12)rb10-9-10---------------------12~~~-------I
I----------------------------------------------------11~~~--13~~~-14~~~--------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
  0:26                                                      0:34

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--11\9-9\7-7\4-4\2-2-0-0---0-2--repeat-again, then again the chords-E/F#m/D/E-------I
I-------------------------2----------------------------------------------------------I
I--simply-going down the scale...----------------------------------------------------I
  0:36

The vocals start (chords F#m – A – Bm7 – F#m – C#m7 – Bm7 – D – A – G – D and again E – F#m – D – E) with filling licks like:

I----------------------------------------12b(14)~~--------------------------------------I
I-walking...--7-10b(12)rb10------round...----------12b(14)rb12p10-12----10h12p10h12-----I
I---------------------------11~~-------------------------------------11-------------13~-I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:50                             1:01

Chords:

F#m A Bm7 C#m7 D G E F#m D

You can find out the other licks by yourself using the following notes of the A major scale:

I--5---7---9--------12----14---I
I--5---7---9--10----12---------I
I----6-----------11----13-14---I
I------------------------------I
I------------------------------I
I------------------------------I

A very strong sound is the change from the root note A (B string 10th fret) to the vii (Ab, 9th fret, same string) followed by the vi (7th fret, same string), played like

I----------------------I
I--9h10p9h10p9h10-7~~~-I
I----------------------I
I----------------------I
I----------------------I
I----------------------I

The rest is played in the same way, including the chords.

It’s too late

It’s too late is a slow blues in A from Chuck (Harold) Willis written in 1957. Chuck Willis (1928-1958) was a blues ballad songwriter and R&B singer, who wrote songs like “I Feel So Bad” (covered by Elvis), “Don’t Deceive Me”, “It’s Too Late” (covered by Buddy Holly and Otis Redding), and his version of “C.C. Ryder” was a big hit.

The structure is simple – we just need our three Blues chords (I-IV-V) for the key of A (A, D, E). If you play them as arpeggios, you have already mastered the main parts of the song!

Chords:

A D E

The intro starts like:

  A                     D            A  E                A           D
I--------------------------------------------------------------------------2---------I
I---------------------------3--------2--It's too...-gone-------2---------3---3-------I
I-------------2-----------2----------2-----------------------2---2-----2-------2-----I
I-----------2-----------0-----0------2---------------------2-------2-0---------------I
I---------0------0-2-4----------4-2--0-------------------0---------------------------I
I--0-2-4-----------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:00                                 0:05

Keep on playing A and D as arpeggios until the shuffle starts (Wish I…):

  A/A6                              E                    A
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I-----------------------..late...------------------------2--..gone...----------------I
I-----------------------------------------1--------------2---------------------------I
I-2-2--4-4--2-2--4-4--------------------2---2------------2---------------------------I
I-0-0--0-0--0-0--0-0-....-------------2-------2--repeat--0---------------------------I
I-----------------------------------0------------------------------------------------I
0:19

The chorus also uses just A/A6 and D/D6 as chords. Easy to figure out. We only need Duane’s slide solo (still in A, noted in standard tuning):

I--/17-17-17-------17-17-----------------12------------------------------------------I
I------------16/17-------17\-/14------14----10/12\10-----15/17\15-13----repeat-------I
I--------------------------------14~~----------------14--------------14--------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
 1:49                                                     1:56

The most important note is the root note A at the 17th fret, high E string. If you play around this note, sliding in and sliding away, you can find out the rest. The following vocal are played as before.

Layla

See also: Layla on Wikipedia – a good summary. They even link back to me ;)
UPDATE: the link to my page doesn’t exist anymore.
UPDATE: now they do again…

More facts and quotes from interviews about this song can be found at www.songfacts.com.

“I’m incredibly proud of that song. To have ownership of something that powerful is something I’ll never be able to get used to. It still knocks me out when I play it.”
- Eric Clapton, interview 1988

The title track about the unrequited love with Patti Boyd (the wife of his best friend George Harrison) still belongs to the best rock songs ever recorded. The title was inspired by the Persian love story “The Story Of Layla And Majnun” from Nizami.

“I was there when they were supposedly sneaking around. You don’t sneak very well when you’re a world figure. He was all hot on Patti and I was dating her sister. They had this thing going on that supposedly was behind George’s back. Well, George didn’t really care. He said, “You can have her.” That kind of defuses it when Eric says, “I’m taking your wife” and he says, “Take her.” They got married and evidently, she wasn’t what he wanted after all. The hunt was better than the kill. That happens, but apparently Patti is real happy now with some guy who’s not a guitar player. Good for her and good for Eric for moving on with his life. George got on with his life, that’s for sure.”
- Bobby Whitlock, interview

Layla was written not only by Eric, the opening riff was from Duane, who borrowed it from Albert King’s “As The Years Go Passing By” from his 1967 album Born Under a Bad Sign. The verse “There is nothin’ I can do” is used for a fast and powerful pentatonic lick. Just compare it:

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“You know what? That riff is a direct lift from an Albert King song. And I don’t have to pay royalties because . . . [He hums the riff.] Hmmm, maybe I do [laughs]. It’s a song off the Born Under a Bad Sign album ["As the Years Go Passing By"]. It goes, There is nothing I can do/If you leave me here to cry. It’s a slow blues. We took that line and speeded it up.
- Eric Clapton, interview 1988

In an interview during the Crossroads guitar auction EC stated, that it was a Blind Blake tune which inspired him to the chord change. The intro came later.

The later added coda was from Jim Horn, Jim Gordon and Rita Coolidge. Bobby Whitlock talked about this recently in an interview:

“That was him and me. You hear that real big-sounding thing; that was him, and you hear where it’s real screwed up, that’s me. So, Tom Dowd put both parts together – the piano coda. That’s Jim and myself at the end of that thing. (earnestly) As a matter of fact, he did not write that – he did not write that. Jim Horn wrote that. Absolutely true, and that’s a fact: I can attest to that. I’m a witness. Jim Horn showed him that – Jim Horn just did my album – and Jim said, “Lemme show you somethin’, and I went, “Whoa!” – he did! I remember Jim Gordon and Rita Coolidge were livin’ together up on some canyon, and I was stayin’ in the house down below, and they were upstairs, and they were trying – Jim Gordon played me this thing, and they were trying to put it together, him and Rita. It turns out, Jim Horn actually really wrote that coda. Like I say, I’m tellin’ you the truth, I’m a witness.”
- Bobby Whitlock (http://www.gritz.net/bobbywhitlock.html, now swampland.com)

Although the unplugged version seems to be very different, I will compare both and try to show what both have in common. It is more than you expect…

The song starts with the signature lick in D minor. We have more than one guitar on it, even more than two, so we have to analyse them separately. Let’s take a look at the intro:

Guitar 1
  Dm              D5 C5 Bb5    C5     D5
I-------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------I
I-------------------------------------------------I
I-----0h3p0---0--/7-\5--3------5------7--repeat---I
I-0h3-------3----/5-\3--1--0---3--0-3-5-----------I
I----------------------------3--------------------I
 0:00

Chords:

D5 C5 Bb5

The pure pentatonic lick starts on A (the V) and ends with the root note D. The double stops that follow are 5th chords containing only the notes 1 and 5. Leaving out the 3/3m (which would determine if they are a major or minor chord) gives that typical, strong rock sound, also called “power chord”. It fits in both major and minor scales and sounds very good with much distortion. Analysing the chords you see that they fit into the Dm scale:

Dm – D5 – C5 – Bb5 – C5 – D5

Guitar 2 uses the same lick just one octave higher:

Guitar 2
  Dm                D5 C5 Bb5    C5     D5
I------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------I
I------7h10p7----7~~~~-hold tone...--------I
I-7h10--------10---------------------------I
I------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------I
0:00

At 0:08 Duane starts the same lick, but another octave higher. He combines slide playing and bending, in most cases the higher notes are played with slide. Remember the 1st fingering pattern of the D minor pentatonic starting at the 10th fret and you already have it:

 Guitar 3 (chords as above)

I--------10h13p10----10~~--13b(15)rb13-12----10~~--------10h13p10----10~-15b(17)rb15-I
I--10h13----------13----------------------13-------10h13----------13-----------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
  0:08

I-12-----10~~~---------I
I----13---------repeat-I
I--------root----------I
I--------note----------I
I--------D-------------I
I----------------------I
  0:16

Guitar 1 and 2 are playing some licks in the background using the scale above.

Break – time to compare it to the “Unplugged” version. It is slower, much more laid-back and relaxed. But if you can play the licks above, you know also the intro. Take a look:

        D5  C5 Bb5   C5 D5
I--------------------------------I
I--------------------------------I
I--------------------------------I
I-------7---5-3--5---5-7-repeat--I
I--0-3--5-5-3-1--3-0-3-5---------I
I--------------------------------I
 0:00

The same double stop chords as from the electric version can be used. Of course you can play it also using the chords played in standard position (with open strings), but be sure to play them as 1,5 (power-) chords.

Back to the Dominos:
Now the vocals start and if you try to use the licks and chords from the beginning you go wrong – the key changes to E major (or the relative minor C# minor). This is a semitone above the key (or below if you call it C#m) used for the intro (D minor).

The chords are (lyrics only in parts, copyright…):

C#m     G#m
What....lonely
C#m     C7      D7     E(7)
and ... waiting by ... side
F#m     B
You.....running
E       A
hiding..long
F#m     B
you.....your
E       key change to D minor
pride...Layla

Chords:

C#m G#m C7 D7 E7 E A F#m B

How do these chords fit to the E major (C# minor) scale (skip if you know it, see basics for more…)?
The E major scale (and the C# minor scale) have the following notes:

E(I) – F#(ii) – G#(iii) – A(IV) – B(V) – C#(vii)- D#(viii) – E(I) (E major)

Every chord fits well, with the numbers in upper case showing major chords and the numbers in lower case showing minor chords. Play the chords: starting with minor chords, it moves towards the major tonic chord E.

During this some licks are played in the background. Use the major E scale / minor C# scale:

I---------------------------------------------------------------I
I-13b(14)----12b(14)rb12-p9-11b(12)-----11b(12)rb11-p9----------I
I------------------------------------------------------11(b13)--I
I---------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------------------I
 0:23                       ...lonely...

Back to D minor we have the second chorus (0:40). At 0:58 the second verse, at 1:13 the third chorus, at 1:31 third verse, at 1:46 fourth chorus (puuh), all in a similar style. After the 4th chorus Duane started a crying slide solo in D minor. This one is really hard to tab – important notes are on the 20th, 22th (root) and 24th fret on the high E string (I can’t really play there) and the 20th and 22th fret of the A string. Sometimes he slides up to the (virtual) 30th fret and above…

The coda starts at 3:11 in C major (yes, another scale!). If you try to play it, you’ll hear that something is wrong. It’s not exactly in C. Some fellow slowhanders told me that there have been problems during the recording or that the speed was changed in order to get it on the album. Even throughout the coda there are changes. All we can do now is to play it in C, no matter how it sounds together with the album. Or use a live version, but then you don’t have Duane’s slide.

The chord sequence in C:

C – Cmaj7 – Fadd9 – F – Fmaj7 – F – C

If you like to play the main piano theme with your guitar, you can also add double stops with the notes from the chords:

I-0-0-0---0-0-1-3-3-1-1-0-0-------------------0--------I
I---------------------------3-3-1-3~~-----1-3---3-1----I
I---------------------------------------1-----------1--I
I------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------I
  3:11

I can’t tab the slide parts (both Duane and EC playing together), because of the tuning problems (see above).

Tip: the slide starts between the 15th and 16th fret, if we use the key of C it’s just above the 15th fret. The notes are the same as used during the piano intro but played one octave higher.

Thorn Tree In The Garden

No, but I sure would. I know what your lyrics say, but it seems like everybody was! No, there’s not very many people – I’ve only told this story – one time. I don’t think that anyone would believe me, but I’ll tell you: it was about a dog – a little dog that I had. I used to live at the Plantation – remember the song, “Shoot-out at the Plantation” that Leon Russell wrote? There was thirteen of us: “Indian Head” Davis, Jimmy Karstein; there was a bunch of us living in this house in California. And I had a little puppy that I named after Delaney’s daughter, Bekka Bramlett. So I had a little puppy and a cat, and I was one of thirteen people that was living in this house in the Valley. This guy – I’m not going to give his name because I think that would be inappropriate – said, “You need to get rid of these animals, we can’t have–there’s too many people in this house at the same time, anyway. There was Chuck Blackwell, who played drums with Taj Mahal; I mean, there was thirteen of us living in this house! And so I got rid of the cat; I took it out to Delaney’s house in Hawthorne, CA, and left that with Delaney and his mom out there. When I got back, I wasn’t going to get rid of my dog, Bekka, but I got back and this guy had taken my dog away, and it really upset me. Rather than doing anything physical or anything like that because it really hurt me emotionally, I was thinking, well, ‘a snake in the woodpile,’ this and that; then I went, no: ‘thorn tree in my garden.’ And so I wrote the song, sittin’ in my bedroom and the “thorn tree in my garden” was this guy who had disposed of my dog. And the song is about my little dog, and he was the thorn tree in my garden. It’s not about a woman or anything; it’s about love.
- Bobby Whitlock, interview 2000

With Bobby Whitlock’s “Thorn Tree in the Garden” the album fades away with a beautiful love ballad. Bobby also sings and plays an acoustic guitar on it. The song is in E and starts with a 4 note harmonic played like

I-----14-11-12~~~----I--------2(14)-------0(12)--I
I--12----------------I--0(12)-------4(17)--------I
I--------------------I---------------------------I
I---notes without----I---------------------------I
I---harmonics--------I---------------------------I
I--------------------I---------------------------I
  0:00

How do I play that? 0(12) means to play the harmonic above the 12th fret (12) using the open string (0). This is not difficult (see basics). Now it’s getting tricky: 2(14) means to play the harmonic above the 14th fret while pressing down the string at the second fret. I don’t know how to play it with a pick, but if you prefer fingerstyle simply use your thumb for muting the string above the 14th fret and use another finger to pick the string.

We continue with the basic chords for this song: Emaj7 and F#m, played with two guitars. Both chords belong to the E major scale – check it out! It’s easier to play with a capo at the 2nd fret, but you can also play it without. Note that Emaj7 without root note is similar to G#m. The chords are played as arps like:

Guitar 1

   Emaj7 (G#m)  F#m
I--------4------------2--------------I
I------4---4--------2---2------------I
I----4-------4----2-------2--repeat--I
I--2---------------------------------I
I---------------4--------------------I
I------------------------------------I
 0:02

Guitar 2

I------7-----7----------7-----7---------------I
I----4-----4-----4----------------------------I
I---------------------6-----6-----6--repeat---I
I---------------------------------------------I
I--7-----7-----7----7-----7-----7-------------I
I---------------------------------------------I
 0:02

This playing continues until “and I miss her”, when there’s a E7 leading over to A (“But it all seems”). The chords that follow are Emaj7 – A – B – E – E7 – A – Emaj7 – A – Emaj7 – B7 (“answer why?”) – Emaj7 – E7 – A – E and back to the Emaj7/F#m sequence (“And if I never”).

Chords:

Emaj7 F#m A B E E7

And with this song the album ends. There’s nothing more to play – and to say. It’s just one of the best albums ever recorded. I hope you enjoyed it.

I will give you my reading on drugs, in spite of Bobby Whitlock, in spite of Eric, in spite of anybody. The Allman Brothers and Derek & The Dominoes-if I denied that they drank, that they used ups and downs, that they smoked, I’d be lying. But when I said, “Two o’clock we’re starting,” then at two o’clock I would have four, five, six, seven people walking in clear-eyed, fresh out of the shower, wanting coffee, and saying, “What are we doing today?”-lucid and clean as a whistle. Every one of them. I don’t know what the hell they did when they weren’t with me-don’t know if they’d been in bed or where they’d been, but at two o’clock they were ready to play.

We actually did the whole album in ten days-vocals, everything. The only thing that was altered was Eric changed the solo on one song in October, and we added the piano part to “Layla.” But I said when we finished the initial pass at the album, “This is best album I’ve done since Ray Charles’ Genius.” Because that’s the way it hit me. It just killed me. And of course the record didn’t hit for a year. It was like a dead dog. Thank God Atlantic had the patience and the perseverance to stick with it. Because it could have fallen by the wayside. But they stuck with it for a year, and a year later, after “Layla” hit, it became the national anthem. It had to happen. I think by the time it hit I was into the [Allman Brothers'] Fillmore album.
- Tom Dowd, interview 2002

Got To Get Better In A Little While (live)

The sun’s got to shine on my guitar someday.
- Eric Clapton, song lyrics

This song was the opener of the double album Live at the Fillmore. EC played with the Dominos, but without Duane. A similar album In Concert was released in 1973, but this album contains more and previously unreleased tracks.

There’s also a 5:31 minutes studio version of Got Go Get Better from 1971 for the second Dominos album, which was never released. The song appeared later on the Crossroads I box set . Bobby Whitlock didn’t play on it. Got To Get Better In A Little While was written by EC and played again live recently. Here are some snippets from the 13 minute Fillmore version. The song is in E:

  • verse chords are: A,G,E
  • chorus (got to get better): D,A,E (4 times)
  • pre-chorus (“the sun’s got to shine…”): G/F#/F/E, just chromatic down.
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------0h2-----------0h2-----0h2----0h2----0h2----5-5-5h7-7----5-5-5h7---------------I
I-(wah wah)--0-ring------0-------0------0------0------------------------3b-----------I
0:00

I-----------------------------14p12--9----7-7-7--------------------------------------I
I------------------0h3--------14p12--9----0-0-0--------------------------------------I
I-----------0h1-2--4----/7\---14p12-------7-7-7--------------------------------------I
I-repeat----0---2--5----/9\---------------6-6-6--repeat---Don't-you know...----------I
I-3 times---2-----------/9\---------------7-7-7--------------------------------------I
I---------0--------------------------------------------------------------------------I
0:35  main riff                             E7

With the chord above you can go through the song now. First solo, E minor pentatonic at 3:00 minutes:

I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------15b(17)rb15-12-14----12-----------I
I-12b(14)-14-12-14p12----12---------------12-12b---------------------14----14b(16)rb-I
I---------------------14----14~~~---14-12--------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
3:00
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
I--------------------------------------------------5--------------------5--5---------I
I-12-14-12-----------12---14-12-14--------------7----7-4--------------4--4-----------I
I----------14-12-14-----------------14-12-------7--------7-5-7----5-7----------5-...-I
I-----------------------------------------14b------------------7-------------7-------I
I------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I
3:05

He continues all over the minor pentatonic with some additional notes (as usual) from the major pentatonic.

At 5:58 we have a characteristic run every one knows:

I---------------------------------------------------I
I---------------------------------------------------I
I--9-7----------------------------------------------I
I------9-7-5-7-5---5b-------------------------------I
I----------------7----7---7-5---5---7---drums-0h2---I
I-----------------------------7---7---------------2-I
5:58

The end – an E7 chord, a short lick and again E7:

I--7--12p10--------------------------------------7--I
I--0--------12--10p8---8/10----------------------0--I
I--7------------------------9-7------------------7--I
I--6----------------------------9-8-7-6----------6--I
I--7---------------------------------------------7--I
I---------------------------------------------------I
13:28                                           E7

Thanks to jjbennet from the forum for his contributions!