Tedeschi Trucks Band With Trey Anastasio Delivers Raw ’70s Live Intensity on ‘Layla Revisited (Live at LOCKIN’)’ (Album Review)

This remake, Layla Revisited, of the original Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs makes so much sense. Derek Trucks takes his name from Derek & The Dominos after all.  He is the successor to Duane Allman is terms of slide guitar giants. Trucks played in Eric Clapton’s band for years. And coincidentally, the original Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs was released on November 9, 1970, the very day that Susan Tedeschi was born. And, the Derek Trucks Band and The Tedeschi Trucks Band (TTB) have often included some of these songs in their live shows.  The naysayers would say you shouldn’t mess with a sacred classic. That may be true for any other band, but The Tedeschi Trucks Band has earned the right to try and, as expected, they deliver the music splendidly on Layla Revisited recorded live at August 24, 2019 at the LOCKN” Festival in Arrington, VA.

This writer, and probably most others, would agree that the original represents by far Clapton’s most inspired guitar and vocal performances. The TTB is 12 members strong and for this special set, they expand to a lineup of 14, to include guitarists Trey Anastasio and Doyle Bramhall II – call it the multiplier effect.  It’s almost hard to believe that while the original seemed dense and frenzied in places, it now seems rather intimate by comparison to this instrumental barrage which at times, can feature four fiery electric guitarists going for The Holy Grail. TTB, of course, presents a wider variety of vocal treatments with Susan Tedeschi, Mike Mattison, and Alecia Chakour all taking vocal leads and trading verses on some of the tunes. 

On this live album, Trucks plays Allman’s parts as only he can, and to his credit, he doesn’t just replicate Allman’s lines but delivers solos in his own inventive way. Anastasio plays Clapton’s guitar parts and former Clapton bandmate during Trucks’ tenure there, Doyle Bramhall II, and Susan Tedeschi fill in whatever spaces are left. The album was r.  By and large, these are faithful renditions of the songs with the band choosing to double the length of  “Keep On Growing” and  “Anyday,” both of which feature rip-roaring guitar solos and interplay.

This writer was always struck by the power of Duane Allman’s Coltrane-like entrance on “Key to the Highway” and while Trucks can make similar high impact entrances, he instead takes a slightly different tact, choosing instead to gradually build his solo to impossible heights. From that point on, the album seems to reach even higher levels of intensity through “Tell the Truth” and “Why Does Love Got To Be So Sad” which also builds to a climax with concurrent combustible solos from Trucks and Anastasio.

Following that, on Freddie King’s “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” Trucks traded his trademark Gibson SG for his 1957 Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, similar to the guitar played by Duane Allman. “Little Wing,” which has been performed by the Derek Trucks Band and by Trucks and Bramhall II with Clapton, proves to be a winner again with  Chakour on lead vocals along with Anastasio. A sturdy version of “It’s Too Late” leads into the title track where the ending piano coda is present but subservient to the masterful soaring Trucks’ slide work. The only studio cut, “Thorn Tree in the Garden,” has rather unbelievably, Trucks and Tedeschi playing as an unaccompanied duo for the first time.

Diehards will forever cling closely to the original but TTB, the best band playing this kind of music today, more than does it justice. In many moments they exceed the intensity of the original, a feat we long thought was impossible.

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