Derek and the Dominos
"The Majestic Stand" (Mid Valley 2006)
Various Dates and Venues

Mid Valley 068-071

Disc 1: Electric Factory - Philadelphia, Pa. - October 16, 1970

1. Ramblin' On My Mind
2. Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad
3. Blues Power
4. Have You Ever Loved a Woman
5. Mean Old World
6. Motherless Children
7. Let it Rain

Disc 2: Santa Monica, Ca. - November 20, 1970 (Afternoon Show)

1. Got to Get Better in a Little While
2. Key to the Highway
3. Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad
4. Blues Power
5. Have You Ever Loved a Woman
6. Tell the Truth
7. All Night Long "Derek's Boogie"
8. Let it Rain

Disc 3: Santa Monica, Ca. - November 20, 1970 (Evening Show)

1. Got to Get Better in a Little While
2. Key to the Highway
3. Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad
4. Blues Power
5. Stormy Monday
6. Tell the Truth

Disc 4: Santa Monica, Ca. - November 20, 1970 (Evening Show)

1. Let it Rain
2. Every Day I Have the Blues

Band Lineup:
Eric Clapton Guitar, Vocals
Carl Radle Bass
Jim Gordon Drums
Bobby Whitlock Keyboards, Vocals

Special Guests on the Santa Monica show:

Delaney Bramlett on all songs, except "Everyday I have the blues"
Toe Fat on "Everyday I have the blues"

Geetarz Comments:

The typical Mid Valley quality touch is obvious in this reissue of the earlier set, and is not to be confused with the earlier (1999) release of the same name on the Empress Valley label, which was available in 3CD and "4 Gold CD Limited Edition" versions. 

Now, on to the goods ...

We begin with the epic October 16 performance from Philadelphia, which has been remastered by Mid Valley. 

This is a legendary Dominos show, and a personal favorite. Some older reference guides inexplicably refer to this as a soundboard, but it's clearly a marginal to average recording.

Luckily a fantastic performance makes up for any drawbacks of the source material.

"Ramblin" features some of EC's best ever slide playing. EC can at times play slide a little too precisely - but in this performance, he exhibits loopy, "out of the box" playing that clearly shows Duane Allman's influence as he dances around all the notes. I don't recall EC performing "Ramblin'" in this arrangement again, which alone makes it unique.

This performance is also notable for an incredible, mind bending, tour-de-force performance of "Why does Love...", which is, in my Not-So-Humble opinion, not only the finest performance of this song of all time, but has to be one of EC's top performances of any song, ever. If I were making a list of the "Top 25 songs EC ever played" or something like that, this song would be on that list.

And it's not just EC here. If you listen to some of the very early gigs, the band were a little loose, but here they play as a single organism, rising and falling, playing off each other for all they are worth. "Why Does..." has always had a demanding and unusual bass line, and Radle holds it down, driving the song in the same way that Entwhistle would actually drive the rhythm of The Who as Moon, or in this case Jim Gordon, lays out some 15+ minutes of drum madness, and Bobby Whitlock holding it all together with a shimmering B3 and his incredible vocals.

This performance of this song is indeed "epic", and unforgettable.

This show also features the first-ever live performance of "Motherless Children", albeit in raw form, which in a way adds to its charm. 

Now, with that aside ... how does it sound? This one is up to personal preference. Sometimes Mid Valley goes a little over the top, but I quite like this version, and, depending on your listening circumstance, you may prefer it. It's a definite change from the original, and I think that in the end it will come down to not only your personal preferences, but the volume at which you listen and how you listen (speakers, PC speakers, headphones, cheap stereo, car stereo, boom box, etc.).

Onto the Santa Monica show ... as with the earlier Philadelphia show, it's time to talk about a few of the MANY releases of this particular performance. 

Perhaps the earliest were vinyl ROIO, and of course numerous traded cassette copies of uncertain parentage, and subsequent CD release "Stormy Monday" on the Trademark of Quality (TMoQ) label. Those, and the later, "Live at Santa Monica" are incomplete, as they only feature only one of the two performances that day.

This Mid Valley release of "The Majestic Stand" (Mid Valley 068-071) is subtly remastered, and from that point on it's up to personal preference which version a listener will prefer, the Mid Valley or the version on the Paddington label version (PADD 040/041/042). 

The Mid Valley version is a little warmer and darker, the Paddington trades off being a bit brighter for a little more overall volume and hiss.

In the end, I'd suggest that you check out both the MV and Paddington versions, and choose which is *your* personal preference.


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May, 2010