2 March 1969, Morgan Studios, London;
„Key To the Highway“ (6:17)
Clapton fans will note that this song was one of the great jams on Layla And Other Assorted Love Songs. This version, while not nearly as firey, has a similar arrangement with ist rolling guitar figures and punctuating organ fills.
„Instrumental Song #1“ (8:29)
Not a jam, since the song structure is fairly well arranged. Clapton plays chords with Winwood again playing supportive organ. Some nice ascending riffs near the end, the song reminds me of a combination of „Angel“ and „Little Wing“, by Jimi Hendrix. Ginger is uncharacteristically awkward throughout.
„Instrumental Song # 1 – Reprise“ (1:34)
A less assured fragment of the above.
„Change of Address“ (14.34)
Slower and much longer than the version released as a promotional single. The tune begins with a rolling drum pattern, followed by Clapton riffing on Baker, then Winwood‘s organ, first mirroring Clapton, then soloing over the five beat chord pattern. Although anchored tightly to the restrictive chord pattern, there is a lot of nice, short jamming, and great interplay.
„Jam #1“ („African Chants“) (15:11)
Jazzy organ riffs from Winwood start things off, Clapton weaves guitar fills and Baker‘s complex rhythms pull everything together to propel this fascinating jam. There are some off-mike vocalizations by someone, and the notes say „Vocals by Ginger Baker“. Although the phrases sound middle-eastern or African, it is certainly not Ginger or anyone else in the group. There may be an additional percussionist, unless this track was overdubbed, since there are clearly two playing at times.
„Jam #2“ (6:31)
A rather uneventful guitar exploration that finally settles into a modified „Lawdy Mamma“ riff. There are no audible keyboards, but the drums manage to keep things afloat.
„Jam #3“ (9:28)
A fast paced organ-led improvisation accompanied by an understated guitar vamp. The instruments switch places at about the 2 minute mark. The pace is lively as the guitar and organ chase each other in bursts, creating a tight and interesting jam.
„Instrumental song #1“, take 2 (5:35)
Very similar to take one, although Clapton‘s chording is more self-assured.
„Well All Right“, take 1 (7:40)
Instrumentation: guitar/bass/drums. A bit shaky on the introduction, but a solidly funky run-through thereafter. Interestingly, the song has essentially the same structure that eventually ended up on the album, although this take is by far the best and most complete of the nine attempted in this set. Especially pronounced here is Clapton‘s guitar, which is run through a Leslie speaker, and the sustained organ-like sounds create a great texture. That texture is mostly muted by the various overdubs on the final album. In retrospect, the keyboards on the released track sound almost tacked on, and the song a bit overproduced.
„Well All Right“, take 2 (0:60)
An incomplete reprise fragment.
„Well All Right“, take 3 (1:30)
„Well All Right“, take 4 (1:40)
Practice of introduction, transition to main riff.
„Well All Right“, take 5 (3:00)
A solid version lacking the last guitar solo.
„Well All Right“, take 6 (3:30)
After a false start, another good version until the normal breakdown point in the song. Here, Clapton stumbles, and from this point on seems to completely lose his timing in relation to this song.
„Well All Right“, take 7 (2:44)
Clapton stumbles on the introduction, then follows with a ragged run-through of the body of the song.
„Hey Joe“, take 1 (1:40)
The sound quality wavers a bit on this song. This is a laid back version, with Winwood on unobtrusive piano, similar to but slower than the Hendrix version. Obviously feeling their way, the tune meanders nicely until the tempo shift near the end, where Clapton can‘t find the notes and stops to practice.
„Hey Joe“, take 2 (6:37)
More keyboard fills from Winwood, Clapton plays even slower, yet loses it at the same spot as before. More practice, then another, even slower attempt.
„Piano Blues Tune“ (8:40)
Perhaps to get things back on track, this tune takes a „back to basics“ approach. Clapton weaves fills around Winwood‘s chords, then the two switch places, with drums entering at about 2:40. With sympathetic interplay between Winwood and Clapton, the tune rolls with a wave-like quality. The Leslie treated guitar tone adds a sense of depth.
„Well All Right“, take 8 (2:12)
Slower tempo, with a seemingly greater emphasis on precision playing, the bass (presumably Winwood) „jumps“ and peps the tune. A snag again kills the song about halfway through.
„Well All Right“, take 9 (6:30)
A final, somewhat desperate stab. Five introduction breakdown prompt Clapton to count out the rhythm, and still the drums and guitar don‘t mesh into sync. Clapton seems to compound the problem by randomly missing notes, further throwing things off. Baker finally ends things with a frustrated flourish across his drums.
„Instrumental Song #2“ (5:50, 5:08, 5:03, 6:14)
A highly structured „song“ that may have been intended to have vocals. With Winwood on organ, and Clapton on a non-Leslie treated guitar, it is interesting, but not of the quality of anything on the album. Obviously, the group thought the song had potential, due to the number of nearly identical takes. Take 16 is the best, a little more relaxed, but still clearly an „outtake“.
„Freight Loader and „West Coast Idea“ – Now to the „outfakes“!
These songs do feature Eric Clapton, but were recorded circa 1965-66 with various people, including Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger and Ian Stewart. They are available in better quality on a legitimate Japanese release.