Layla stands as one of a handful of pillars of classic rock. The short-lived ensemble that was the Dominos provided an outlet for Eric Clapton to vent his then unrequited (and secret) passion for the wife of his best friend, George Harrison. Romantic anguish inspired Clapton to write and collect an embroiling and interconnected song cycle. Meanwhile, latecomer Duane Allman prodded Clapton to tear it up on guitar, so as not to be overwhelmed by his even more talented foil. Of course, Clapton eventually won the hand of his lady love. And then he divorced her. Sometimes real life messes up a good plot line. ~ Steve Stolder
Spanning two discs and over two decades' worth of music, Alabama's In the Mood: The Love Songs collects the most romantic moments from the band's body of work, including "Close Enough to Perfect," "Feels So Right," "How Do You Fall in Love," and "The Closer You Get." Indeed, love songs play a fairly significant part in the band's career – many of the tracks included here, such as "Fallin' Again," "Touch Me When We're Dancing," "Lady Down on Love," and "In Pictures," also appear on For the Record, Alabama's collection of chart-topping singles. All of this means In the Mood: The Love Songs is a consistent collection of the band's easygoing, sentimental songs, and while it doesn't replace a more straightforward greatest-hits compilation, it should please the band's fans as well as anyone partial to romantic country.
With the arrival of Delta Lady: The Rita Coolidge Anthology, one can only remark: what took so long? No other singer – not Maria Muldaur, Bette Midler, Bonnie Bramlett, Carly Simon, or Linda Ronstadt – more perfectly embodied the wide range of changes that popular music underwent from the late '60s through the mid-'80s, and continues to seek new means of expression today. This two-disc anthology on Hip-O offers the first complete portrait of this complex and multivalent talent on CD (though a box set would have been nice). Rita Coolidge scored her first chart hit with friend Donna Weiss' "Turn Around and Love You" in 1969. That song earned her a studio spot where she fell in with Delaney & Bonnie, Leon Russell, and a huge cast of musicians. Being a background vocalist on Delaney & Bonnie's classic Accept No Substitute earned her a place on Russell and Joe Cocker's Mad Dogs & Englishmen revue and the rest is history, including a handful of chart hits and guest appearances that stagger the mind.
As a child she sang for Duke Ellington and was praised by him. As a teenager she heard Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie and lived hippily ever affter. Well it wasn't that simple - or easy, But if show business was in her blood, jazz crept into her bones. She rubbed elbows with Stella Brooks; subbed at the Apollo Theater for Billie Holiday and became a caring friend to Lady Day; was married to Kenny Clarke and recorded with an incipient Modern Jazz Quartet; wrote the lyrics to Wardell Gray's "Twisted" and Art Farmer's "Farmer's Market" and vocally negotiated their serpentine contours with uncanny elan; was a nightclub entrepreneur in London at "Annie's Room"; appeared with Anthony Newley in Cranks; Vanessa Redgrave in Three Penny Opera; and was directed by Robert Altman in The Player and Short Cuts…