Produced by the great Jay Graydon, with contributions by David Foster, it has become sort of an obscure “West Coast” classic. It embodies a mixture of typical 80’s synthesizer-pop and classic Rawls soul and jazz ballads, which seem to come from two different production camps, most likely in an effort to maintain Rawls current with pop music developments of the time and at the same time remain true to his fan base.
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
Some find Karen Dalton's voice difficult to listen to, and despite the Billie Holiday comparisons, it is rougher going than Lady Day. But Dalton's vocals aren't that hard to take, and they are expressive; like Buffy Sainte-Marie, it just does take some getting used to because of their unconventional timbre. Her debut album has a muted folk-rock feel reminiscent of Fred Neil's arrangements in the mid-'60s, unsurprising since Neil's Capitol-era producer, Nick Venet, produced this disc too, and since Dalton, a friend of Neil, covered a couple of Neil songs here ("Little Bit of Rain," "Blues on the Ceiling"). Although clocking in at a mere ten songs, it covers a lot of ground, from Tim Hardin, Jelly Roll Morton, and Leadbelly to the traditional folk song "Ribbon Bow" and the Eddie Floyd/Booker T. Jones-penned soul tune "I Love You More Than Words Can Say." The record is interesting and well done, but would have been far more significant if it had come out five years or so earlier. By 1969 such singers were expected to write much of their own material (Dalton wrote none), and to embrace rock instrumentation less tentatively.