Derek & The Dominos plus Johnny & Carl

Originally posted July 5, 2007

This week’s Thursday Video is a slice of television from times long gone. From Johnny Cash’s variety TV series – it ran from June 1969 through March 1971 – Derek & the Dominos perform the Chuck Willis oldie, “It’s Too Late,” which was on their album, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs.*

The line-up is Eric Clapton on guitar and lead vocal, Bobby Whitlock on piano and vocals, Carl Radle on bass and Jim Gordon on drums.

Following “It’s Too Late,” Johnny Cash introduces Carl Perkins, and Perkins, Clapton and Cash – backed by the Dominos – do a rousing version of “Matchbox,” a song derived from “Matchbox Blues,” originally written by Blind Lemon Jefferson and recorded by him in 1927. (Perkins himself had a hit with the song “Matchbox” in 1957.)

What’s sobering to realize as the musicians rip through “Matchbox” is that of the six of them, three are dead and one is incarcerated. Perkins, Cash and Radle are gone, and Jim Gordon remains, from what I can tell online (and if it were different, it would surely be noted somewhere), in a California institution for having killed his mother in 1983. Only Clapton and Whitlock remain alive and whole.

If that’s too gloomy a thought for you – and it’s pretty gloomy for me – just hit the “play” button again and take in the joy and passion of six pretty good performers doing what they loved best.

(Thanks to Mephisto at Groovy Fab and totally fuzzy for the digging!)

*Later research found that this particular show aired January 6, 1971. [Note added April 25, 2011.]

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